The 3rd generation iPod touch is something special. With plentiful storage, awesome speed, a speaker and hardware volume control it is hard to remember how limited original version of the touch that was released just two short years ago was. While this new version of the touch LOOKS the same as the model it replaces, just a few short minutes with it immediately tells you that this is an entirely different animal. The original touch was an iPod with a touch screen. The 2nd generation touch was, on many levels, “an iPhone lite”. This new touch is being billed as a gaming pocket computer… and that is just what it is.
Larry, Mitchell and I all have one, and each of us is pretty impressed. Lets take a look.
In The Box-
The new touch is the same size and weight as the prior generation. As with the iPhone 3GS, all the changes are internal. It comes packaged in the clear plastic “coffin” that Apple has been using of late. It is a little less impressive to open than the iPhone 3GS but it gets the job done.
Standard fare- yawn
After the first generation iPhone Apple stopped including a dock with iPhones. They have never shipped the iPod touch with one. That’s a bummer and just one more way Apple nickels and dimes you when buying their products. But that is the deal, so be it. At least they include a dock insert so if you already own a universal cradle you are good to go.
The prior generation touch came with the same headphones as the 3rd generation iPod shuffle. In-line controls let you change the volume and start and stop music. The DEVICE supported a mic but to do so you either needed headphones with a mic or an adapter.
That changes with the new touch. While it has not been widely advertised (the Apple Online Store does list the feature but does not make a big deal out of it) the device ships with the same headphones as the iPhone. This small change quietly positions the new touch as a WiFi VOiP device. Add to it the increased speed and, in all likelyhood, the new touch is an awesome phone so long as there is an available WiFi connection. That’s a nice feature.
While we are on the topic of headphones… Lets talk about Apple continuing to include cheap headphones with premium devices that cost $300 and $400 US. Seriously, how much would it really cost to ship a premium device with premium (or at least non-sub par) headphones???
The apps that ship with the new touch are standard fare. There are no surprises or changes here except for the fact that the touch ships with firmware 3.1. Moreover, upon setting it up I was asked to update to 3.1.1.
This is where the touch shines. If you look at Larry’s unboxing video (below) you will see that he reports the touch to be faster than the iPhone. I tried out the same apps with my, no un-jailbroken iPhone and found the speeds to be exactly the same. The point here being that a jailbroken iPhone may run a bit slower than a virgin one.
Regardless, the touch running at the same speed as the iPhone means it is FAST! Moving around apps is quick. Launching apps is a please. And the game-play is stellar. Apple is marketing this device as a gaming pocket computer and, thanks to the boost in storage and speed, they are spot on in that regard.
I sold my 8GB touch a few weeks ago hoping to upgrade to a new version with a camera. (Me thinks we will see it fairly soon.) While I wish the next gen device had a camera I am still glad I sold the Gen2 device. The increased speed is THAT noticeable. More than that, I discovered that I really missed having a touch. Sure, there is nothing it can do that the iPhone can’t (and there is plenty the iPhone CAN do but the touch can’t) but there is something about the super-thin, super light touch that is just… nice.
Yes, there is, sadly, a huge downside to using a touch if you are also an iPhone owner. You see, once you use the touch for a bit and enjoy its light weight, thinner design and awesome battery life going back to the iPhone is just plain hard. The iPhone, not a huge device in its own right, feels heavy, bulky and, when using it yesterday to play a game, hot.
Am I happy with the 3rd generation iPod touch? Oh yes!