My iPod Touch arrived via FedEx Friday, having jetted its way from China in three days. (I know: I tracked online the package's every move.) Was it worth waiting for? That's like asking if Steve Jobs will wear a black turtleneck and blue jeans in his next stage presentation. In a word: Yes.
I'll get to some kvetching in a minute, too. But first, the kudos.
As you've probably read elsewhere, the Touch is a gorgeous device. Like the iPhone before it, the Touch makes sorting through and viewing music, photos and video not just intuitive but, dare I say it?, sensuous. Browsing the Wi-Fi iTunes store is a kick. So far I have downloaded two songs (both by Pink Martini--have you heard their new, wonderfully offbeat version of "Tea for Two"?). The downloads were fast and glitch free. Videos, YouTube videos, photos, and Web pages all look great on the display. And the Touch is delightfully thin and light.
And now, kvetch time.
1. $299 for 8GB and $399 for 16GB? The new 8GB Nano, by comparison, lists for $199--$100 less than the 8GB Touch. And for $349, you can buy a new iPod Classic with a huge 160GB drive--that's $50 less than the 16GB Touch. Let's do the math. According to the beautiful calculator on my Touch, the 160GB iPod Classic costs $2.18 per gigabyte, while the 16GB Touch costs $24.93 per gigabyte. Clearly, the Touch's glorious interface carries a hefty price premium. I guess it's kinda sorta worth it, but I can't help imagine Steve Jobs snickering behind the backs of Touch buyers everywhere.
2. It took me about six tries to fully load my Touch with content. I use Windows Vista on my desktop PC, my main computer now. Apple's iTunes has never played well with Vista, in my experience, and the Touch kept disappearing from iTunes during initial efforts to sync. There goes Steve again, snickering behind the backs of Windows Vista users.
3. I'm unable to play videos on the Touch on my living room TV. I have an Apple Universal Dock connected via Monster cable to my TV. With this setup, I've played videos on my 5G video iPod without any problems. But to play videos from the Touch, I will now need to buy a new connector cable, the Apple Composite AV Cable. The cable is only available with an AC adapter (I already have several), lists for $49 and, as of this writing, will ship from the Apple online store in three-four weeks. The earlier iPod AV cable, which doesn't work with the Touch, costs only $19 and doesn't come with stuff you probably already have. Picture Steve, snickering.
4. The cover art in my Touch doesn't always match the songs. Since when did Madonna record "Layla"? Who knew Beethoven did a cover of The Guess Who's "No Time"? And as much as I love this idea, RuPaul, to my knowledge, has never recorded "Hooked on a Feeling." See photo, below. See Steve snicker, off screen.
5. A minor nit: Given how quickly fingerprints show up on the Touch's mirrored back and glass front, perhaps a more accurate name would be the iPod Smudge. Apple includes a black felt cloth to wipe off your fingerprints, though perhaps Steve might use it to wipe that smirk off his face?
I'll probably encounter other 'gotchas' as I continue using the Touch. For example, I'm not convinced the battery power will last terribly long, especially when Wi-Fi networking is on. Nonetheless, the Touch is a gorgeous gadget. It's truly a pleasure to use. It's an experience in and of itself.
Who knows? I may buy another one when the next generation version comes along, which will invariably cost $200 less than this one, offer lots more storage space and features, and will be available in about, oh, two months.
And somewhere, Steve Jobs will snicker.