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First contact with the iPod touch, by our Miquel reader

Although is not yet on sale in Spain, the Apple Stores already offer the possibility of being able to “play” the new member of the iPod family: The iPod touch .

Our reader Miquel , a Barcelona native who now lives and works in London, has sent us an excellent article with the first impressions of his tests on the iPod touch at the Apple Store in Regent Street, London. Of course, it’s not wasted, and I leave it to you just as he sent it to us, without modifying a single comma or period.

First contact with the iPod touch, by our Miquel reader
First contact with the iPod touch, by our Miquel reader

In addition, I have added two photographs that another of our readers, César Ramos , sent us with captures from our blog on the screen of the iPod touch … we can certainly be proud of the readers who come by.

Without further ado, I leave you with the excellent article by Miquel together with the photos by César … thank you both very much!

Analyzing the iPod Touch, by Miquel

This week I have been able to see the benefits of Apple’s new flagship, the iPod Touch. When I arrived at the Apple Store on Regent Street and after making my way through the many people eager to try out the new toy, I was able to see that all the media attention was well deserved.

With the Touch, I have already had the opportunity to fret all the players of the last batch with which I was well accustomed to players with amazing capabilities in a size and above all thickness, minuscule. However, once you try the new Touch you realize that it is something different. Different from the rest of iPods and different from the rest of players in general. Size and thickness iPod Touch apart, the closest thing to the Touch is the new nano, so those of you who have tried the new nano can understand the feeling that more than just holding a player you are holding a screen. However, this does not imply fragility at all. The new Touch is robust and attractive, very attractive.

Interface The new mini osx is certainly one of the strengths. The new grid of applications that we already know about the iPhone has been modified here, leaving the iPod, video and photo functions at the bottom, and preferably close to the thumb. Possibly the most logical would be that the fourth application was Safari, but we found the icon of the iTunes WiFi Store relegating Safari to a not inconsiderable first position in the general grid of applications.

iPod The fact that this is a music player at heart is clearly demonstrated by the perfect functioning of the iPod section. I’m not talking about the 200-pound BOSEs they usually have, but not even a normal one. I think the phenomenon of the Touch and the new features in this model go beyond music, and this is the best example. When you rotate the iPod Touch, it automatically switches to Cover Flow mode, and it does so as smoothly as on a Mac. Even the new flash memory powered nano doesn’t work with this clarity. Much less, of course, the new Classic, whose (old-fashioned) jumps in playback are quite alarming.

Video Here, and in photo mode, is where a 3.5-inch widescreen is most welcome. Not only do I not notice any errors in dark scenes, but the video plays clearly and sharply. It also offers two modes in case the video played does not follow the proportion of the screen. In one mode we fill the screen by cutting width, in the other by cutting height. This is specially interesting for those who do not want to watch black bands as in the movies of the cinema.

Photos The photo navigation system, like many aspects of this player, is just as we have seen a thousand times in the videos on the iPhone. It works smoothly, is agile and is undoubtedly one of the functions that benefits most from the multipoint touch screen. It’s easy and quick to drag and drop your photos as if you were using the iPhoto. The slideshows are as simple as pressing the playpause button. We have functions to set a picture as wallpaper in a couple of seconds, and all this can be done using several fingers, which at the moment of truth, become two. Trying the device you realize that with two fingers you can do everything: scaling, rotation, etc. When you try to use three fingers the response of the terminal is a little more unpredictable. I had a lot of fun with this, but I think it’s an interesting enough topic to have its own post.

Safari Apple’s big bet on this player has been the Internet. In my opinion, Apple has had to face the dilemma of not being able to buy on iTunes online or incorporate one of the features into this Touch (I can’t imagine a WiFi terminal without a browser). And while the second day I tried it was a little slow in loading, the first was great, so I guess it depends of course on the quality of the signal. As expected, the flash pages still do not load but the ability to navigate virtually any page using the zoom mode (again using two fingers for it) is very powerful. The only thing we have to do is a small zoom and the pixel magnification (as in any photo software) is rendered again showing the web with perfect quality.

iTunes WiFi With iTunes being such a big part of Apple’s business, it’s understandable that it’s one of the most carefully managed sections. The interface is very similar to the navigation of our songs so the feeling is that of navigating in an unlimited library in which you “only” have to pay. It couldn’t be simpler.

Virtual keyboard I’ve been using a touchscreen smartphone for some time now, so I know how hard it is to try and type quickly on it. The iPod Touch has the same virtual keyboard as the iPhone, so I took special care to play it with it in order to evaluate the sensations of using it. My first impression was a little frustrating because although it works better than any smartphone on the market, it is almost inevitable to make mistakes, especially at the beginning when we still don’t know the ideal position of our fingers to press on the virtual keys (the tip of the handset as perpendicular as possible to the terminal). With a little time, and the patience to go slower, I was feeling more comfortable and the precision errors were reduced, so I imagine that with a little learning the system gains points, but my opinion is that the iPod Touch user is hardly so comfortable and goes as fast as using a real interface as would be the case of a segment as popular and lucrative as the BlackBerry. Why not buy an iPod Touch? 16GB (the most expensive model) is not enough for many of our clubs. Even less for iPod users used to larger sizes. Although this makes it thinner and more agile as it doesn’t incorporate the telephone functions, it doesn’t make much sense that it doesn’t have Bluetooth (apart from the obvious economic logic of avoiding pairing with a phone), because I think we’re all thinking that in a few months there will be a 32GB model at the price of 16GB. For me personally a 32GB model would be enough.

Why buy an iPod Touch? It’s the best player on the market and will be one of the most hacked gadgets of the future. The price per GB is equal to or better than that of an iPod nano. If size is not a major factor, the choice should always be a Touch, because once you try it, any other player seems to be a thing of the past. You feel the need to drag coverflow sleeves around on a nano, and you can’t stand the noise and jitter of a hard drive on a Classic.