Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New iPod Redux

Since the new iPod Nano, Classic, & Touch were announced - there have been quite a few reviews, software updates, unboxings, and so on. The Touch has begun to show up in Apple stores, although Apple has failed to fill the pre-orders first. (What's up with THAT?!)
There are already complaints about quality control issues, including poorly mounted nano screens iPhone code  & uninstalled operating systems running on the Touch, Touch display problems, and iTunes Store snafus

Reviews have been favorable, with people raving about the screen and ability to see vids. Here is a typical Nano review. The cons seem to be an unpolished UI (user interface) - and a lot of folks think the new size is great. I would have to say that this iPod isn't really Nano anymore, more like a sawed off classic. And I don't find it easy to hold or use for long periods. The best thing I enjoyed about the 1G Nano was its truly Nano size. Apple has lost sight of this, unfortunately. And I really get fed up with MacSheep like MacWorld that think every Apple product has to have minimum of 4 rating. PlayList (MWs iPod site) gave the Nano a 4.5 rating. Ridiculous. Subjective. Nonsense.

Fanboys think this huge storage tank is great idea, despite the archaic form factor and (still) miscrocopic screen - plus the new 'features'. At least Chris Breen on Playlist hit the Classic with a 3.5 rating (should be 3.0 - but at least he is partially honest). Breen hits on the sluggish UI, useless Coverflow (finally someone at a major Mac media outlet gets it), as well as the lack of compatibility with older iPod games, and the incompatibility of current dock connectors for video out.  Shockingly, AppleInsider gave the Classic a higher rating (4) - mostly overlooking the problems. Fanboys.

Since I pre-ordered the Touch - I've been interested to hear about it. Unfortunately, what I've read is disappointing. First, WTF is Apple doing putting the Touch in stores before shipping to pre-ordered customers? Unacceptable. The people that went to the trouble of making an order in advance should be rewarded, not penalized. Why reward those that have the time to run down to an Apple store? That being said, perhaps a delay will improve the chances I don't get a dog or defective model.

The things that bother me from the reviews/unboxings are the inferior screens (washed out blacks) and the crippled features - like iCal editting. Jobs said it was the same screen as in the iPhone - but for many of the early touch recipients - this is a lie. Not only is it not the same size, the quality problems are not acceptable. Second, when the iTouch first went up on the Apple store - iCal editing was listed as a feature. Now this has been removed. For WHAT? It makes no sense why Apple would remove this small feature.

Further reports suggest Apple is not giving the touch many features that one would expect in a touch screen device with Wifi. This AppleInsider review takes a stab to explain why the Touch lacks these features, and tries to make the argument that the Touch is not an iPhone , but an iPod. The problem with this is that it really isn't an iPod either. You can't play any iPod games on it (WTF - is a touch interface more limiting that a freaking scroll wheel?!), there doesn't seem to be a way to click to advance your song (or a remote) with no visuals, there is no EQ (apparently), and you can't even make it a storage device. 

Although it's not a phone (and thanks be for that), it has all these interactive features that seem to be underutilized with the current OS. The point of having WiFi seems to be solely centered on selling iTunes content (though not videos). Although having a Safari browser is great - that seems to be the only way to view things like pdf files (you have to store them online somewhere and actually access WiFi to view them). 

Hey Apple, I want my freaking media player to actually display all my media - not just what YOU want to sell me!

Omitting a mail app, text browsing, and any sort of reason to type text (except on iTunes store and web browsing) sort of makes it POINTLESS to have such sophisticated text entry capabilities. What is the point of this? Put a freaking Preview App on this puppy?

I'm also irritated by Steve Jobs stating Apple doesn't want 3rd parties to develop apps (unless they don't involve internet) because internet interactive apps threaten the user experience. WTF. 

Hey Steve, did you ever think that maybe people want to use the internet in ways THEY want to? And if you want developers to focus on non-internet apps, why don't you release a developer kit or way to develop Touch/iPhone Apps that doesn't require Safari? Or better yet, how about a file system that allows us to upload what we want and a way to view text/pdfs without connecting to the goddamn internet?

What's the point of putting OSX on this iPod if it's not actually giving us a real operating system? I don't get it.

Don't get me wrong - I'm really looking forward to getting my Touch, and I'm betting I can overlook some of the issues if the thing works well. But I'm starting to wonder if Apple/Jobs wants to control everything to the point where people feel their choices are too limited.

Maybe this is why my brother feels Apple hardware/software doesn't let you do what you want with it.

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