iPod Touch first impressions 

iPod Touch

My iPod Touch was delivered yesterday around 3pm, and I've been playing with it since. The iPhone hasn't reached Europe yet, and isn't announced in Switzerland at al for the moment, so it was my first contact with the new multitouch screen user interface. It is stunning.

The packaging is very neat and compact. I was first surprised by its size. It's small. Like the other iPods, it comes bundled with the bare essentials: headphones, USB cable, a small plexiglass stand and a dock adapter. It needs to connect to iTunes before you can use it. After it's all honey and cream. The display is simply gorgeous. After reading blogposts on various problems related to the display, I was a little afraid, but it looks great. The resolution is terrific and compensates the relative small screen size. I believe you can actually watch a movie on this device.

I hooked up to my WiFi network in a matter of seconds and on internet just after. My Safari bookmarks were transferred along with my contacts and calendars during the initial setup. Neat. Everything works just as advertised, and reviewed by numerous writers on the net.

I was curious to discover the iTunes WiFi Store. The user interface is very clear despite the space limitations. The buttons at the bottom let you browse New Releases, What’s Hot, Genres, and Top 10 selling songs. Or find exactly what you’re looking for with a quick search. The search function is fast and displays results while you type. Preview or buy a song (or an album) with a tap. It didn't take me long to buy my first songs.

Tips

The songs purchased on the iPod are supposed to sync back to your iTunes Library when you connect your iPod to your Mac. Well, they don't if you've turned off music synchronisation like I did. And there's no obvious way to find out how to transfer them. Turning sync back on warns you it will wipe the iPod's music library out - ouch, I didn't dare to do that. The trick is to right click the iPod in the Device's list in iTunes, and select 'Transfer purchases'. An additional Purchase list will then appear in the iTunes Store section.

You need to be signed in to the iTunes Store on your computer for your account info to be transferred to the iPod.

The Feature Guide is available online.

iPod Touch extended keyboard

The iPod Touch supports several keyboard layouts: QWERTY, QWERTZ, AZERTY, QZERTY, and Japanese IME. Add keyboard layouts in the Settings. To type an accentuated letter, keep your finger pressed on the key and a small pane (a bit like like a popup menu) with the extended characters will appear over the zoomed key. Just slide to select.

Double-click the Home button to bring up on-screen playback controls, even when the screen is locked. Cool.

Double-tap the space bar while typing to enter a period followed by a space.

Disk mode has gone. It won't show up on your Desktop.

Gripe

My major gripe, aside the fact you can't add events to the Calendar, relates to a localisation shortsightedness: why doesn't the iTunes WiFi Store's language match the iPod's language setting?

I have my iPod set to use English, I live in Switzerland and the iTunes WiFi Store's UI shows up in a mix of English and German (Switching the iPod to French doesn't change anything - same problem).

The bottom buttons remain in English, while the page titles are displayed in English until the page is loaded, then switches to German (sigh). Typically, "Top Ten" become "Hitlisten" once the page renders. The "Featured" page is worse as the labels dont even fit in the three tabs at the top of the screen.

Ipod Touch localisation problem Ipod Touch localisation problem

iTunes doesn't display this behaviour. My Mac OS is set to English, and the iTunes Store is displayed in English (except for a few screens such as the ToS for example).

I find this especially irritating. We speak 4 languages in Switzerland, and Apple has always honored this fact by offering at least Swiss French and Swiss German pages throughout their websites, as opposed to companies such as PayPal, eBay or MySpace, just to name a few, who default to German. Punkt schluss.

It is worth noting that the iPod's Region format (Settings > General > International offers Swiss French as a choice.

Why doesn't the iTunes WiFi Store honor the language chosen in the settings? Have I overlooked something? Can it be changed somewhere? I love the iTunes WiFi Store's concept, but to have it in partly in German, partly in English casts a shadow on the user experience. I trust this will be dealt with in a future release of the server application (Apple Discussions).

Apple recognizes that no one is better qualified to provide feedback about iTunes than the people who use it.

I encourage you to use the iTunes Feedback page to submit your comments: http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html

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Comments and responses

  • 30 Sep 2007

    I’m in Canada, and my iPod touch just shipped yesterday. It sounds like an awesome tool. The language problem with the WiFi store sounds VERY annoying – have you found a solution yet? They just released a new firmware (1.1.1) – that might solve the problem.

  • 30 Sep 2007

    No. Unfortunately, not yet. The firmware upgrade didn’t change anything. I suspect the problem lies somehow on the server side.
    I ‘ve just received the invoices relative to my purchases on the WiFi Store: in German (sigh). I contacted client support and see what they’ll come back with.
    Enjoy your iPod Touch. It really is awesome.

  • 30 Sep 2007

    John Markov:

    You can use iTunes to verify that all the music, videos, and other items you bought from the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store are in your iTunes library. You might want to do this if a download was interrupted. Here’s how:
    1. In iTunes, choose Store > Check for Purchases.
    2. Enter your iTunes Store account ID and password, then click Check.
    3. Purchases not yet on your computer will be downloaded.
    More info here:
    iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store Troubleshooting
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=306441
    Copying iTunes Store purchases from your iPod or iPhone to a computer
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=305465

  • 12 Oct 2007

    Concerning the Wi-Fi Music Store language issues, I received a reply from Apple Support saying that this has been bumped up to the developers. Hopefully it will be fixed. But let’s consider ourselves lucky, the menus could have been in Swedish. No one knows where Switzerland is anyway. ;)

  • 12 Oct 2007

    Me too..
    Dear David
    Finding a solution for you is important to me, so I have requested assistance with the issue you reported. You will receive an email after the matter has been investigated and further information is available.
    Thank you for your patience. Apple wants your iTunes experience to be as enjoyable as possible.
    Sincerely,
    ***
    iTunes Customer Support
    http://www.apple.com/support/itunes/ww/

  • 18 Oct 2007

    Zeljko Knezevic:

    Wie und wo hast du es geschafft dir einen ipod touch aus den Staaten liefern zu lassen? Ich versuche das schon seit ein paar Tagen doch es klappt nicht.
    Vielen Dank für deine (raschmögliche) Antwort.
    Cheers
    Zeljko

  • 18 Oct 2007

    @ Zeljko: in English please.. :/ I’m not sure I understand your question.
    Are you asking if I ordered my iPod Touch in the US? ordered it from the Swiss Apple Store the day following it’s announcement.

  • 19 Oct 2007

    Zeljko Knezevic:

    Sorry David, i thought you talk German.
    Do you know if there’s any possibility to order the iPod in the US? Its is much cheaper over there.
    Cheers

  • 19 Oct 2007

    @Zeljko: (No problem – I should speak German..)
    I’m not sure. I guess you could try through a reseller (http://wheretobuy.apple.com/Catalog.html), but they probably restrict their sales to the US.

  • 05 Nov 2007

    JL:

    I live in France and work in Geneva.
    While I was in Knoxville TN Apple Store, I bought two Ipod Touch players, and a MacBook (The MacBook is fine except I have to cough up 200Eu to buy Lepoard a week after I bought it). I was going to give the Itouch players as presents for Christmas to my daughter and wife.
    However I have found out to my cost that the devices have been sabotaged in such a way that only ITunes can be used on only one computer for one device. Also the players are unusable from Linux (Encrypted
    protocol) so that it is impossible to use them with winamp + mlipod as in the past. In my opinion I was sold these devices under false pretenses, they are simply junk, there should be a large warning written on the packet:
    WARNING THESE DEVICES ARE BRAIN DEAD AND NEED ITUNES BLOATWARE.
    My daughter runs Ubuntu/Windows Dual Boot, I run Ubuntu,
    MaxOs (on my new MacBook) and Windows. There are 6 computers in my house, 3 operating systems and two ITouches; the horrible impossible mess created by Itunes
    and the ridiculous way it is impossible to use windows and MacOs (Incompatible file systems!!) or even two windows computers (One Library) is simply a dirty trick from Apple. Rest assured that I will tell others what Apple is up to, they wont sell any more of that junk to the people I know. The web is now full of complaints about IPhone and ITouch:
    http://www.blogitouch.fr/2007/09/17/itunes-obligatoire-pour-les-nouveaux-ipod/
    - this explains how the Itouch has been sabotaged and how to fix it with a jailbreak
    or
    http://www.calacanis.com/
    - are some examples of the troubles the poor suckers had who own two computers, hell they don’t have two ITouches
    then they would be in real trouble.
    Apple is shooting itself in the foot.
    Any one want a couple of new ITouches going cheap I am not dishonest enough not tell tell them what a load of rubbish they are.

  • 05 Nov 2007

    John Markov:

    @JL: if I was you, I would stay away from anything with an Apple on it.
    I agree that iTunes’ library sharing is poor to say the least, but your comment doesn’t bring anything new or constructive to the discussion.
    You sound like a Troll to me.

  • 02 Sep 2008

    I just recently bought an iPod Touch, and while it isn’t the newest gadget on the block anymore, it is still one of the best. I love the touch screen as well as the easy to use features. The wiFi aspect is also phenomenal.

  • 03 Sep 2008

    @Jose I agree. Actually, with all the problems the iPhone 3G is plagued with, it’s a better alternative. Both in terms of battery life and overall stability.
    If you are happy with your current cellphone, and don’t have sync issues, stick with it and buy an iPod Touch.
    (who’s price might significatively drop this month if you believe the rumours).
    Not to mention, the iPhone probably is the worse cameraphone I have ever seen.

  • Ipod touch is a great device. I love the display too. Resolution is great. But the problems with languages aren’t funny…

  • I have found out to my cost that the devices have been sabotaged in such a way that only ITunes can be used on only one computer for one device. Also the players are unusable from Linux (Encrypted
    protocol) so that it is impossible to use them with winamp + mlipod as in the past.

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