Monday, May 4, 2009

the Touch (My New Toy)

I think I'm finally ready to talk about my new toy. Before I start, I'd just like to mention that these photos are not up to my usual standards. I believe it has something to do with trying to photograph an electronic screen, so be warned. The photos here are just for information.

Okay, here we go.

Have you heard about the ipod touch?

I actually got a little sick of hearing about it. Most of you know by now that I'm a pretty die hard Mac fan, since like 1984. I'm not a blind follower but I do use and advocate their products. I think they make a great product and offer good support.

But I already have an ipod. I love it, it holds 60gb of music, more than enough. So while a new toy is always nice, do I need another ipod?

Of course not.

But then my friend John stopped by and showed me his ipod touch. Terry says he knew right away that I was doomed (after 39 years, it seems the man knows me too well).

So what's the allure?

Number one, yes it is an ipod and it plays music (mp3s) just like all the other ipods. You can also store and show off your photos, like other ipods. And you can put movies on the ipod touch and watch them, again like other ipods. Nice but no big deal.

But here's where it starts to go down a different path than other ipods. Instead of navigating with a round "wheel" on the front, you navigate by actually touching the bright and colorful two by three inch screen. The screen on the ipod touch is a real beauty, with a whooping 163 pixels per inch resolution. In case that doesn't ring your bell, let me just say that this is an INCREDIBLY clear picture, especially on a 3.5 inch diagonal screen (I believe most Mac monitors log in at 100ppi). This beautiful resolution makes viewing your photos and videos a much more enjoyable experience.

So now you know how good the screen looks.

But that's really just the beginning. I guess the easiest way to describe the ipod touch is to say it's a small pocket computer. It has many of the same (or similar) aps as a full sized computer.

And it connects to the internet!!!!

There are thousands of applications (available via the Ap Store in iTunes), many of them free and most others between $1 or $2. These include a variety of applications including games, address books, movie players, photo viewers, auto/trip logs, money managers, maps, and my VERY favorite, an ap called iBird Pro.

Now, we have a ton of bird books that we carry in the rig. I love looking at them and reading about the different birds. Lots of information. I should note here that while we are both interested in birds, we are no where near experts, or even what many would call Birders. So while the bird books are great entertainment, they have one major drawback. They are not especially portable. Also, you seem to need to know a bit about birds before you can identify them. Since we're such beginners, our standard mode of operation is to just thumb through till you recognize a picture.

But now that's in the past, because we have the ipod touch and iBird Pro!

Let me state that there are various versions of iBird Pro, from free on up to $29.99. After looking at the options and knowing what we have spent on bird books in the past, we opted for the iBird Pro, which is the version that includes all the others. After using it for a month, I have to say it was REALLY money well spent.

For starters, there is an excellent search function. We recently were visited by an Altimira Oriole. A beautiful bird with an amazing orange yellow color on his body. By simply limiting the area to New Mexico, the month to April, then the area to Lakes and rivers, and typing in the color orange, I was presented with the Altimira Oriole.

Once you identify your bird,
you get to see a beautiful drawing,

Also, actual photos,

a complete description,

a list of similar birds,

and a list of facts.

You can also view a small piece on their ecology and habitat AND play a sound file that lets you listen to their song! There is also the option to go online and learn even more about the chosen bird.

Is that too cool or what?

All this in a small device that fits right into a shirt pocket.

The ipod touch also has the best little notepad I've ever used (shopping list, complete with the look of crumpled paper), a to do list, a wi fi locater, clocks, calendars, a compass, and a level that actually works from side to side.

There are also mapping programs, Google Earth, and, well, just about anything else you could ask for.

And new aps are being made available every day.

I LOVE this thing, and I've FINALLY learned how to play Sudoku!

I should also mention here that the lovely braided leather case you see surrounding my ipod touch was a gift from John (a fine leather artist), who is the one responsible for introducing me to this new toy.

The ipod touch is actually an iPhone, minus a camera, minus the GPS technology and minus the ability to make phone calls (although you can use it to make calls using Skype).

That said, it is also minus the $60 plus monthly charges.

IF the iPhone was available through Verizon (something that is currently being hotly discussed in the news and online chatrooms) I would definitely get one, but for now, the ipod touch is my very favorite new toy.


Kathy B said...

I'm a huge Apple fan as well. I still have my Mac Plus (in it's original box with software), but today I use a MacBook Pro as well as an iMac (when I'm not traveling in the LD). I purchased an iPhone last summer in Cleveland while on a 6 month RV trip. I love the phone and all the similar iPod Touch functions; i've also found AT&T's reception to be quite good overall. If you do decide to get an iPhone in the future, go for the largest size. I bought the 8G model not ever imagining that I would quickly fill it up! I wish that I had spent the extra $$ and gotten the 16G model. Kathy

Kate said...


I still have my Mac Plus too! I would LOVE to have an iphone, but so far it seems Verizon just has better coverage where we travel. I got the 16gb touch and already kind of wish I had gotten the bigger one, but I just keep switching aps off and on. Since the touch needs wifi to connect, a lot of those aps don't really work out here in the boonies.


Judy said...

Thanks for sharing. I went to check it out and was wondering just which "generation" you got or which one you would recommend??? Those things confuse me. I love the bird ID program!


Kate said...


I got a 2nd generation 16gb iPod touch.

For the money, I felt it was my best choice. I have to say the shopping list has been really wonderful, no more scraps of paper all over the place. I finally have it together for when I go to the store.

The iBird Pro ap is just a wonder.

Also REALLY like the games.


Jonna said...

Aren't they wonderful? I LOVE my iPhone! That said, I need to do some poking around again on the app store. That bird program sounds wonderful and so does the level. Have you got Bejeweled? I love that game. Also look at Koi Pond, it doesn't do much but I use it all the time when I'm just waiting somewhere and getting frustrated, calms me right down. I have the 16g iPhone and only use half of the memory, I must not be adding enough programs. Or, it is because I don't keep all my music on it, I load different playlists and change them up occasionally. Also, of course, I have no movies or video on it since I never watch them. I do love the Google Earth and GPS functions, I use those a lot. Luckily, here in Mexico, I got mine from Telcel and have nationwide coverage that is pretty good. I am going to look for one of the VOIP apps so I can call the US cheap from it too.