Sunday, 23 December 2012

Apple iPod touch 8 GB Black (4th Generation) [OLD MODEL] Review

The world's most popular portable gaming device is even more fun. Now available in black and white, iPod touch includes iOS 5 with over 200 new features, like iMessage, Notification Center, and Twitter integration. Send free, unlimited text messages over Wi-Fi with iMessage. Record HD video and make FaceTime calls. Visit the App Store to choose from over 500,000 apps. iPod touch also features iCloud, which stores your music, photos, apps, and more√Ďand wirelessly pushes them to all your devices.

Product Features

Capacity: 8 GB | Color: Black
  • It has 8 GB capacity for about 2,000 songs, 10,000 photos, or 10 hours of video
  • It has up to 40 hours of audio playback or 7 hours of video playback on a single charge
  • Support for AAC, Protected AAC (iTunes Store) and other audio formats, H.264, MPEG-4
  • Display: 960 x 640 Pixel Resolution,It has one-year limited warranty
  • VGA-quality photos and video up to 30 frames per second with the front camera

The Lines Between iPod Touch and iPhone Have Started to Blur
Having had a chance to spend a little time with a review model gives me a chance to share the experience with you a bit early (before my own arrives). I'll take you hands-on with the new model, plus I'll share from my past two years of iPod touch ownership altogether, especially for those who haven't yet owned (or been owned by) one of these mobile gems.

I've also hidden a treasure trove of info on how you can legitimately download tons of quality apps for free. First though, let's quickly cover what's new.

+ Faster 1GHz A4 Processor - to keep up with the high demands of multitasking
+ Ultra high resolution "Retina display" - packs a 960 x 640 resolution at 326 pixels per inch
+ 15% larger battery - 3.44 Whr/930 mAh plays 7 hrs of video & 40 hrs of audio
+ Rear-facing camera - supports 960 x 720 sized photos (0.6 megapixels), plus 720p HD videos
+ Front-facing VGA-quality camera - VGA-quality is a resolution of 640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
+ 3-Axis Gyroscope - allows for higher precision and more motion gestures
+ Wireless N - Connect faster and go farther than ever, with this WiFi device (requires a router with 802.11n)
+ Built in microphone - but Apple reverted back to using the remote- and mic-less earphones
+ Game Center - Apple's own social gaming platform
+ Sleep/Power Button - it's been moved to the right, but not improved beyond that
+ Thinner, lighter than ever
* Note - Memory remains at the same 256MB despite several unconfirmed sources touting 512MB. There's also no vibrate module.

Unlike last year's iPod touch update, this one's a complete overhaul to the entire line. Last year, the new models didn't change in appearance. On the inside, faster processors and double-memory were added to the 32GB & 64GB models, but the 8GB got left out. Not this time. Buying the new 8GB iPod touch indeed gets you all the new goodies. You'll also pay thirty bucks more than before, so consider buying the 32GB model instead. You'll get 400% of the storage capacity for only 23% more coin!

===== Background =====

I'm a mobile app developer who's created a few apps and games for the iPhone, iPod Touch and now iPad. I was initially drawn to the iPod touch because of the popularity and capabilities of its mobile Web browsing--I was primarily a Web developer at the time and no other device could surf the Web so well. After I got one, I was hooked. I racked up over a hundred bucks in app purchases within the first month, and before long, I found myself learning how do develop native apps for the device.

Indeed, if you have never had an iPod touch before, you're in for a real treat. Of course, if you have, then you know first hand: it's is worth its weight in gold--no, in platinum. And now, with the latest generation, it may even be worth its weight rare gem stones! I digress.

===== Out With the Old =====

The iPod touch is frequently called an iPhone without the phone. However, until now there have been several other features also missing in the iPod touch besides the phone: a camera, GPS, magnetometer (compass), and some newer amenities from the iPhone 4: front-facing camera, high resolution "Retina display" as it has been dubbed, and the powerful 1GHz A4 processor--indeed a necessity to keep up with multitasking.

That all changes, now. The 4th gen iPod touch brings with it some new features and amenities, some of which have been anticipated by iPod touch fans and developers alike, including myself, for several generations of the device. From a developer's perspective, the more hardware features we can get our hands on, the better and more innovative apps we can create, and the more users that can download, use and enjoy them.

===== In With the New =====

The striking new design of the latest iPod touch is definitely a looker. Apple has made it even thinner (and I thought it was already too thin before) complete with a beautiful chrome back. While the super thin design is certainly attractive, I've found it slightly difficult to keep it well-gripped in your hands. The usual chrome back looks great too, but it's scratch-insistent. Yes, it's incredibly easy to scratch it all up, even after the first few days. For these two reasons, definitely get yourself a silicone skin ( alongside your new touch!

For ages, the feature topping everyone's wishlist for the iPod touch has been a camera. Check! It handles HD video too--bonus! Granted, its not the 5 megapixel camera that the iPhone 4 sports, but again, the new iPod touch is thinner than ever, making it a miracle that we even got a camera in the first place, let alone two! Yes, Apple went the extra mile so we could make video calls with our iPhone toting friends, via their FaceTime app. Brilliant! So, having not had any camera on the iPod touch before, and now having TWO cameras on it, we can't really complain can we? Nah.

I'll have details on the quality both cameras later, but what excites me even moreso is the new much-higher resolution screen--dubbed "Retina display". You may not think much of it if you haven't used an iPhone or iPod touch before, nor have an older model nearby to compare it to, but for those that have and/or do, the difference is clear! (pun intended)

Where this really comes in handy is in browsing the Web and reading non-mobile-formatted PDF e-books. Now, I can see things so much clearer at the default zoom level (which shows the full width of a Web page or document). My vision isn't spectacular by any means, I just don't mind seeing things smaller on the screen. It allows me to see more content without having to scroll. Indeed, the Retina display was the #1 feature I never knew I wanted (until I saw it in the iPhone 4 that is).

Other newness includes: 15% larger battery, HD video recording and editing, built-in mic, wireless-n for nearly double the WiFi connection speed and distance, Game Center: Apple's new social gaming platform (which seems to be Apple's attempt to kill-off third party social gaming platforms like OpenFeint and Plus+), 3-axis gyroscope sensor, which complements the existing accelerometer sensor, both of which handle the rotating, swinging and other motion gestures of the device (previously, rotation were roughly calculated from accelerometer data), and new placement of the sleep/power button on the right (but still as difficult as ever to press).

Features still missing include: 512MB of memory, vibration, 5 MP quality camera + flash (iPhone apps now support using LED flash as a flashlight, like Android does), magnetometer (compass), and the GPS. I'd happily trade the thinness of the latest iPod touch to have the GPS. WiFi based location is often inaccurate, and the GPS doesn't need a WiFi or cellular connection, it just needs to see the satellites in the sky.

===== iOS vs Android =====

So far, Apple has cornered the market of multitouch mobile devices that aren't phones, but things are slowly changing. Currently, the two hottest mobile and smartphone operating systems out there right now are Apple's iOS (formerly: iPhone OS) and Google's Android. Of course, iOS is popular because it runs on not only the iPhone, but also on the iPod touch and now on the ipad as well. Plus, it has garnered support from scores of app developers who've gotten behind Apple's slew of high-demand devices.

The iPod touch has really made iOS what it is today. It does a lot of what the iPhone does, without a contract, or carrier exclusivity, as is the case with the iPhone and the iPad (WiFi+3G models). So if it weren't for the iPod touch, a lot of the market share Apple now has in the industry would have been stifled by their carrier exclusivity. I think Apple will see the light soon, but that's another discussion.

Enter Android. Google has held a different stance on their mobile OS. It isn't tied to a select few devices, and it's open source, so it can be further developed by manufacturers who use it. Indeed, several mobile device manufacturers have now latched onto Android as a foundation for numerous devices. Wireless carriers that have been unable to carry the iPhone have also taken a liking to it. Now, tons of Android devices have been released, and there's no end in sight. Manufacturers have also seen the iPad's potential and now they want a piece of that pie, too. So, expect to see a lot more Android tablets and media-centric non-phone devices soon. The competition is heating up.

But not everything with Android, nor with iOS, is perfect. I own an EVO 4G, one of the most popular Android devices currently available. I've also used an iPod touch almost every day for nearly two years, so I'm pretty qualified to share my experience with each platform. Both certainly have their share of unique offerings, and neither of them are without flaws. For this reason, and because of the increasing competition between the two, I plan to dispel some of their key differences for you at various points in this review.

===== So What Can the iPod Touch Actually Do? =====

Well, what can't it do?

The iPod touch is like a magical little box, only it's flat. While it cannot cook your breakfast, yet (I'm sure someone is already working on that), it can indeed do some pretty extraordinary things. It's an amazing catch-all device that can provide hours of entertainment, give you the power of the Web in your hand, and it can even replicate the functionality of countless one-off products. Developers have been creating apps that take advantage of special hardware of the iPod touch to emulate some other product for less, and sometimes even for free.

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