Monday, July 14, 2008

iTouch App Support : Review

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we iTouch owners get screwed by having to pay an extra $10 to get what the iPhone folks get for free.  I still don't want an iPhone, I'm happy with what I've got.

So far the new application directory is awesome, very pleased with it.  I do not love the new iTunes 7.7, in particular the "I'll just go ahead and back up your iPod whenever I feel like it" feature.  If you add apps on the device, then you have to sync them over to your PC (it tells you quite clearly that if you don't, it will delete them), and when that happens, it will do a backup.  So if you're in the habit like me of syncing at the last minute before you go home from work, you might find that your 30 seconds of budgeted time really takes 5 minutes  :(.

App management in general will be interesting, as these are treated as store "purchases" even if they are free.  There is no real way to test drive apps.  You purchase them on the device, they are automatically installed.  If you don't like it and delete it, you have to delete it from your desktop as well or it will just keep getting installed again.

So far the best game I've found is called Aurora Feint.  It's Bejeweled, but with a cool sort of "get points / level up / earn power boosts" RPG thing going for it.  That'll keep me busy.

Apple Remote is as cool as everybody says it is.  You get a WiFi remote control for iTunes!  So if you're close enough to your machine to use it as a jukebox (or if you have those remote speaker thingies), but you're not close enough to control the machine, well, now you can be.  Works seamlessly.  Highly approve.

On the downside, I still don't see a simple offline file management tool and/or PDF reader.  There are a couple of "ebook readers" but each seems to be just a client for one of the online services, and that's not what I want. I want to put PDFs on the device and read them when I'm not in a Wifi zone, why is that so hard?  There's an app called FileMagnet which seems to do that sort of thing, but because of the desktop client requirement it is Mac only.  That doesn't help me.

Overall I'm having fun.  I've downloaded a bunch of games for the kids (including the Disney card games, and the Jirbo series), and a variety of productivity apps including Evernote and Zenbe Lists.  WeatherBug is better than the standard weather app, and if you want IM, there's an AOL client that's good enough (though not great, but I don't use it much).

The best thing, really, is that the App Store exists on the device.  I never touched the music store on the device, and hated the fact that you could not download TV or Movies that way.  But by being able to get apps without being at your desk, I can try them out much faster.  That means that Apple gets more of my money, too.  (Speaking of which, the average price point for many apps seems to be coming in at $10, which is too high - I would have preferred half that.  But there are still plenty in the $3 and under range, if you look for them.)

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