AMITIAE - Wednesday 19 August 2015

Revised iPod touch from Apple (Bangkok Post, Life)

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


I have been using Apple Music a fair amount, although last week spent time catching up with podcasts I had missed while friends were here. During the week, a number of local users who connect to the Internet at home via True were complaining that Apple Music was connecting badly.

I had a look in iTunes on the Mac and found that "For You" - perhaps the most significant part of the service - would connect, but no music was being played. I also tried the Radio stations. While Beats 1 connected, the Classical and Alternative music stations connected but there was no sound (like "For You").

Apple Music

I switched to the iPhone and the results were similar, so I turned off WiFi and tried with DTAC 4G: perfect. Apple Music and all the radio stations worked as they should. Suggestions were made that True was using proxy settings not configured properly for Apple Music. Apple was contacted. Representations were made to True. The service came back piecemeal and by the weekend users had all features.

Time to subscribe to another service provider. . . .

Apple iPods
iPod Range - Image Courtesy of Apple

Around the time that Apple music went live, updated iPods arrived. The iPod shuffle had new colours; the iPod nano was given a Lightning port as well as the colour makeover. Neither, however, was able to connect to Apple Music. The completely revised iPod touch can, however. I have been trying a 128 GB iPod touch for the last few weeks and love it.

iPod touch
iPod touch - Out of the Box

The device has had a complete makeover and it now sports the same 64-bit processors as the iPhone 6 - the A8 and M8 - albeit slightly detuned. The A8 runs at 1.10 GHz per core. There are also differences in camera specifications. At 88 grams, the iPod touch is smaller and lighter than the iPhone 6 (129 grams). A friend who is permanently attached to an iPad mini, picked it up and asked why there was no iPhone this size. It fits in the hand (and the pocket) really nicely, plays all the music I have, and it takes really good photographs.

I made some direct comparisons with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the iPod touch. There was little difference in the images each was able to produce. I tend to use the iPhone 6 for much photography these days, with the iPhone 6 Plus as alternative: that is particularly good for movie clips with video stabilisation. I tried the nimble iPod touch for a few days and found it well-suited to street shots, to portraits and to classroom work. Like the iPhone it has slow-motion video, burst mode, time-lapse video and can create high-resolution panoramas as well as normal video and photo formats.

iPhone 6 and iPod touch
iPhone 6 (left) and iPod touch

Controls are familiar to users of iOS devices, but I do not understand why the screen Off button is on the top of the device (like iPads) while the iPhones have it on the right side. This caused me (left-handed) problems relearning how to take screen shots with the new iPhones. I prefer design consistency. Another missing feature, which I have on the iPad and iPhones is Touch ID fingerprint access. Initially I kept trying to unlock the device with my fingers, showing how much I rely on fingerprint ID.

The lack of a carrier signal should not be a problem for many users, particularly those in cities. A friend links his iPad mini to AIS WiFi in Bangkok malls, or via a Samsung phone when the WiFi is unavailable. Likewise, I have been running the iPhone 6 Plus without a SIM card and use the iPhone 6 Personal Hotspot when needed. I was able to do the same with the iPod touch. At home, I connect all of the devices to my home WiFi.

Apple iPods
iPod touch - Image Courtesy of Apple

Like the new iPod shuffle and iPod nano, the iPod touch comes in 6 colours: silver, gold, space gray, pink, blue and (Product) red. The pricing makes this an attractive alternative, particularly when compared to iPhones here, which are 24,900 baht (16 GB), 28,900 baht (64 GB) and 32,900 baht (128 GB). Equivalent iPod touch prices are 7,200, 10,900 and 14,500 baht. There is also a 32 GB model for 8,900 baht.

With iCloud and iTunes syncing I was able to put all of my images from Photos on the device quite quickly as well as documents for Keynote, Numbers and Pages. With the adapters I have, I can run presentations from the iPod in the same way I do from the iPhone or iPad. I also installed iA Writer, so I can synchronise writing between Macs and iOS devices, making sure I have the information I need all the time.

I picked up an Apple Watch last week and am trying it out currently. Next week, I will outline some of what I have found.

Apple Watch

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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