iPod touch Generation 2

By Graham K. Rogers


I had two of the latest iPods for review at the end of October: an 8GB iPod nano and a 16GB iPod touch. I use a touch daily and am most familiar with this. It is my favourite iPod, although the screenless shuffle comes a close second. When I first tried a touch last October, I saw it had potential but was short of a few tricks. That was improved last January when Mail and other applications were added, bringing it closer to a PDA. I bought mine then. I have used it daily for the last nine months.

Generation 1 and Generation 2 iPod touch

Web apps arrived increasing its usefulness when online. The appearance of the app store changed this considerably. I have installed over 40 apps: games, utilities, productivity and text. One even allows me to use Skype when online. On the way, it gained the ability to display Thai text, although it still does not have a Thai keyboard.

Apple recently updated the iPod touch with a redesigned body. Following user feedback, a small speaker and an external volume control were added. It is also cheaper. The 16G iPod touch I had on test is 11,490 baht. The 8G and 32G versions are 8,890 and 15,290 baht.

Generation 2 iPod touch (left) with volume adjustment and and Generation 1 touch (right)

The tapered sides make it feel smaller although the dimensions show it to be slightly thicker. Other visible differences concern the screen, which has a redesigned surround from the first generation iPod touch, and the volume control on the side. This is hardly noticable as it is almost flush with the body. It is not a slider but a rocker switch with small movement.

I had to wait until I had it set up before I could find the speaker. It appears to be in the lower half, but there is no obvious outlet. It can be heard, but the description Apple uses -- for casual listening -- is close to the mark. It is fine for checking a tune, or for playing some games, but it is certainly not high fidelity.

As soon as I got it home I set it up for wifi which took a couple of minutes owing to the complex password my wifi uses. Initially there was no signal, but I shut it off and when it restarted, we were online. Surfing and mail was fine as were the internet utilities I use.

I plugged it into the Mac and it was recognised right away. The icon was clearly of a Generation 2 iPod touch, in the same way as the yellow review iPod nano displayed a yellow nano in the Summary panel of iTunes. I was asked if I wanted to use the settings for another iPod (a friend's that I had helped set up) but I selected the default for a totally new installation.


I gave it a name, checked a box to make sure photos went on, and we were away. First, the apps I had bought for my own iPod were installed, then the files, beginning with podcasts, began to go on. As I had some 13G of data (music, photos, videos et al), this was not going to be instant.

After the first sync, I had to add videos, plus the data from Contacts, Calendars and email accounts and sync again. All told, adding the data took some 40 minutes.

With my own Generation 1 touch I had been somewhat annoyed because subscribed calendars did not synchronise. These all appeared in the newer touch, which does have a slightly different version of the software, but when I added Mobile Me, these disappeared again. This is disabled with Mobile Me because of discrepancies when syncing multiple computers which themselves use subscribed calendars: a trade-off here.

The screen of the newer touch seemed slightly less vibrant initially. I changed the brightness settings to maximum, but it still looked a little dull until the ambient light sensor began to have an effect.

One of the additions to this new touch is the inclusion of the Nike + software. All I needed was to put on my shoes and start walking. The interface is much easier to read than on the nano. When I synchronised the iPod, it recognised I had already used the Nike+ program.

The ability to record voice needs a microphone for input and software, like the $0.99 Retonyms "Recorder". As the new headphones with the included microphone are not yet available, I was unable to test this. Such a facility increases the value of this device.

Another advantage is that we can make VOIP calls via Skype using an app like Fring which I installed on both of these iPods. They dial out, although it takes some persistence; and with the new touch I could certainly hear a voice.

The changes to the iPod touch make it a worthy upgrade from the earlier version.


[My aplogies for the watermarking: if people are going to use my images without acknowledgement, I want to let them know who created the pictures.]


Made on Mac

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