What a bummer of a day it has been for a geek like me! I originally bought the iPhone back in June and thought it made an excellent iPod. Since the phone quality left a lot to be desired, I returned it. When hearing that Apple was releasing the iPod Touch, described as the iPhone without the phone, my geekness kicked into full gear.
I hadn’t expected the iPod Touch to arrive in stores until September 28. When I walked into my local Apple store in Paramus, New Jersey today, I was pleasantly surprised. There were no iPod Touch units on display but a couple boxes were hidden in a drawer by the cash register. Against my better judgment, I bought one.
When I opened the box, I was surprised that this unit was actually thinner than the iPhone. Synching with iTunes was a breeze and I was ready to take a ride on my iPod Touch Adventure. But I noticed something when I tried playing a video of Desperate Housewives: it seemed a lot less crisp than it did on my iPhone. I thought for sure it had to be the brightness settings. So I changed the brightness controls and didn’t notice a difference. Just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, I put the same video on my brother’s iPhone. This direct comparison showed that not only was the color quality of the Touch's screen inferior, but the viewing angles changed for the worse as well.
Perhaps I should have saved my iPhone after I canceled the AT&T service and used it as an iPod instead. At least I would still be able to watch decent looking videos, even though the memory on the iPhone (8 GB) is less than the iPod Touch’s memory (16 GB). Just to make sure it wasn’t just my iPod Touch with the flaky screen, I found some Internet forums that agreed with my conclusion: the iPod Touch’s screen quality is definitely a bummer! Perhaps the people who designed it were the same people who choreographed Britney Spears’ performance at the MTV Video Music Awards earlier this week!
Perhaps those who are buying the iPod Touch more for the music than the videos won’t be as disappointed. But why pay $400 for a 16 GB MP3 player when the new 80 GB iPod Classic is much cheaper, has more memory, and sports a better looking screen (though it is smaller)? Perhaps some people are buying the iPod Touch for the built in Wi-Fi, which enables one to surf the Internet with the Safari web browser. Though this browser is impressive, it is not Flash-enabled like the Opera Browser on the much better portable video player, The Archos 605 Wi-Fi. The built-in iTunes Portal, which allows you to purchase and download music right from the iPod Touch, is an interesting addition and it might actually be useful for those who still pay for music. Don’t even think about using email or calendar features since Apple has disabled those on the iPod Touch.
Perhaps I’m being too harsh since this is the first generation iPod Touch. After all, the touch flow interface is outstanding and when looking at Internet pages or personal photos, the screen automatically rotates to either landscape or portrait mode depending on how it is held. But what good is an advanced interface with a screen that looks dirt cheap, an Internet browser that can’t open Flash-enabled sites, and a music player that doesn’t have a customized equalizer? I hope you are reading this, Mr. Jobs, because you really jumped the shark on this one.