Posted by: englishdubai | October 25, 2007

Touch Me, Feel Me

The advent of the iPhone has generated more blog postings and technology column inches than any other single item of technology in recent memory.

Having been in the fortunate position to have a “play” with an iPhone from the lucky few who not only managed to get hold of an iPhone in Dubai but more importantly who were willing to spend hours trawling the web to be able to unlock it to work – I salute you.

It is an excellent device. The problem I have with all phones like this – is that you need two hands to be able to use it. This is an issue in daily use when you want to make a quick call or check that sms that has just come in. Also I know I shouldn’t really say this – but how can you make a quick call with two hands if you are driving and your forgot your hands free kit?

To this end – while I will inevitably end up with an iPhone – I really want an authorised product that I can update with all the new features apple will undoubtedly release as firmware/software updates. I put the purchase on ice for now.

I have been in the market for some form of mobile media player – my current video iPod while capacious at 60gb and while it is great for Podcasts, music and audiobooks what it really is not good at is video. The tiny screen, while clear, is just to small to watch anything on for any reasonable length of time – all it ever gave me was a headache. Which is a shame as watching your own selected TV/Movies is a great way to while away the time on a flight.

The PVR market is awash with offerings now – Archos has a wide variety of models as does Creative. Also a host of Far Eastern manufacturers have some very nice offerings. But the choice was easy for me, iPod Touch:

While it might not have the largest capacity, biggest screen or most features. It has a desirability, usability and all round coolness that makes you want to pick it up – play with it. Then play with it some more.

The 3.5″ screen is crisp and clear and bug enough not to turn my brain to mush should I choose to watch an episode of heroes on it. The mutli-touch interface that it shares with the iPhone is a work of genius – and like the click wheel innovation on the first iPod – will go down as a miracle of 20th Century interface engineering. Though Apple should really include a handy cloth to keep the finger prints off.

The moment of joy when one of your friends discovers how to zoom out a photo with the “pinching” method is pure gold. The effortless browsing of albums with “cover flow” as you flick it with your finger to select your mp3 of choice. The fully functional, fully zoomable web browser. The instant re-orientation of the screen depending on how your hold it. Built in wireless. The application. All go to make this the coolest, most funky media device on the planet today.

Others have tried and give you more functions. But none will grab you the way this does. Beneath its child like simplicity of operation is a sophisticated touch controlled media platform. Without doubt the add on applications coming to it will add to its usability – but for now I just want to play. The prices in the UAE are a little dear – 1399AED for 8GB and 1799AED for 16GB. I am glad I got mine from the US – the 16GB model costs $399.

10/10 – The ultimate iPod/mobile video player/mobile web browser. You touch it. You will want it.


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