iPod Touch: The Ultimate Unitasker

Thursday, 25 February 2010 at 10:41 am Pacific USA Time.

I decided yesterday that I must be missing out on something. My lack of access to zillions of iPod and iPhone apps must surely be harming my productivity. There are so many things I could be doing… and I'm not since they're not apps for my phone. My phone is currently the HTC Touch Pro 2 for Sprint, a Windows Mobile 6.1 phone. I'm generally happy with it. I've used WinMo for so many years that I know how to make it bow to me. So I'm very productive.

But those apps! I must be missing out! I decided to go out to Best Buy and get the 3rd generation iPod Touch.

Took it home and charged it. Turned it on. Had to download iTunes (boo) for what seemed like no reason… since I can create an App Store account from the iPod. Whatever.

Got it started. Sat outside in the sun, got on my Wi-Fi, and started going around the App Store. Started downloading the usual free guys… Facebook, something for Twitter, Rhapsody, OpenTable. Started trying to log in and get things done. 

Couldn't believe how little I was getting done.

The Facebook app seemed quite clumsy. I went for Rhapsody. Got logged in, found a playlist, and started playing, "Taking Islands in Africa," by Japan. OK that's going well. Now, let's go back to Facebook or Twitter and see if I can get that going.

The music stopped. Huh? Where's my music? I guess Rhapsody doesn't run in the background, so you're either using Rhapsody or you're not.

OK, I have an MP3 player. Let's check out mapping. Went to the maps app. Asked it to find my location. I was shown a location I've never seen in my life. I have no idea what town in what city that was. It was definitely not Tucson. I don't remember where it was.

I asked it again to find my location. It finally showed the corner of Oracle Road and Orange Grove Road in Tucson. I was sitting 6 or 7 miles away from that. I decided that was really far off. Someone suggested it may have just shown me the closest cell phone tower… which would make sense if this had a phone and was looking for cell towers. This is the iPod!

I downloaded Google Earth. It first showed me in weird mystery place, which turned out to be the west coast of Florida. I asked it to try again, and it placed me at Oracle and Orange Grove. This kills the usefullness of apps that will find things, people, and resources near me. My WinMo phone's GPS usually finds me to within 20 meters. That's really helpful when you want it to map something near you.

What about all the apps? Let's say I want to track flights. Well, I can take my current phone, go to a website, and track a flight. Or I can pay $10 for an app that'll track a flight on the iPod. Twitter? I have an app (PockeTwit) on my WinMo phone. Love that app. Or I could pay $5 for "popular" Twitter apps on the iPod. I could easily have blown what I spent on the iPod on apps.

So 30 minutes into playing with the iPod Touch, I hit the factory reset button, and asked it to erase everything I had put on it. It was clearly not useful. I was not missing out on anything I felt like paying for. I am not impressed by a device that for the most part does one thing at a time, and what it can do, I feel like my cell phone will do much better and more efficiently.

People love their iWhatevers. I know. I just don't see it. I'm looking for something more useful. If you're ever watched Good Eats, Alton Brown says to always buy what multitasks, don't buy a "unitasker." I felt like the iPod was a unitasker, and maybe it's great at being one thing. I was hoping with all those apps, it would be great at being multiple things, but it's still not better than a Windows Mobile cell phone.

Buh-bye. Returned to Best Buy. Guy asked if I wanted to look at a Zune. :) I told him I wasn't using this for music.

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Categories: That's Bad Marketing

Comments Closed

5 Responses to “iPod Touch: The Ultimate Unitasker”

  1. Eric Beeson says:

    iPod has no GPS abilities, so things like Maps / Google Earth can’t use location based info.
    If you had no carrier service on your WinMo phone, it would be GPS impaired also :) I think the more valid comparison here would be :
    Zune ->iPod Touch
    WinMo device ->iPhone
    There are definite criticisms to be made but the iPod has never had GPS support and don’t believe is sold as such.
    As far as apps, My free iPhone apps for frequent tasks are so much faster and less cumbersome than the apps on my old WinMo Motorola phone. Things I do with FREE iPhone Apps…
    List on Craigslist (with pics taken from the phone (CraigsFree)
    Keep on top of postal shipments to buyers (USPS app)
    Keep track of UPS shipments to buyers (UPS App)
    Twitter (EchoFon)
    Remotely access my home machine via RDC to access full accounting app when I’m on the road (Remote Lite)
    Monitor when services I use go down (ebay, paypal, image host, etc) (TCPinger)
    Of course, eBay app and PayPal app, both free, both highly useful for easy mobile access.
    Total App Cost: $0
    I can manage most aspects of my business from my iPhone with free software, something I was never able to remotely accomplish with a WinMo or Palm based device. And I’ve got a closet full of previous generation handsets to prove it (ah, the pain of being an early adopter).
    Now if only inkfrog had an iPhone app that allowed me to manage/launch/relaunch listings or send customer notifications, I’d darn near never need to sit at my desk 😉 As it is IF works just fine in Safari, just lots of scrolling that would be minimized with an app designed for the phone.
    As far as the inability to multitask, I’m perfectly comfortable with that. Power sipping Mobile CPU’s aren’t really that adept at it to begin with. When I have a microwatt-sipping quad core in my phone I’ll want to multitask. Until then , I don’t want software devs siphoning off cpu cycles I want dedicated to whatever task I REALLY want to get done when I’m on the go.

  2. nullapps says:

    From my understanding the iPhone (3G and above) uses GPS, old iPhone (mine) uses cell towers (a poor man’s GPS), and the iPod would have to use known locations of wifi hotspots (an even poorer man’s GPS). Years ago I heard a talk from a guy at Microsoft who claimed that was one of the interesting projects he worked on.
    You could always jailbreak the device and use non-Apple approved apps that do run in the background. The only reason I ever got an iPhone
    was to jailbreak and unlock it.
    Too bad most of my favorite apps (Vonagent) quit working when I upgraded to get access to the official App Store.

  3. Darla says:

    That’s interesting. We have found (for what we use the iPod Touch for) that we love and adore it. We used it from Mexico just recently and I was in heaven.
    BUT I don’t need a bunch of apps, so that could be why. Simple is probably best in that case.
    Our phones are Palms and I am way not impressed with those.

  4. Jason says:

    Since you are an eBay person with an iPod touch, please please check out Sellebrity Analytics. It’s free for 50 active listings. It’s a great way to monitor your eBay traffic. There is an online demonstration that you can see on a regular browser.
    For the demo, go to http://www.sellebrity.com/demo/ and click one of the links to log in to the site. Then click the mobile demo and you’re in!

  5. If you’d read my post, you’d see I disliked and returned the iPod Touch. :)