Saturday, September 22, 2007

iPod touch day 2

Now that I have had time to explore and have settled down a bit, I have some additional thoughts on the iPod touch.

I brought it to school yesterday and put it in the hands of teachers without any instruction. They could easily figure out how to use it, but did have questions on how to get items onto it and such. (Some of these were non-iPod owning educators.) I kept hearing expressions of excitement like "cool", "wow", and "I am asking for this for the holidays!" as I kept working at my desk.

One teacher asked me if he could use the iPod touch as a handheld computer. There are some limitations, such as the lack of included applications such as email, a word processor, and an IM client. However, I am using some Web-based clients and Web 2.0 tools to do some of these things successfully, and will report back about that later. The one disappointment with the touch is, although you can sync your calendar entries from Outlook through iTunes to the device, you cannot add calendar entries on the device itself. This is too bad, because it would be just about perfect if you could. (You can sync and add contacts on the device, though.) I guess a user could just use a Web-based calendar and overcome the obstacle that way.

I demo'ed it in an eighth grade class for a few moments. They thought it was neat, but did not think 16GB would be enough storage for all of their songs. And, since they cannot bring in personally-owned devices to hook to the school's wireless (at this point), they realized the wireless component of a touch of their own would be useless to them. My thoughts are, if we are going to look into purchasing wireless devices for students, such as the touch or the new crop of low-cost Linux-based handtops, and we are supplying them, the students will be able to attach to the wireless network and life will be good!

In my opinion, the most appealing feature of the device is the way it handles Web pages. Some online protocols do not work yet (most notably Flash), but the ability to see an overview shot of the page and then easily zoom-in to the portion you need to read is impressive. I use lots of devices with small screens, and this technology truly solves the problem of small screens and the use of the Web. Here is a sample of what it looks like. (It is really hard to get a photo because of the glossy screen, so excuse the photographic quality!)

More about apps in a later post...

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