Tag Archives | Apple iPod Touch

Iomega’s SuperHero Has Feet of Clay

Backing up an iPhone, in case you hadn’t noticed, is a hassle. You do the job via iTunes, but it’s not a particularly intuitive experience, nor one that’s as automated as it should be. (The syncing that happens automatically when you connect an iPhone via USB falls very short of a full backup.) Unless you’re a lot more careful than I am about protecting your data, you probably don’t back up your iPhone as often as you should.

Enter Iomega’s SuperHero, which I wrote about when it was announced at CES in January. It’s an iPhone charging dock–it also works with the current version of the iPod Touch–that aims to make backup so easy that you’ll actually do it. Or contact and photo backup, at least–the SuperHero can’t protect apps, e-mail, calendars, and other items because Apple provides no way for third-party products to get at this data. Iomega provided a unit to me for review.

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Needed: A “Zune Touch”

With Windows Phone 7 finally out, what does the future hold for Microsoft’s line of Zune media players? I suspect that very few people outside of Redmond are asking themselves that question right now–and that anybody who does care assumes that the Zune HD will turn out to be the final stand-alone Zune. (Like all the other Zunes before it, the HD suffered from a malady I like to think of as “Gee, this is quite a good product, but it’s in a class of devices that people lost interest in a year ago” syndrome.)

Me, I’m hoping for a new Zune soon–maybe several of them. Hold on, hear me out, I’m serious.

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Most Android Users Still Don't Have Froyo

For owners of iPhones and iPod Touches, the latest major upgrade to the OS is version 4. For Android users, it’s 2.2 “Froyo.” Every iOS user with a compatible device can upgrade to 4.x at will, but Android types must wait until the wireless carrier they bought their phone from releases the Froyo update. And while every new iPhone and iPod Touch ships with iOS 4, there are still new Android devices arriving–such as Dell’s Streak–that run old versions of the software.

So how does that translate into percentages of users who get to enjoy the benefits of a current mobile operating system versus. those who are stuck on something at least slightly stale? Online advertising network Chitika, which publishes stats based on aggregate data about visitors to sites on its network, shared some relevant numbers with me.

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iOS Game Center is a Lifeless App Out of the Gate

When the iOS 4.1 update went live a couple hours ago, I fully intended to tinker with Game Center and to post some impressions here. But so far, my only impression of the social gaming hub for iPhone and iPod Touch is that it wasn’t fully-baked at launch.

Since installing Game Center before lunch, I’ve accumulated a few friends, and we’re all wondering the same thing: Now what? Aside from adding friends and altering a status message, there isn’t anything to do in Game Center. The app doesn’t tell you what games are supported or provide links to the App Store. A button for “Find Game Center Games” boots the player out Apple’s Game Center web page, which is basically an advertisement with no resources for people who are already using the service. Apparently, Ms. Pac-Man is one of the first games to support Game Center, but there’s no way to figure that out from within the app.

I’ve had high hopes for Game Center since Apple announced it alongside iOS 4 in April. The concept is a lot like Xbox Live — you can invite friends to games, rack up achievements and get paired with strangers of similar skill in multiplayer  — but it’s still a novel idea for smartphones and handheld game consoles. This was a clever move by Apple, adding a social layer to its App Store games to keep people hooked.

So I was thinking today’s launch would be a grand occasion, with iPhone and iPod Touch gamers — there are apparently so many of them — buzzing about with challenges and friend requests. Instead, Game Center’s launch day is a bust. As soon as Apple adds some actual things to do, I’ll post some real impressions. In the meantime, look for me under the nickname ThePimpOfSound.


Apple vs. Sony and Nintendo: The Smack-Talk Continues

It was all fun and games when Apple slung mud at Sony and Nintendo during last year’s iPod press event, but this year’s smear was just nasty, and not entirely accurate.

Before Steve Jobs introduced the new iPod Touch, he immediately started bragging about the device’s gaming dominance. He claimed that the iPod Touch accounts for half of the portable gaming market, with more sales than and outsells Sony and Nintendo’s handhelds combined.

A claim like that needs a bunch of asterisks. As I pointed out a year ago, fighting a console war means manipulating statistics to your favor, and Apple is guilty once again.

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Zune HD vs. iPod Touch: The T-Grid

It’s my instinct as a writer of stuff about technology to compare Microsoft’s new Zune HD against Apple’s iPod Touch. But the more I’ve played with the Zune, the less it feels like a direct competitor to the Touch: It has a number of features that the Touch doesn’t (HD output, HD radio, an OLED screen), a significantly different form factor (much smaller), and is missing the Touch’s single most interesting feature (support for tens of thousands of third-party apps). The Zune has no direct Apple counterpart–it feels a little like an iPod Nano in some respects, like the Touch in others, and is ultimately its own unique beast.

But like I say, my impulse is to compare the Zune HD to the Touch. So here’s a first pass at a T-Grid comparing the two devices’ specs and features. If all you care about is media playback, the Zune looks like a strong competitor–but stick around until the end of the grid.

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The Original Walkman vs. the iPod Touch

On Wednesday, a legendary gadget turns thirty–Sony’s Walkman, which put high-quality music into our pockets for the first time. Back when I was at PC World, we named the original model, the TPS-L2, as the greatest gadget of all time; the iPod was #2. The Walkman name lives on via new phones and digital audio players; if the iPod name is still in use in 2031, thirty years after the debut of Apple’s first music player, I’ll be impressed.

I was reminded of the anniversary by a fun BBC story by a 13-year-old who tried replacing his iPod with a Walkman (he wasn’t impressed). And I was moved to create a T-Grid comparing 1979’s TPS-L2 to today’s most highly-evolved iPod, the iPod Touch. Like the Beeb’s teenaged tester, I wouldn’t give up my iPod (which happens to be an iPhone) for a Walkman. But I’m not so sure that the TPS-L2 wasn’t equally as impressive (and fashionable) in its day, in its own way…

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Seven Questions About the Zune HD

Zune HDBack on April 10th, our own Ed Oswald reported that he’d confirmed that the rumored Zune HD was real and would ship in the fall.  He spoke the truth–as Cnet’s Ina Fried is reporting, Microsoft confirmed today that it plans to release an iPod Touch-like Zune then. (The company has confirmed it’s called the Zune HD hasn’t yet said what the product’s name will be, or but hasn’t disclosed how much it will cost.)

The new Zune will have:

  • A touchscreen;
  • A 480-by-272  OLED display;
  • The ability to output HD content to a TV;
  • A built-in HD receiver.

That’s an intriguing list of specs, and enough to make it clear that Microsoft is building an iPod Touch rival, not a wannabee: While the form factor shown in the art Microsoft released is extremely Touch-esque, no Apple handheld has an OLED screen, HD radio, or HD video output.

Microsoft pre-announced just enough detail about the device to whet the appetite, so I’m left with more questions than answers. Such as the seven I ask after the jump.

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