iPod touch 2.0 is twice as cool

When I initially got my iPod touch, I was very impressed with its features, capabilities and design. Suddenly I was no longer chained to my MacBook for portable computing.

Last evening I upgraded to iPod software 2.0, and in a very short time, I am already impressed. The process itself is quite straightforward, though you should be warned that iTunes does not give much warning about charging your credit card. Whatever card is connected to your iTunes account will be charged immediately. The download itself is quite hefty — 222 MB. iTunes does all the work for you, though, as it backs up your device, updates the software, and restores the settings and media.

The App Store is also an excellent way to organize and keep track of new applications. It is also very straightforward to use and add applications to your device. Since I’ve only had a few hours minutes with the new software, I’ve only been able to install 3 applications, but those 3 are very cool.

Remote

This application has me most excited, even in the short time I’ve been able to use it. Created by Apple, Remote is an excellent showcase for how iPod applications can be used. It turns your iPod or iPhone into, well, a remote for either iTunes or an Apple TV. You can browse through the computer’s library just like you would on the iPod — in fact, visually it’s almost too hard to tell if you’re listening to music locally or on another computer — and Remote makes the music play. To add a library (be able to control a computer), find your device in the iTunes source window (you’ll need to move to iTunes 7.7, on both OS X and Windows) and insert the 4 digit security code found on the iPod. Once the connection is made, you can control the computer from anywhere on the network. This app is going to get plenty of play time on my iPod.

Weatherbug

People have an incredible fascination with the weather, and Weatherbug makes it easy to get the local forecast, radar picture and severe weather reports right on your iPhone. It has access to thousands of airports, universities and weather stations around the world, and in many cases you have to choose which station you want for a particular location. The program allows up to 3 locations at once to reside next to each other, and has data like wind direction, humidity, high and low temperatures and even local weather cameras. The only complaint I have thus far is that there seems to be no Celsius option.

PayPal

Perhaps the simplest application of these 3, PayPal Mobile is simply a native access point for your PayPal account. The bottom of the screen gives options for account balance, sending money and more information. Once you’ve logged in, you can email money to anyone in your address book. While not quite as ground breaking as Super Monkey Ball or Remote, PayPal will definitely be on my home screen for some time to come.

So in the limited time I’ve been able to use the iPod touch 2.0 software, I’ve noticed some great improvements — passwords now display the last character you’ve entered to make sure you have it typed correctly, and by holding the home and sleep button, you can take screenshots (all the photos on this post were taken with this method). With the addition of the App Store and 3rd party applications, the iPhone has the opportunity become a viable portable computing platform. Now, where’s my WiFi scanner and iTunes library browser?

[tags]Mac OS X, Apple, iPod touch, iPhone, SDK, software[/tags]


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