July 12, 2008

After Slow Start, My iPod Touch Is a Happy 2.0 Camper

As far as dedicated Apple fans go, I think I've had to turn in my "First Class" ID in exchange for a "Second Class" ID ever since the iPhone came out. The reason? I still don't have one, and no matter how many days in a row I wear my Apple logo watch or my Apple logo shirts, it won't make up for the fact the rest of the digerati have moved forward, and yet, I hold on to my two or three-generations old Blackberry.

But my so far steering clear of the iPhone doesn't mean I didn't get the chance to benefit from Apple's releases on Friday. While the reports from Apple Stores across the country poured in about long waits, activation delays and software bugs, I was at home trying to find some way to get my iPod Touch software updated, to benefit from the newly introduced iTunes Application Store. I had jumped the gun on Thursday, purchasing several of the apps, and yet, the 2.0 software package was playing hard to get.

Virtually all of Friday, the 2.0 upgrade for the iPod Touch was out of reach. Apple's Web site said it was a click away, but iTunes would continually fail, saying the upgrade was unavailable, putting me in a seeming infinite loop of futility. iTunes said I had an OS upgrade available, but it wouldn't even take me to the page where I could pay my nominal $9.95 and take my iPod Touch from trailing edge to leading edge.

Alright, I can Upgrade!

But Wait, This is Taking Too Long!

Ack! Failure Again!

But finally, after midnight last night, the trains started to run on time. I downloaded the more than 200 megabytes needed, over a half hour's time, and let my laptop and the iPod Touch spend some quality alone time, while data and settings were backed up and synchronized.

When all was completed, I not only had the 2.0 software, but several new applications for the iPod Touch, both free and premium, including:
  • AOL Instant Messenger
  • Baseball
  • Facebook
  • Google Mobile App
  • MLB.com At Bat
  • Salesforce Mobile
  • Twitteriffic
  • WeatherBug
I also added a handful of games, of course, from the basic SuperPong to Air Hockey, BlackJack, ZEN Pinball, and 300 Bowl.

The upgrade, despite the first day snafu, is absolutely a gem. Having push e-mail to the iPod Touch, and the addition of Twitterrific already has the iPod Touch playing a much more significant role as a communications device, and I'll be setting it up for full Exchange synchronization later today for sure. I'm also looking forward to working with the Salesforce.com tool, as Salesforce.com is one site I use constantly at the office to track leads, opportunities, reports and revenue.

And I can't overstate the geeky fun of the Baseball application. I was checking it out late last night, and what it delivers for any true sports nut is every statistic - ever - from the beginning of professional baseball through the 2007 season. You can browse by team, by year and by player to get all the data you'd need to win trivia games, or just to annoy your neighbors at the ballpark. Used in tandem with the MLB.com At Bat service, which lets you see game highlights on video throughout the contest, and after its completed, and you've got the potential to be a real seamhead as well as being a geek.

As for eventually crossing the chasm and finally getting that elusive iPhone? Trust me, it's tempting. The iPod Touch does a lot for me, but I would love to get it down to one device. But if your work paid for the BlackBerry service on Verizon, wouldn't you stick with that, instead of moving to AT&T and paying out of your own pocket?