Thursday, June 18, 2009

iPod Touch 3.0 Software Update

I bought the software upgrade for my iPod Touch (2nd Generation) yesterday.  I know a lot of iPhone owners have been looking forward to 3.0, and I kind of was too, because it is supposed to address some of the issues I have had with the iPhone ecosystem.  Here are a few thoughts.

  • I like that they have added Cut, Copy, and Paste.  I can’t believe how long it took to add this must-have feature. 
  • Bluetooth is enabled.  The 2nd generation iPod Touch has always had a Bluetooth radio, but it has been disabled until the 3.0 upgrade.
  • The landscape keyboard in Mail is nice.  It does take up a lot of the screen, but the larger buttons are easier to press.
  • The installation went mostly without a hitch this time.  With the 2.0 software upgrade, it took 4 hours and multiple attempts to get it to work.  Fortunately that wasn’t the case for me this time.
  • I like that they have added search capabilities.  Though I’m not pleased with the way it was done.
  • Push notifications are absolutely not a substitute for multitasking.  Only running one application at a time is a ludicrous limitation.  Apple needs to fix this.  Everybody else has been doing multitasking for years, and there is no valid excuse for not supporting it.
  • I can’t get the Bluetooth to work.  (more on that in a minute)
  • The way that Cut/Copy/Paste was implemented is just screwy.  You can’t just “click and drag” to select text; it is a multi-step process that isn’t that intuitive. 
  • Search doesn’t search email message contents.
  • Shake to Shuffle and Shake to Undo are just weird and gimmicky.  Shaking a device isn’t intuitive, or even easy to do.  On-screen buttons would have been a much better choice.
  • The Spotlight search feature was implemented as a screen to the left of the home screen.  I keep accidentally scrolling over to it by accident.  It should have been added as an app button like everything else.
  • There are still inconsistencies in the user interface.  For example, swiping left/right while viewing pictures selects the next or previous picture.  But doing this while playing music takes you to the track listing, or nothing at all. 
  • The default applications still don’t have the same styling… some use black backgrounds, others white, others gray, yet others blue.  Consistency would be nice, and it is usually something Apple takes seriously.
  • Not all applications support landscape yet (notably Calendar, which could really benefit from a Week view in landscape mode).
  • Still can’t attach more than one photo at a time to an email.
  • Still can’t add attachments while composing email messages.
  • Exchange synchronization still only synchronizes the Inbox folder (ignoring other folders).
  • It doesn’t feel like I got much for the $10 the upgrade cost.
Bluetooth Won’t Work

I can’t get the Bluetooth feature to work at all.  I was hoping to use it with a headset to make Skype calls.  But it just won’t go.

When I turn on the Bluetooth radio the iPod starts searching for devices.  But it never finishes.  It will sit on the Searching screen as long as I will allow it to:

photo It never finishes the search, or finds anything to pair to, despite the fact that there are at least four Bluetooth devices in range.  Even worse, it fails to pair from a computer as well:


I have tried pairing with multiple computers, headsets, resetting the Touch, you name it.  Basically the feature doesn’t work at all, and its alleged Bluetooth capability is totally broken.

Message Searching

Another advertised feature is the ability to search messages.  That doesn’t work for me either.

The idea is this: you enter text you want to search for and it will find all messages that contain that text.  Nope.  Doesn’t work.  The text I’m searching for here definitely appears in a message in my Inbox, but it fails to find it.


 photo Initially I heard that searching an Exchange server for message contents wasn’t going to work, but then I heard that at least I could search messages that are already downloaded onto the device.  I can say definitively that neither one works, making the message search feature next to useless.  You can search the From, To, and Subject lines of email, but that feature really isn’t that useful.

Worth it?

Is it worth the upgrade?  For iPhone users, definitely, since it is a free upgrade.  For iPod Touch users, I’m not convinced it is worth it just yet.  With some of its basic functionality totally broken, I’m still holding out for future upgrades.

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