Tell me about the iPod Touch

My nine year old wants one. Seems odd to me that it was described by someone in the store as ‘an iPhone without the phone’.

What are they like?

Can a nine-year-old handle one? What about a five-year-old?

Are older ones available cheaply on ebay and are they worth it?

Inquiring fathers appear to be desperate to know!

I bought an iPod Touch last June, when my old iPod died. I like the iTunes-like flip-able album covers. The lists are a little difficult. The actual selections are fine. The problem for me is the alphabet on the right side of the screen. It’s not easy to choose the right letter. One thing that frustrated me is that it would go to sleep. It would still play, but I use Shuffle mode and sometimes I want a different song from the one that comes up. I’d have to hit the Home button to turn the screen on, and then use the (virtual) slider to unlock it, and then I could hit the skip button. I’ve since discovered that you can change the settings so it doesn’t go to sleep so fast. By comparison, the old click-wheel iPod only required clicking the wheel to skip to the next song.

I’ve not used the Touch on a long trip, but I do take five-to-eight hour drives from time to time. The Touch will not work with the old iPod’s car charger. I’ve used the Touch on a two-hour drive, and another (without charging) the next day. So for regular trips it’s fine. Of course, with the screen on all the time it will use more power. There are car chargers that say they’ll work with the Touch, but upon reading reviews many of them seem to not work with it. I can get a proper one from the Apple store, but I haven’t yet.

I don’t do apps, but there are a ton of them available. I did get a (free) Sudoku one, that I play occasionally. I’d also like to get the HP 42 app.

I have Skype on my Touch. If you can access a Wi-Fi signal and you have a headset, you can use it as a phone with Skype. I haven’t even used Skype on my PowerBook, let alone on the Touch; so I can’t say how well it works.

I’ve run into a problem twice: After updating iTunes, the Touch won’t synch. It’s not even recognised. I have to do a procedure to reset it to factory settings, which clears the disc, and resynch it once it’s done.

Overall, I like the Touch.

It is an iPhone without the phone. It’s a music player. It can run various Apps (applications) that you can download from the iTunes stores and other places – some free, some for a price. It can connect to the Internet, which enables you to surf the web via Safari and to play online games with other people.

As a parent, I say it’s way more technology than a 9-year-old needs, much less a 5-year-old. She won’t use a fraction of its capabilities – unless she’s already in the habit of watching the stock market and has dozens of contacts and appointments to keep track of by syncing with her computer. I assume it has parental controls so you can limit where she can get to on the Internet, but I don’t know if that’s the case.

This is true. You need to buy a charge converter for it to work with your older model iPod charging devices.

I’ve had an iPod Touch for a year. An 8 gig second generation. It is very much an iPhone without the phone (and camera). It looks similar just smaller/thinner, plays music, plays video, and lets you use applications and wifi.

I have 4588 songs in my iTunes library and I put “best of” playlists on my Touch. I encode my own video to watch on it by ripping my DVDs using HandBrake. I watch video on it at the gym mostly. I play games like Bejeweled, Solitaire, Texas Hold Em, Skee Ball when I am bored/killing time. I use it to quickly check Facebook, Twitter, my email, and other sites when I have a wifi network available, like when I’m at home but my laptop’s off or closed.

Having a Touch requires the ability to understand and utilize iTunes. You have to get your music into iTunes (this isn’t 100% true but it’s probably the most simple) by ripping CDs you own or purchasing music online with a credit or applicable gift card. Some games are free but many of the “cool” ones are not and cost anywhere from $1 to $7 or so, most “cool” games appear to cost $2-6 bucks a pop. There are all kinds of other apps like for Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, weather, sports scores, news, you name it. Many apps require internet access for full functionality/updating. Most video you can get from iTunes is NOT free, and if you want to put the DVDs you own on your iPod you need to rip and re-encode them using software like HandBrake to get them in the right file format to work on the Touch.

I don’t think a five year old should be messing with a Touch. It’s all touchscreen and small and I am not sure if five year olds have the finger dexterity to be able to use a Touch but I could be totally wrong. And the screen is glass; mine has appeared to be pretty hardy but I wouldn’t let a little kid touch it and possibly drop and break it.

It’s up to you whether or not your nine year old is able to have one. Can they use iTunes, or will you have to load all their music and make playlists and sync them? Will you give them credit card access for buying stuff? Or buy them giftcards? There are free games but not many that are awesome or playable over time; they get boring or you run out of levels/stuff to do because it’s a ripped away version. Do they want to use it for video? More stuff you have to pay for or you have to encode stuff for them which annoys me and I do it for myself.

I really think your nine year old wants one cause of the cool commercials showing Wii-like games that utilize the accelerometer in the Touch like driving games. But a Touch costs as much as a Wii does. I treat mine like my even more portable MacBook - I check email and read the Word and PowerPoint doc attachments, look up stuff on the internet for school while in class, use LinkedIn and Facebook, browse the SDMB, etc. The games and stuff are more like extra fun that kills time. But the games are throwaway kinds - short play stuff. Touches are flashy and cool but it’s a waste of money if you’re not really gonna use it for what it does. Get a Nano or something if you really just want music and a neat looking device to show off.

Let it sleep, you’ll save battery life. To get to the skip button, you can double-click the Home button to bring up the iPod controls (make sure the iPod Controls are set to “On” in Settings->General->Home).

And yeah, what everyone else said. The Touch does what the iPhone does except use the 3G cellular network, which is why people call it an “iPhone without a phone.” And with a wireless connection, you can even use apps to make calls and send text messages.

I got one last year for my then 22 (now 23) year old daughter and she loves it. Having said this I definitely would not be getting an ipod touch for a 9 year old.

They are an expensive piece of breakable glass and plastic and do not take kindly to impacts and spills. If they take it out of the house the lifetime is likely to be even shorter due to loss, breakage or theft. Then the kid cries and you get pissed etc. etc. .

Kids are brutal on things, and IMO there are much better gifts for 9 year olds. Something that encourages them to exercise vs media surfing might be a better choice.

I was planning on getting a Nano, but I saw refurb Touches available so I’ve been thinking about one of those. To me the benefit of the Touch would be that I could Google something or look up a map when I’m away from my computer. On the other hand, it’s bigger than the Nano and probably not as rugged. If I get a Nano I was thinking of looking for a used Netbook. That would be more useful, but I wouldn’t have it everywhere.

My fifteen month old uses my iphone to watch her programs (Yo Gabba Gabba) on the plane or in the car and in the stroller. Its a lot lighter than lugging around a dvd player and perfect to hold in her little hands. I put it in airplane mode and turn of send and receive and then she plays with it or watches it. Also she knows how to use the touch screen to play her interactive song apps, toddler word cards. I’m thinking about buying her the touch as well so that I can have my phone back in case she loses it. I won’t care too much if she loses the touch but all my personal info is on the phone. We both dropped the iphone a few times but with it in the cover it has survived so far with no problems. I’ve seen other parents use their phones the same way with using toddler apps, word flash cards or kiddy cartoons. I think the touch would be perfect for a little kid if they are into it. What you feel comfortable with for your child is obviously up to you.

I’ve just got one of the newest ones. I don’t really think it’s suitable for a nine year old (it has even way more than even I need on it): an iPod Nano is probably a better fit.

My I-pod classic will be three years old next month, with an 80 GB memory. Newer classic models are over twice this, the touch still does not approach this capacity.

Remember, it’s not just an iPhone without the phone. As mentioned, there’s no camera (crappy camera anyway). There’s no GPS receiver or solid state compass. There’s no 3G data (which I do distinguish from “phone”; e.g., I have a 3G modem that has no phone).

True, except that the current generation now has a GPS receiver. No maps, though, unless you’re in a WiFi zone.

I just got one (am writing this response on it) for Christmas. My six year old keeps askingme if she can play the games on it (a few free apps). I don’t know if I would let her have her own, or use mine away from me, but she sure seems to like it.

I got a iPod touches for my 12, 10, and 8 year old children. They all love it. I have a f year old but I wouldn’t consider getting him one.

I made it clear to the kids that the touches are their responsibility. They have iTunes store accounts that they fund with their allowances, and they bought their own cases for protection. We engraved the touches with our phone number in case one does get lost.

The 8 year old is athletic and is a big sports buff and catches up on ESPN scores, etc. The kids also use it for checking email, the school web site (within range of a wifi network), etc. It’s great on long trips, and as mentioned previously, will play movies.

There’s a great Dragon Naturally Speaking (free) app that does very good speech recognition. But I use that, the kids don’t mind the virtual keyboard - it doesn’t take long to get used to. it One advantage of the touch over a non-connected iPod in my opinion, is Pandora radio which is a free music streaming service. There are others as well.

One thing I’m not happy with is that the App store has some sexually themed apps, and I don’t think you can turn those off in parental controls. I’m not worried about my son downloading those apps, but I’d rather they not even appear in the app lists.

It all depends on the kid. Is your nine year old responsible with their belongings? Have they had other portable electronic items (e.g. leapster)? As long as they get in the habit of putting the touches in a consistent place (so they don’t lose it around the house) they should be fine.

Nope, it uses cell phone triangulation. No GPS. Cite.

My 3yr daughter loves the iPod touch. She watches videos, browses photos and plays a number of games on it – puzzles, matching, coloring, etc. She has no problem turning it on, navigating the screens, finding the app she wants and using it.

The hardest thing for her is keeping it charged…

That’s odd. The site you linked to says that it picks up the location from known-address wi-fi zones, but I’ve had my location picked up with no wi-fi signals visible. It also doesn’t pick up the location in areas where there’s good cell-phone coverage (e.g. my office building which has a cell-phone antenna on the roof).

I got an iHome alarm clock and keep my iPhone (prior to that, my Touch) plugged into it at night. Generally, that’s enough to last through the day unless I’m on the phone a lot or playing a bunch of apps. The only problem is that the Tivo remote interferes with it, so I had to use a bit of electrical tape to cover up the remote receiver and can’t use its remote. If you don’t have Tivo, that won’t be a problem for you. :wink:

Hmm…I’ve been charging a 120-gig iPod classic, a current-gen iPod Nano, and used to charge the 5th-gen iPod (until it broke in too many places) using the old FireWire AC adapter that came with my 4th-gen iPod. I’ve never had a problem just getting power through the FireWire connection, though of course none of the newer iPods could use the FireWire connection to interface with the computer.