Monday, 6 April 2009

To buy or not to buy the 802.11n supported iPod Touch?

Of all of Apple’s music players, the one that tickles my fancy is the iPod Touch.

Besides being a MP3 player and video player, you can also use it to surf the web as it is Wi-Fi equipped. That is pretty cool and means that some very interesting applications can be developed for the iPod Touch – including, just recently, Skype.

So now, if you have access to a Wi-Fi spot, you can call other Skype users - wherever they are in the world - and have a telephone conversation. For free. That’s pretty damn cool (assuming it actually works of course).

And news is out that the next generation of the iPod Touch will feature 802.11n. This extends its Wi-Fi range and gives it other improvements.

New support for 802.11n in the upcoming iPhone and iPod touch models would also provide the devices with additional network speed and reception range features of the significantly faster 802.11n specification, which are related to channel bonding (using two channels at once to double the top reception speed) and MIMO, the ability to use multiple transmit and receive antennas to improve reception speed and range.

Other features related to 802.11n include Space Time Block Coding (STBC), which sends the same data across multiple antennas for redundancy against radio interference; Short Guard Interval (SGI), which increases the data rate by squeezing out shorter padding intervals; A-MPDU, the aggregation of multiple MAC-level service data units; Block Ack, which increases efficiency by transmitting multiple data frames followed by only one acknowledgement frame in a transmission block; Greenfield mode, the increased efficiency gained by dropping 802.11a/b/g backward compatibility; and RIFS, reduced interframe spacing, which minimizes unused radio dead time by cutting the interval time between sent packets.

But I’m still not sure if I’m going to buy one.

Not because it’s not a good product.

It’s the ethos of the company I don’t like.

My first contention is that you have no choice but to install crappy itunes software to manage your music files. This cumbersome piece of software is slow, eats up system resources and is a pain in the ass to use. It would be so much better if the iPod was just recognized by the PC as an external harddrive to which you could drop your music files and videos. But fat chance of that. Apple want to control how you control your music.

Now for the second problem. The battery.

This is the Achilles heel of the iPod.

But what’s amazing is that it is an intentional “design fault”!!!

I mean they could easily design the device so you could replace the battery yourself. But they don’t. Instead they make it next to impossible. In fact, you have to return the device to Apple and they will then provide you with another unit!

But what good is this for Apple?

Well, it’s a nice little money maker of course. This is because iPod users have to pay through the nose to get the unit replaced by Apple. Either that or Apple simply hopes that you chuck your existing iPod away and go out and buy a new replacement iPod instead.

And not only could Apple make it easier for the battery to be replaced but they could also fit the device with a battery that actually has a decent life. The iPod battery can typically only be recharged 400 times, but a company called Milliamp can install a replacement battery that they guarantee for 10 years! Why can’t Apple match that?

Yep folks - Apple is taking the consumer for a ride.

So enjoy it while you can.

And be prepared to fall off when the ride comes to an end!