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Apple iPod Touch (second generation, 8GB)

>> Thursday, January 8, 2009

Priced at $229 (8GB), $299 (16GB), and $399 (32GB), the second generation iPod Touch still commands a fairly high price compared with other MP3 players with similar capacities. When you weigh the price of the iPod Touch against its features, however, the device becomes much more attractive.

Out of the box, the second generation iPod Touch includes an amazing music player, podcast support, video playback (including iTunes rentals and a YouTube player), a Safari Web browser, photo viewer, an email reader (compatible with Outlook, Exchange, MobileMe, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, or any POP email service), an integrated Wi-Fi music store, and a host of smaller utilities (weather, calendar, maps, stocks, notes, clock, contacts, and calculator).

Provided you can become proficient with its touch screen keyboard, the iPod Touch is more pocket PC than MP3 player. As of version 2.0 of Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch firmware, the device's stock features are just the beginning.

The new iTunes App Store, accessible from your computer or directly from the iPod Touch, lets users download and install thousands of applications, including Internet radio players, games, voice recorders, and social networking tools.

You can also extend the capabilities of the iPod Touch using third party "Made for iPod" hardware accessories such as Bluetooth transmitters, audio or video docks, external battery packs, and speaker systems.

The second generation of the iPod Touch also introduces Apple's new Genius feature, which lets you create an instant 25 song playlists based on the musical characteristics of a single song. The Genius feature is easy to use, and the results are fun, provided your music collection holds enough songs to make interesting connections. You can create and save Genius playlists directly onto your iPod Touch, and with automatic syncing enabled in iTunes you can also transfer them back to your computer.

Oddly, the Touch's Genius feature won't work if you haven't enabled Genius on your computer's iTunes software. If you find iTunes' Genius feature too demanding on your computer's resources or too invasive of your privacy (the feature reports your listening habits to Apple), then you'll need to live without the feature on your iPod as well.

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