Popular iPhone and iPod Touch Add-Ons

I still haven't gotten my iPhone. Apple stores have been sold out since Friday and I got mad at AT&T when it didn't come through with my phone 7 days after I paid for it so I canceled the order. The current shortage may last a month:

Apple stores are reporting serious shortages of the device, an inventory slip-up that might last for a month, Computerworld reported. Barely a quarter of Apple's retail stores have iPhones to sell, but only nine stores have all three versions available. Only 18 stores currently have the 16 gigabit black model in stock and 26 stores have the white model with the same storage capacity. AT&T is also reporting a severe shortage with all 1,200 retail stores nearly out of the iPhone altogether.

But, I did get a gift of a brand new iPod touch. It's the latest iPod and has a much bigger video screen, wifi, internet and e-mail and all the calendar, contacts, etc features. The only thing it doesn't have is the phone. (And, you need to be able to connect to a wi-fi network.) [More...]

I spent all day Sunday setting it up. I love it. It doesn't hold as much as the iPod video unless you get the 32 Gig model which is $500, but it holds 587 of my favorite songs plus my videos with several gigabytes left over.

All the cool apps that are available to download for the iPhone also work on the iPod touch. There are hundreds of apps -- related to music, news, business and everything else. I spent several hours perusing them but haven't downloaded any yet.

Now, Reuters has a roundup of some of the better music ones -- with descriptions of each: Pandora, AOL radio, Shazam, MIDOMI MOBILE, MOOCOWMUSIC: BAND, INTUNA, GUITARTOOLKIT and JAMD.

More on Apple and the Apps is here.

The iPod touch will make it less painful for me to wait for the iPhone. When I get it, there's a feature called MobileMe that costs $99 a year and syncs your iPod touch with your Mac, your PC's and iPhone -- from emails to the calendar to music. That will probably take me another week to configure, but since I don't have anything but music to sync yet, I'm in no hurry.

I am probably one of the only people in the universe that finds the Mac much harder and more cumbersome to use than a PC. But now that I have the iPod touch and while I'm waiting for my iPhone, I'm going to try using the Mac more and see if I can't, after three years of trying, finally get the hang of it.

If you have any cool apps to recommend, or other iPhone, iPod touch related thoughts, please put them in comments. I'm off to do some downloading.

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    To Be Precise... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Petey on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:07:45 PM EST
    "I did get a gift of a brand new iTouch"

    iPod Touch, to be precise.

    "I am probably one of the only people in the universe that finds the Mac much harder and more cumbersome to use than a PC. But now that I have the iTouch and while I'm waiting for my iPhone, I'm going to try using the Mac more and see if I can't, after three years of trying, finally get the hang of it."

    Use it for a month, and it'll feel like home.

    I highly recommend all of OmniGroup's apps...

    RSS (none / 0) (#3)
    by Petey on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:11:34 PM EST
    NewsFire is my preferred RSS client, although everyone else seems to prefer NetNewsWire.

    (Both are free.)


    I'll rewrite and (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:13:41 PM EST
    correct, thanks. I like itouch better than ipod touch though.

    I like it better, too (none / 0) (#8)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:27:19 PM EST
    Although I can see why Apple didn't use it. The word "itouch' is just begging to be the center of jokes.

    LOL, oops! (none / 0) (#6)
    by JimWash08 on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:16:56 PM EST
    I say 'iTouch' too, instead of 'iPod Touch' ... Kinda has a better ring to it and flows better.

    Out Of Stock? (none / 0) (#2)
    by JimWash08 on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:09:38 PM EST
    Hmm, that's strange. My neighbor just got the new iPhone over the weekend from an Apple store in Arlington, Va.

    The Denver area must be a hot-bed for Applephiles.

    I have the iTouch and I highly recommend it. The only disadvantage is your Internet use will be limited to areas that offer free-WiFi. Although I'm planning to get the iPhone eventually -- probably the 2nd-generation of the 3G just so that all the kinks have been ironed out.

    Not That This Will Make You Feel (none / 0) (#4)
    by The Maven on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:12:02 PM EST
    any better (or worse), depending on your view of Apple, but after posting solid though somewhat disappointing quarterly results this afternoon, the company's stock is down 11% in after-hours trading, taking a $16 billion bite out of their market capitalization.  So it's probably safe to say that Stave Jobs feels your pain.

    (For the record, I've had a purely personal bias against Macs for well over 20 years, and I still haven't figured out how to set up the iPod I got as a birthday gift a couple of years ago.)

    iPods are easy (none / 0) (#7)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:25:48 PM EST
    1. Download itunes
    2. Plug the ipod into your computer
    3. Open itunes and buy music (or download free podcasts)

    It will sync automatically and load any songs you buy.  Even I could do it, and I'm not that much of a technophile. You can get fancier, of course. My husband transfers his favorite movies and CD's and loads them on his ipod. We also download audiobooks from audible and listen to them on our way to work. The remote is just as easy as itunes - plug into cigarette lighter, set stations to match, plug in ipod, choose music/book.

    Seriously, try it. I resisted an ipod for a long time, until I decided that I wanted to listen to my audiobooks at the gym. I hate gadgets. Now, I don't want to live without it. My ipod was stolen and we went out and bought a new one the next day. In the car, waiting in long line, on airplanes, at the gym... I barely remember what boredom is. And you aren't just limited to music, you can get interesting podcasts in many subjects, news reports, bbc stories/interviews, fiction and non-fiction books (often unabridged - I hate abridged books), and more.

    We're waiting for an 80 Gb version of the itouch. Well, my husband is... I'm perfectly happy with my nano. And no iphone until they decide to let us call with Verizon, which my husband says can't be done any time soon for technical reasons that he understands but I don't.


    Well, technically... (none / 0) (#11)
    by JimWash08 on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:42:41 PM EST
    you can use the iPhone on the Verizon network beginning next month, I believe.

    Just one, tiny drawback: it'll cost you about $600 to $700 as AT&T/Apple are releasing the phones without a contract.

    (Jeralyn, oops)


    No, you can't (none / 0) (#13)
    by robrecht on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:48:33 PM EST
    The iPhone is completely incompatible with Verizon's CDMA network.

    this is my biggest beef with these 2 companies (none / 0) (#57)
    by thereyougo on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 01:51:14 PM EST
    among others, that you can't interchange the device with a device of your choice and are REQUIRED to sign up for their plans at the POSale.

    I am waiting for the google phone next year that will be interchangeable. I would rather help their stock than ATT, who were processing sales on credit cards only.

    I avoid Verizon and ATT at every opportunity.


    And ... (none / 0) (#15)
    by robrecht on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:52:05 PM EST
    ... AT&T is only 1 year into their 5-year exclusivity deal with Apple so don't look for a Verizon compatible version for 4 more years.  At which time, I hope we won't need to be discussing the 2012 election too much.

    Wait! I thought it was a 2-year deal (none / 0) (#20)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:25:30 PM EST
    with AT&T on exclusivity.

    He's referring to Apple's deal with ATT (none / 0) (#29)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 09:02:37 PM EST
    to let them be the exclusive network, not the consumer wireless contracts, which are indeed two years.

    I'm ajudgmental re what others put in their holes (none / 0) (#17)
    by Ellie on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:58:14 PM EST
    ... (ajudgmental meaning 'who cares' rather than me having evolved to a serene state of nonjudgmentalism) ...

    However, I can't tolerate the tradeoff of privacy for the "nicer", cooler corporate nanny MacApple organizing my culture and, incidentally, monitoring what it's databasing.

    I like my music messy, thanks. Dumped my old Sony players because of it. Dumped my iStuff on Sis, who's a glassy-eyed brand loyalist about having the ten-yr old tech. We don't even have good fghts about it like the Linux/ Open Source people are always good for.

    Again, not intended as a slag and if it floats your stuff, I heartily celebrate your enjoyment -- however, I will take this moment to hoot in the general direction of anything being marketed by a device so lame as a smugly cuter 'hipper' guy* smugly pointing out that he's pointedly more nonchalant about being hiply cute about being creative.

    Or --- gaaaaaaahhhhh --- Feist music/vids, or other iPod music from the commercials that afterwards "suddenly" becomes the hot hip thing.

    * I wouldn't turn ubernerd Hodgeman away from my dinner table and 10yr old fossiltech would efficiently process a booty call from the other guy and not lose time or bars.


    It's not about cool (none / 0) (#19)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:22:30 PM EST
    It's just a handy, easy to use, gadget. We can listen to all kinds of audio content or watch movies (well, my husband can) whenever we want. I spent a several hour drive the other day playing different songs for my husband. I have hundreds to pick from. When I go to the grocery store he waits in the care and listens to "Security Now" podcasts or watches "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Delayed flights hold no fear for me, anymore. I tend to resist trends as long as possible, but this one is just too useful to pass up. Sometimes things get popular just because they are great, not just because of great advertising.

    Oh, by all means enjoy! I'd even give you Sissy's (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Ellie on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:31:26 PM EST
    ... number to swap some tricks were I not bound by previous vows not to dump her personal stuff online. (Some of the more egregious stuff was recorded, to prove a point about privacy, with with stuff I gave HER.) :-)

    But Be the Toy! Eat! Dance! Play!


    Weird (none / 0) (#22)
    by tek on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:28:16 PM EST
    because Macs are way easier to use than PC.

    Not ... (none / 0) (#30)
    by cymro on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 09:05:52 PM EST
    ... if you've been using a PC for several hours every day since 1981.

    I'm such an old "tech holdout" (none / 0) (#50)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 08:31:19 AM EST
    that I refused to use Windows and a mouse for as long as I possibly could.  (I always thought the mouse was for people who couldn't type.)




    LOL - I know what you mean (none / 0) (#51)
    by ruffian on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 09:03:29 AM EST
    It seems counterintuitive, but one of the things I like best about my MacBook is that when I want to I can use the terminal window to use Unix commands to move files around, etc - bypassing the pretty user interface altogether.

    I've always used Unix or Mac, and never a Windows machine until my most recent job. I still don't know why I need 2 mouse buttons.


    Loved my iPhone (none / 0) (#12)
    by robrecht on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:47:04 PM EST
    ... and I'm sure I'd love the iP3G even more but it just does not have enough battery power for me.  It really needs swappable batteries to consider one again ... especially with 3G and GPS.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#16)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:52:47 PM EST
    battery life leaves much to be desired.

    I picked up (none / 0) (#14)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 06:51:10 PM EST
    my Iphone 3g last Monday.

    My useful apps, although some are NYC specific.

    Save Benjis - enter a product and it returns with various prices of the product.  Useful if you are shopping around.  

    Itrans - NYC - Detailed map of the NYC subway system.

    Urbanspoon - Helps to find new restaurants by having you spin a slot machine style wheel.  Maybe be NYC specific.

    I have both Picasa and Google Reader short cuts which, while not apps per se, are awesome to have.

    I tried to download Shazam but had some problems.  

    Lots of apps still are buggy but the future is bright.

    I'm strictly andline and desktop PC. (none / 0) (#18)
    by Fabian on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:12:35 PM EST
    But I thank you for keeping my husband employed with your love of all things digital and satellite!

    Great (none / 0) (#21)
    by tek on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:27:01 PM EST
    to see Apple doing so well.  And did I say that we met Steve Jobs walking across the street in front of Apple Corporate in Cupertino.  Just a regular guy, nice as anything.

    they say Steve Jobs is really thin, and possibly (none / 0) (#58)
    by thereyougo on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 02:02:19 PM EST
    hi battle with pacreatic cancer is not over. They're not saying anything yet, but everyone is talking about his appearance.

    Congratulations (none / 0) (#24)
    by Prabhata on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:36:56 PM EST
    Great choice.

    I have no interest in paying $2,000 (none / 0) (#25)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 08:04:45 PM EST
    for a telephone.  But the Touch seems like a cool device.  When someone figures out how to run Skype on it, I may go out and buy one!

    you can skip the contract if you want (none / 0) (#39)
    by DandyTIger on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 10:43:33 PM EST
    you just cancel after one month and pay a 175 penalty fee. Then with unlocking software, you can switch the sim for a pay as you go one.

    Hmm. (none / 0) (#46)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 05:53:36 AM EST
    You still pay the contract price for the phone?

    And what networks can you access?


    you can use pay as you go (none / 0) (#48)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 07:52:20 AM EST
    from either att or tmobile in the us. and since 3g is sort of the standard most other places, you can get pay as you go sim cards in europe, etc. when traveling.

    I'm waiting too (none / 0) (#26)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 08:09:25 PM EST
    My Sprint contract is finally up soon and I will ditch a family plan and get an iPhone.
    I already ordered a Sena case (had a magnetflipper for my Treo and love it) and have 30-odd free apps downloaded to iTunes. And a short list of paid-apps.
    End of August and I'm there.

    My favorite app so far is Remote (none / 0) (#27)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 08:34:41 PM EST
    Because yes, I am just that lazy that I find it a pain to walk from the living room to the office to turn on music after I have settled down with a book. I have remote speakers in the bedroom and living room, and I can make iTunes play on any combination of them with Remote on my phone.

    Also the Aki Mahjongg game - I got addicted to that on my MacBook when I was watching primary returns on all those Tuesday nights. Glad to have it on my iP now too.

    I have downloaded a few more just because i could, but those are the two I use most.

    Jeralyn, have you made yourself a TalkLeft icon yet? Go to the TL, page, then press the + sign button and it will become a little icon on your phone that you can press anytime to get to TL without having to launch Safari first.

    I made a whole page of Talking Points Memo icons in January, before someone kidnapped Josh Marshall.  I sent him a picture of it - that was before I could do a neat screen capture like you can now, and he posted it. The good old days.

    thanks, I did the home page thing (none / 0) (#44)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 11:30:44 PM EST
    last night, it's very cool. I didn't realize it bypassed Safari, but it's really nice to be able to have a direct link to TL on the home screen with the graphic of the front page.

    Cool! (none / 0) (#49)
    by ruffian on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 08:16:40 AM EST
    The next step, if you like, is to have your web geek make a little special TL icon for iPhones and iTouch. That way anyone who adds the icon like you did will get the TL logo and not whatever graphics happen to be on the page.

    What to do: Use your favorite photo editor to create a .png file with your logo.  Apple recommends 60×60 pixels for a crisp image. The name of the file has to be apple-touch-icon.png and it has to be put into the root directory of your website. The '+' plugin should be able to find it there, but just to make sure you can put the line :

    <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/whatever.jpg">

    in the header of your web page.

    Enough geekspeak for now! Let me know if you need any help with your Apple stuff.


    help! (none / 0) (#53)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 01:06:30 PM EST
    Here is my facebook logo but it's 150 x 200. When I make it smaller to 60 x 80, you can't read the tag line. I also don't know how to make it 60 x 60 (square.)

    How do you make a 60 x 60 that's readable?


    correction (none / 0) (#54)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 01:07:49 PM EST
    The 150 by 200 is here. the one above is 75/100.

    just made a version for you (none / 0) (#59)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 02:16:38 PM EST
    that I think is pretty readable at 60x60 and emailed it too you.

    it's perfect (none / 0) (#60)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 03:02:41 PM EST
    and uploaded. Thanks so much for doing this. Much appreciated!

    They are working the bugs out of MobileMe (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 08:38:48 PM EST
    So don't hurry to get that.  It is great when it works though.  I like seemless syncing, so I'm a sucker for Apple products. If Steve thinks I need it, I probably do.

    The Wi Fi Phone Feature (none / 0) (#31)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 09:16:48 PM EST
    Seems good. That way you can use it in any hot spot, including your own home for free.

    How about a recommendation for (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 09:45:06 PM EST
    someone (me) who would like to download Fresh Air, This American Life, From the Top, and maybe some audio books, but probably not music.  What device should I get?  Given I won't be listening to music, absolute sterling fidelity probably isn't a necessity.  

    A Computer? (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 10:05:24 PM EST
    But I guess you are on one, Duh.   An iPhone would do the trickm, imo. The new 3G phone is faster on the internet than the older model because they run on a faster frequency, the main reason to get one is if you want the features you ask about. The incredibly slow internet speed of the EDGE system has upgraded to the faster 3G system.

    I forgot an important criteria: portability. (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 10:11:03 PM EST
    I plan to finally implement my doctor's instructions to walk a min. of 1/2 per day.  So I'll be listening to the programs I enjoy but usually miss due to scheduling.  

    If you're a PC user, no need to (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Joan in VA on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 10:22:33 PM EST
    spend extra $ for Apple. Get a compatible, no-name player. If you use a Mac, then get the starter Nano for $150(maybe less now)? Small players are great for walking and you don't need all the extras for listening to books. I am still using the first Nano which is small and great for yard work. Well, it doesn't do the yard work but the music makes it more fun.

    I'd Get The iPhone (none / 0) (#36)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 10:16:00 PM EST
    If I were you.

    any mp3 player will do (none / 0) (#40)
    by DandyTIger on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 10:45:55 PM EST
    if you're just downloading podcasts on your computer and can sync them with your player. Of course it's all very easy with iTunes and an iPod. But others will work too.

    Thanks. (none / 0) (#43)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 11:12:51 PM EST
    top this! (none / 0) (#33)
    by jpete on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 10:01:08 PM EST
    I got Netter's neuroscience flash cards for the iphone.  Can't get much nerdier than that.

    They are completely terrific, by the way.  Packed with all sorts of links and info.

    iphone (none / 0) (#38)
    by agota on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 10:40:54 PM EST
    the new iphone 3g is too thick. the addon i would love to have is for it to work with any network!!!

    thinner and more radio receiver hardware (none / 0) (#41)
    by DandyTIger on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 10:47:47 PM EST
    is kind of hard to do. Of course they've got audio, video, and 3d graphics hardware in there, so things could be smaller, but then it wouldn't be able to have such cool apps. :-)

    in the same boat (none / 0) (#42)
    by DandyTIger on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 10:56:17 PM EST
    I have my iPod Touch which is way cool. I have a headset attached with VoIP software on it, so I can make calls from hot spots. But mostly I have some games and music and video on it. So far only free software and software I've made, so nothing purchased at the app store yet.

    There are definitely some great apps out there though. The capabilities under the covers are amazing, so expect some very powerful apps and games.

    I'm waiting patiently for the 3G phone demand to calm down so I can get one. I'm thinking a couple more weeks. It's frustrating because I want to dump my horrible old phone and plan already.

    The big decision will be if I want to stick with ATT after the first month, or if I want to cancel and switch to pay as you go. Note to do that isn't straight forward, you have run a software unlocking program and swap out the sim card. Not for the feint of heart.

    nice article about favorite iPhone apps (none / 0) (#45)
    by DandyTIger on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 11:38:14 PM EST
    I just noticed called: 2 weeks later: iPhone apps I actually use [tuaw.com]. As mentioned above, Remote seems to be a winner. I'm going to try out Pandora Radio as well as I like it quite a bit on the desktop computer.

    i feel so inadequate! (none / 0) (#47)
    by cpinva on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 06:08:57 AM EST
    i want a cell phone that i can use solely to make or receive calls, anything else is extraneous to those functions. of course, that's a pretty impossible task nowadays, since no one makes such an animal anymore.

    my old samsung finally bit the dust, after 4 years, so i was forced to get a new phone. i got a motorola razor, which does all kinds of nifty stuff (including take pictures, which i must admit is kind of neat), most of which i have no interest in. it does do the bluetooth thing though, which leaves my hands free, and is far less cumbersome than the old headset.

    good luck with your new phone jeralyn. i fear that, by the time you finally figure it out, it'll be obsolete.

    Obama as Mac (none / 0) (#52)
    by Manuel on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 11:41:46 AM EST
    It is amzing how effectively Obama has been branded as the Mac of political candidates (as compared to Hillary's and McCain's PC).

    Not the only one jeralyn... (none / 0) (#55)
    by apolitiko on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 01:36:23 PM EST
    ...because, and I know this is an unpopular position, but I find their operating system hard to figure out. Call it too much time on PCS, but I always found the way Macs work a little hard to handle.

    and yes, yes, I know they are better against viruses, etc.. etc...

    BTW... (none / 0) (#56)
    by apolitiko on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 01:38:02 PM EST
    ...I really appreciate your lifestyle posts. It takes away from the daily grind of what has become a particularly depressing election cycle.

    Thanks, I do too (none / 0) (#61)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 03:05:14 PM EST
    I try to mostly do them on slow news days or at night -- but they are a welcome relief from all the political stuff. Until the convention, I am just not as into the election.

    If you have suggestions for other topics, I'm open to them.


    I don't get the big deal (none / 0) (#62)
    by mabelle55 on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 02:45:35 AM EST
    about the IPhone. I looked at one of the demos, tried it out, played with it and thought it was okay, nothing more. And it has a few big drawbacks, according to what I've read: no voice dial/call, talking/listening features are only "fair", there's no phone-to-computer PIM sync, the headset is proprietary, as is the battery. All this for $300 (and that's before the headset, new battery)?

    About availability: I live in Seattle area. The AT&T phone store where I live has them in stock: I was there today to upgrade my phone (to a Samsung Blackjack II - excellent, by the way) and there were about six people buying the IPhones on the spot (I was watching the salespeople/customers while I was waiting for the paperwork on my phone). The shortage is apparently not nationwide).

    Still, I really don't get the hype. My new Blackjack II does everything an IPhone does and more, for about half the price, and is a top three CR smartphone pick.

    But then, I'm not a Mac fan, either, so...