iPod Touch-es Down in Canada, But Don't Get Your Hopes Up

The iPod Touch is now available in Canada, presenting something approximating the 端ber-hyped iPhone. Some people, however, are confused about how far this approximation really reaches.

Since the iPod Touch's recent release, I've been eager to get my hands on one, as my primary interest in the iPhone wasn't due to its phone or iPod facets, but the potential to have an extremely portable internet device for blogging, using Flickr, and to a lesser extent social networking - which, at a glance, the iPod Touch seemed like it could deliver.

I took a walk into the Eaton's Centre Apple store yesterday to check one out.

Okay, I'll be honest - I was more than just interested in checking one out. I have a MacBook Pro and video iPod, and am not just a happy Apple customer but tend to be an early adopter too. I wanted one and was merely giving myself a little room to be talked out of it.

To my surprise, I was.

It turned out I was misinformed - or misassuming - when it came to the device, although I wasn't quite as lost as the guy beside me who was trying to convince his girlfriend it was a worthwhile purchase.

Her: "Where's the mic," she asked, "like for when you put it to your ear?"
Him: "There's a mic on the earpiece. It's got a sick camera, though!"
Her: "Where?"
(They flip it over, only to see the Apple store alarm sensor.)
Him: "Oh, the sensor's covering it."

Of course, not everyone is going to be quite as let down as that hapless young man, and most comprehend that it's not literally an iPhone. Regardless, the iPod Touch's WiFi capability make it the closest thing to an iPhone to directly hit the Canadian technology market, and Apple fiends like yours truly have still been waking up out of iPhone dreams drooling.

It's important, though, that anyone considering dropping $329 (or $449) on an iPod Touch hoping for a Diet iPhone realizes that they are overestimating.

Adam Schwabe's Nuit Blache liveblogging, via an actual iPhone, is closest to what I envision using such an iContraption for, and as it turns out, the iPod Touch is absolutely not sufficient.

Though it does have a web browser (Safari), there is no direct access whatsoever to the filesystem, so images cannot be uploaded in the standard way via 'Browse' or 'Choose file' buttons, which means no direct uploads to Movable Type, Wordpress or any other such blogging platforms. Flash doesn't work, so forgot about Flickr and Facebook's fancypants uploaders circumnavigating that.

There are peripherals that will let you plug a digital camera's USB cable straight into an iPod and transfer photos to it, which would presumably let you capture photos and get them onto the iPod Touch. However, the only thing you'd be able to do from there is look at them (and tilt them sideways, and zoom with your fingertips, ooh!) and basically nothing else.

Adam's solution, which is what iPhone owners south of the border have had to do so far, was to e-mail the images to Flickr and embed a slideshow in his post until he was able to get home and 'cement' the liveblogging. Facebook also offers the ability to post via e-mail, as do some other sites, but it's certainly not a standard / blanket solution.

And that's the iPhone - the iPod Touch has no mail application whatsoever. It is pretty much a one-way data trap, and anyone hoping to use it for anything beyond that will be faced with an unpleasant restocking fee when they return it.

On top of this, the note-writing application is missing and the calendar can't be edited directly. So, anyone who is letting their imagination fill in the gap between the newest iPod and a portable PDA computer - you're hallucinating.

Unless you're strictly looking for a new iPod for music and video with the occasional ability to check MySpace at Starbucks, put your wallet away. The iPhone has most definitely not Touched down in Canada, no matter what your boyfriend may try to tell you.

Image of old Apple displaying Flickr by ~EvidencE~
Product image from Apple's iPod Touch gallery.

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