Apple Releases a New iPod Touch in the Wake of iPhone 5’s Hit Release

It has been one week since Apple unveiled the new iPhone 5. As if the mere release of the fifth generation iPhone was not enough, the giant gadgets designer also dropped a newly revamped version of the Apple iPod Touch. The iPod Touch can be defined as an iPhone without the phone, meaning that the device delivers the other functionalities of an iPhone apart from the calling functionality.

Bigger screen, thinner device

This new iPod Touch still perpetuates Apple’s trend of releasing gadget updates that are slimmer, more power efficient and smarter than their predecessors. The gadget features a 4-inch retina display with an aspect ratio of 16:9 to enhance on video and gaming experiences which are the core functionalities of an iPad.

Weighing in at 88 grams (from the former 101 grams) with a super-thin depth of 6.1mm, the device is now powered by a dual core A5 processor, an improvement from the former A4 which is aimed at improving general processing capabilities to better on the execution of heavy-weight applications.

To cover the iPod, Apple designers have dumped the tapered chrome backing for a flat aluminum panel, a move that rhymes with the casing change of the iPhone 5 and is believed to add to the versatility of the gadget. The sleek cover is punctured at the front top part to host a secondary camera that can support 720p video and facial recognition with its pixel power left classified during the release.

At the rear of this new gadget that now features an internal speaker detaching you from the constant need for earphones and 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi radio making it compatible with Apple’s AirPlay Mirroring feature, is a new 5-megapixel camera complete with LED flash that supports 1080p video capture and other iSight capabilities.

Released in a variety of colors that include blue, silver and black that are bound to create an illusion of diversity fromone gadget to another, the new iPod Touch will come with new earbuds dubbed “EarPods” to enhance the audio quality delivered to the user.

An impressive cut down on power consumption will definitely reduce the need to get plugged in and juice up the iPod. Statistics released put music playback time to a record 40 hours.

Pricing

It is speculated that the iPod will be selling at a retail price of $299 for the 32GB model and $100 more for an additional 32GB of storage to lay hands on the 64GB model.

Midweek Fun! Test Your Puzzle Mettle In ‘The Heist’ For iOS

What could possibly be better than buying a single high quality puzzle game for just $0.99? If you answered, “two high quality puzzle games for just $0.99,” you are in luck. However, there is a small catch.

The good folks over at MacHeist have partnered with iOS developer tap tap tap to bring us The Heist. At first glance it appears to be your average puzzle game (which, let’s be honest, are a dime a dozen in the App Store), but lurking just under the surface is something more. If you manage to slog your way through enough puzzles, you can unlock a code to download another game, available for free on PC and Mac.

Thankfully, The Heist itself is a decent enough puzzle game that unlocking enough puzzles to get the free game isn’t a chore. In the game you’ll be playing through variations of four standard puzzle types.

First up is your standard block slider puzzle. Here the goal is to move the wooden blocks in such a way that the contraption in the middle is able to exit through the little hatch on the right side of the screen.

Next up is an interesting take on Sudoku. Instead of numbers you’re given hieroglyph-like pictures to put on the playing board. Only one of each hieroglyph may be in a single row or column, and each hieroglyph must be grouped with others of the same color.

Third you’ll find my personal favorite of the bunch, a sokoban-style sliding block puzzle. The goal here is to move a series of blocks onto an equal number of ‘final’ squares. The catch is that you’re only able to move the blocks by pushing them from behind. Pulling from the front isn’t allowed.

Up last is another sliding block puzzle you’ll probably recognize from your youth. You’re presented with a square grid with one of the interior squares missing. By manipulating the interior squares you need to connect the circles on the edge using wires of the same color as the circles.

As you continue to beat puzzles, more puzzles of increasing difficulty get unlocked. The puzzles near the end can get fiendishly difficult, but thankfully you don’t have to beat them all to unlock the second game (which is a very good thing, because I’m absolutely awful at the last type of sliding block puzzle).

So what is the unlockable game? I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that it’s worth more than the $0.99 you’ll pay for The Heist, and it’s available on Steam (which means you’ll need a Steam account to redeem it).

The Heist can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store.

Keep Your Roster Up-To-Date with the Yahoo! Fantasy Football App

Here I am in class, when I realize that the Minnesota Vikings have a bye week this week. Normally this wouldn’t bother me much (I’m a Packers fan), but I happen to be lucky enough to have Adrian Pederson on my fantasy football team. So, all of a sudden the bye week is a huge deal.

But alas! I am 1 hour into a 3 hour class, and let’s face it – I have no chance of remembering to change my roster when I finish class.  I could jot down a reminder in SimpleNote, or I could pull up Yahoo! Fantasy ’10 for iPhone/iPod Touch (or Android) and swap him for Justin Forsette (he’s about to run all over St. Louis) right on the spot.

Yahoo Fantasy '10 search feature makes it easy to find available players

As I log in to make the covert roster swap, I see a big red “Roster Alert” button. I’ve never seen one of these before so I push the big red button. Turns out my kickers spot is empty (dropped Garret Heartly) so I make that switch as well.

Roster Alerts tell you if you have an empty starting slot

All of this was very convenient, but this wasn’t why I picked up the app. The main reason I got this app was for live score updates without having to sit in front of a computer all Sunday. I’ve tried to do this on a few separate weekends and so far have had no luck -the app seems to work fine until the games start and then becomes incredibly slow. It has gotten better week by week, and there has been an update since my last attempt so hopefully this gets resolved soon.


Live updated scores for each player, when it works...

This app is fairly simple and useful. Obviously it only does you any good if you have a fantasy football league on Yahoo. It allows you to view all the match-ups going on that week. The app also allows you to read any recent news happening with your players, although it would be nice if you could get alerts for injuries and other news.

If you are in a Yahoo Fantasy League and you have an iOS or Android device, give this a look. It’s good for quick (or last minute) roster changes and can help you keep tabs on how your team is doing on Sundays. If they work out the bugs, that is.

Review: Netflix for iPhone and iPod Touch

So I’m sitting at work, enjoying my 150th consecutive minute of Warren Miller films on Netflix when my iPod pauses the movie to tell me I have 20% battery life left.

One worry I had when I downloaded the free Netflix app for iPhone and iPod Touch was what the battery life was going to be like, so I charged up my iPod Touch and started playing movies until it wouldn’t let me play anymore. I was fairly surprised that I got through about two whole movies before it died on me (this was on WiFi). I’m not sure how much streaming the movies through 3G will affect battery life.

The Netflix app for iPhone/iPod Touch lets you browse and search for movies, unlike the Netflix app for Xbox 360 that only lets you browse certain movies and your Instant Queue. It also syncs the progress of the movies you’ve watched so far, so if you are in the middle of streaming a movie on your computer at home and have to take off you can start right where you left off with your iPhone.

The Netflix app has live search updates, although they take awhile to load

One nuisance is that while your iPod or iPhone won’t go into sleep mode when you’re watching a movie, it will automatically sleep if you pause it. This can get annoying because if I pause just to answer a quick phone call, my iPod has already gone to sleep by the time I return. Upon waking it up, I first have to wait for it to reconnect to wireless, and the app is prone to crashes while reloading. This causes me to have to relaunch the app and wait for the movie to load again.  After leaving for just 3 or so minutes, it can take me almost 5 minutes to start watching the movie again. This obviously isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever had happen to me, it does get annoying after a while.

Something that I noticed was missing from the app was a way to edit your DVD queue. I know the main focus of this app is to watch movies on your iPod/iPhone, but an option to add movies to and edit your DVD queue would be useful as well.

Performance-wise, the app runs a little slow and browsing through lists can get a little jittery and delayed, but is perfectly usable. The fact that I’m using a Gen 1 iPod Touch probably contributes to this slow behavior.

When I scroll up and down to browse through movies there is a slight lag

A little snag a few of you may run into is the maximum players allowed to run off a Netflix account. I have a mulit-disk plan so I can stream movies to six different players. I believe that if you have the basic single disk Netflix plan it will only allow you to activate one player. Using the Netflix app will count your iPhone/iPod as an activated player. So, if you have a single disk plan you might have to continually deactivate your iPhone/iPod as a player if you use streaming on a different device like a game console or computer.

Can anyone guess the movie?

All in all, I’m pleased with this app. Other than a few minor performance issues that could probably be attributed to my Gen 1 iPod Touch,the Netflix app has been a nice way to burn time when I’m on the go for 15 minutes here and there like between (or during) classes.

Create and Sync Notes on your Desktop, Phone, and the Web with Simplenote

Ever have an idea that you’re sure is going to make you rich, only to have forgotten it by the time you get home? Or how about the time you spent all week making a list of things you need the next time you go shopping, only to forget where you put it when the time finally came?  With Simplenote for iPhone (and other iOS devices like the iPod Touch), that’s all in the past.

Simplenote is a simple text editing service that allows you create, save, and view text notes.  The service can be accessed in a variety of different ways. The easiest way is to simply set up an account online and use the browser text editor. There is also a desktop application that you can download. This application saves your notes to your computer with the option to sync to your online account, which can be useful if you are in an area without WiFi.

The Simplenote app for iPhone and iPod Touch allows you to write and read notes on the go while syncing to your online account. (I’m actually writing this review with my iPod touch.)

Simplenote for iPhone and iPod Touch make it easy to add notes on the go.

A new feature to Simplenote is the addition of tags – these allow you to set one or more tags to each note. These tags can aid in searching for specific notes. Also, it’s now possible to look through older versions of notes you’ve created.

Tags can be useful when searching through lots of notes.

I have been looking to a program/app like Simplenote for quite some time. The whole interface is simple and fast, but it comes with a compromise: you won’t find auto formatting or spell check here. Simplenote probably wouldn’t be the best thing to write your next big novel on, but it works great for quickly jotting down information for use at a later time.

How To Take Screenshots On An iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad

Writing guides like we do here at Techerator often involves screenshots of software, settings, or anything else pertinent to the article at hand.  We’ve previously covered taking screenshots of your Android device, but what about your iOS device?  Fear not, for that’s what I’m about to show you.

Taking a screenshot of your iOS device is quite easy and doesn’t involve the use of any extra software.  Once you are on the screen you wish to capture, press and hold the top Power button while simultaneously pressing the front Home screen button.

Your screen will flash and will make a shutter sound indicating the screenshot was saved. Screenshots are saved into the Saved Pictures folder in Photos.

That’s it!  Let us know if you have any questions by commenting below.

App Review: Logitech Touch Mouse for iPhone and iPod Touch

Readers, I have a confession: I am lazy. If I sit down to watch TV and lose the remote, I really hope there’s something good on because there is no way I’m getting up to push the button on the TV to turn the channel (how archaic, do I LOOK like I’m elderly?).

I recently got a laptop with HDMI output and a streaming Netflix account. The problem? Every time I want to pause, rewind, or change videos, I have to go over to my laptop and do everything from there.  But, no more!

Enter Logitech Touch Mouse app for iPhone and iPod Touch. This app uses your wireless network to turn your iPhone/iPod Touch into a wireless trackpad, complete with right, left, and center clicks, multi-touch functions, and a keyboard. Using my iPod and this app I am free to sit wherever I want and control my laptop, whether I’m across the room or just out of arm’s reach.

Basic trackpad with left, right, and center click. Keyboard icon on the bottom left, and settings and disconnect icons on the bottom right

Setting up Logitech Touch Mouse is super easy. First, download the app from the App Store (it’s free!). Next, on whatever computer(s) you wish to use the app with, go to logitech.com/touchmouse and download the Touch Mouse Server. Read the brief set-up information and install Touch Mouse Server, an icon should appear in your system tray.

Now open the app on your iPhone/iPod Touch. All of the computers with Touch Mouse Server running will be displayed.  Click the one you wish to control and push Connect.

This screen shows all the computers with Touch Mouse Server running. Clicking your computer will connect you to it.

From here, everything is pretty self explanatory. The click buttons are labeled “left”, “right”, and “center”.   Note: You may have to go into the settings to turn on the center button. The small icon on the bottom left will pop up a keyboard for inputting text.

Pushing the keyboard icon on the bottom left brings up a full keyboard.

There are a few items in the setting menu worth checking out such as tracking speed and scrolling speed.

You can access various option by clicking the settings icon (gears) on the bottom right.

Conclusion

This app is incredible, especially if you have a Home Theater PC (HTPC)  hooked to your TV. I have yet to find any problems or bugs in Logitech Touch Mouse, and the app is surprisingly responsive. With strong signal you will experience almost zero lag.

If you want to see more about installing and using Logitech Touch Mouse, check out the video below.

Review: Dropbox For iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad

If you don’t already have a free Dropbox account, this is something you need to do. Essentially, Dropbox is online storage that syncs to a folder on whatever computer you have it installed on. The program places a Dropbox folder on your computer, and whatever files you put in it are automatically uploaded to the Dropbox website and downloaded/updated in the Dropbox folder of any other computers you have it installed on.

The Dropbox app for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad works along with your existing account. Just download the app (it’s free) and log into your account. You are first shown a getting started PDF which tells you everything you need to know.

Using the Dropbox App

With the Dropbox app, you are able to view and share files that are in your Dropbox, as well as upload new files. The app supports a surprising amount of file types that can be viewed for images, music, Microsoft documents, PDFs, and a few more obscure file types. For a complete list see the image below.

I was very impressed with how the Dropbox app handled viewing files. In particular, the image quality of PDFs was not downgraded, making even small text perfectly legible. Viewing image files is much the same with no loss of quality. I was surprised to find that I could actually stream an .mp3 directly to my iPod without having to download it. It’s also possible to play movies, but they have to be encoded with some pretty specific settings and filetypes to play through the app.

One way the Dropbox app is different from the normal Dropbox is that you have to pick what files you want to sync to you device with the “Favorite” option. This is done because of the relatively limited space available on and iPhone or iPod, since automatically syncing and downloading your entire Dropbox could fill your device with unwanted files and strain your data plan if you have an iPhone.

To favorite a file and download it for offline viewing, simply select the file from your Dropbox App. When you’re viewing your file, click the star icon at the bottom of the screen to add the file to your favorites.

Back at the Dropbox home screen, click the Favorites button on the bottom left which will bring up the files you selected. If there is a yellow (!) icon next to the file, it means the file has been updated and needs to be re-synced to get the current version. To the right of the file will be a green circle with a down pointing arrow. Clicking this will download/update the file on your device.

Here the file is favorited but not yet downloaded to the iPod.
The file is now updated and downloaded to the iPod

Easily transfer files from your device to Dropbox

As I was writing this article, I was trying to figure out the best way to get the screen captures from my iPod to my computer and, lo and behold, the answer was my Dropbox app. By clicking the + symbol at the top right of the main Dropbox screen, you can upload any files currently in your photo/video album into your Dropbox account. From there they will be placed into your online storage and any computers you’ve installed Dropbox on.

You can also share the link to any of your files by clicking the bottom left button while viewing a file.

Conclusion

All in all, this is a fairly useful app if you already use Dropbox (which, as I said before, you should).  If your iPhone/iPod Touch has limited memory capacity and you find yourself low on space, you can use this app to easily unload any pictures you might have taking up space while still being able to view them just as easily.

Make sure to check out the rest of our great articles about Dropbox!

7 Gifts For Your Special Geek This Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day happening this Sunday, hopefully you have thought ahead and purchased your special someone a gift already.  If you haven’t purchased your Valentine a gift yet, then continuing reading to get some ideas for what to get them this year.

E-Book Reader (Him and Her)

Chances are that your special someone likes to cozy up at night with a good book.  Instead of purchasing your them a paper copy of that best-seller, get them an e-book reader and the digital copy.  There are two main e-book readers to choose from, the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook.  Although both items have their fans and opponents, I’m sure that this gift would be well-received and able to be enjoyed by all.

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble Nook

iPod Touch (Him and Her)

If you’re looking for something that can be enjoyed by your special geek anywhere and everywhere, then an iPod Touch is the gift you want to purchase.  The iPod Touch’s large capacity and the ability to install applications from the App Store make it a great gift that can be customized to fit anyone’s needs.  Best of all, if you purchase your iPod Touch from Apple, you can have the gift custom engraved to add a personal touch.

iPod Touch from Amazon

iPod Touch (Customized) from Apple

Flip Camcorder (Her)

Digital cameras are great gifts, but why not take it a step further?  Flip Camcorders are small and portable digital camcorders that feature high quality video, long recording times, and come in a variety of colors and styles to fit anyone’s tastes.  At only 4″ x 2″ and just over 1/2″ thick, Flip Camcorders are able to record up to 120 minutes of video.  The Flip also features a large line of accessories to connect it to your TV or computer.  The Flip is compatible with both Windows and OS X operating systems.

Flip UltraHD Camcorder

Heated Coffee Mug (Him)

Coffee is only good until it cools off.  Keep your special someone’s coffee warm by getting him a heated coffee mug.  Some options available include 12 V heating, USB heating, and temperature gauges.

Heated Coffee Mugs at Amazon

Powermat (Him)

Chances are that your Valentine has multiple devices that need to be charged on a consistent basis.  With each device needing its own charger, the mess of cords can easily become too much to handle.  Help reduce the tangle of cords with a Powermat.  The Powermat features a universal charging system that is able to charge almost any device.  A selection of receivers is also available to add support for devices such as the iPod Touch, BlackBerry smartphones and the Nintendo DS.

Powermat

Digital Photo Frame (Her)

Although they have been around for a while now, digital photo frames are still a good gift for a close friend.  With the ability to add large quantities of pictures and the addition of your special song, digital photo frames are still a well-received gift.  To make the gift extra special, add some pictures before you wrap the gift to really surprise your Valentine.

Digital Photo Frames at Amazon

Fun Tee-Shirts (Him and Her)

A fun tee-shirt is a great personal gift for you Valentine this year.  Available in all shapes and sizes, you can find tee-shirts that feature a wide range of funny and just downright geeky subjects.  Some examples include this All Your Bases poem tee and this pair of proximity sensing shirts for him and her.

Tee-shirts from ThinkGeek

Tee-shirts from Donkey Tees

Have any great Valentine’s Day gift ideas we didn’t mention?  Share them with us in the comments!

Comparison: Motorola Droid vs. iPod Touch

A friend of mine recently asked if she should buy an iPod Touch or a Motorola Droid.  While these are two completely different products, one being a wifi-enabled MP3 player and the other being a full-featured smartphone, a choice definitely still exists.  So without any further adieu, here’s what I had to say about the two of them!

I bought my 16GB iPod Touch two summers ago and I used it like crazy.  Since I didn’t have a smartphone back then, I basically used it for everything.  The apps are fantastic, battery life is great, and let’s not forget that the Touch is still a really nice MP3 player.

On average, I used my Touch 90% of the time for apps and the internet, and the other 10% was for music/audiobooks.  The one real downside of the Touch is that a wifi-only device, so once you hit the road you won’t be able to use most of the internet apps.

I bought a Droid about two weeks ago.  It’s amazing.  It’s exactly the type of phone I’ve always wanted – highly customizable, very fast, and has huge potential for growth.

Since you’re trying to figure out which one to buy, here’s some things to keep in mind about the devices:

ipod-touch-large

– Both have apps.  Touch has way more, but Droid’s app store (called the Android Market) is steadily increasing.  The nice thing about Android phones is that the app market is completely open, which means there are no barriers to entry for a software developer (unlike Apple, who requires an arduous approval process).  If a developer wants to make something for Android, boom, it’s done.  Huge potential for growth here.

– Both support the basics.  They can both play music (although the Touch is probably more refined when it comes to a straight MP3 player).  They both have apps like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, email, web browsers… pretty much anything you can think of.

droid3-vert

– Battery life will be much longer on the iPod Touch, but keep in mind the Droid is also a full-featured cell phone which uses most of the juice.

Here’s where they’re pretty different:

– Touch has Google Maps, but no GPS (and you can really only use the maps when you have a wifi connection).  The Droid uses your cellular network and has a built-in GPS, so not only can it show you maps, it can also do turn-by-turn navigation (which is free!).  It’s a straight-up GPS, and I used it on my last trip to Minneapolis as a total replacement for my old GPS.

– Droid has a cellular network. This was implied before, but this means you’ve got an internet connection anywhere where you go.  Verizon’s network is really impressive, and you’ll browse websites on the Droid just like you would at home.

ipod-touch2

– Touch is much simpler and easier to use.  For a person like me this can be frustrating (I like menus! And settings!), but you can’t beat it for ease of use and using it for what it was intended – enjoyment.  The Droid, on the other hand, lets you customize basically every facet of the phone (and the things you can’t change can typically be modified with apps from the Android Market).  This is a blessing and a curse – even I found the Droid to be a little daunting when I first started using it.

– Droid has a camera (5 megapixels), the Touch has no camera.

– Both are touchscreen devices.  They both have “virtual keyboards”, which are keyboards on the touchscreen, but the Droid has an actual slide-out physical keyboard.  I’ve never had one of these before and I really like it.  A lot of people complain about the keyboard though, so your mileage may vary.  The Droid offers both landscape and portrait virtual keyboards in almost all applications, but the Touch only offers landscape virtual keyboards in applications that support it.

droid2-open

– As for size, they’re about the same dimensions but the Droid is much thicker (again, the cell phone is the reason for this).  The Droid is heavier than the Touch.

– Droid supports a bunch of Google services out-of-the-box (Android was designed by Google).  This means that Gmail, Google Calendar, your Google contacts, and several other services are automatically synchronized to the phone and are deeply integrated.  This makes it really easy to manage your data.  Touch can do these things too, but it’s more “added on” and not as smooth in my opinion.

– Total cost of ownership: the iPod Touch costs around $300 and that’s all you’ll every pay to use it (excluding purchases from the app store). The Droid costs $200 with a new 2-year contract, and you’ll need a voice plan (starting at $39.99/month) as well as a data plan ($30/month). That puts the total cost of ownership for the Droid at about $1,040 for the first year (includes price of the phone) and $840 for successive years (network charges). Plus tax.

Overall, I’ve loved both of these devices.  I still use my Touch (mainly because Audible.com DRM-encrypts their audiobooks and they don’t support Android yet – that’s another rant altogether) but for all intents and purposes, the Droid gets all of my attention.

I love being connected everywhere I go, and the Droid does a fantastic job of integrating all my Google services, Facebook, Twitter… everything.  It’s a fantastic device.