Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology - BENE­DICT KELLY benk@fin­week.co.za

NOT HAV­ING BEEN ABLE TO yet lay my hands on an iPhone, I thought I’d give read­ers a preview by up­grad­ing my iPod touch to ver­sion 2 of the soft­ware. Now the iPod touch was it­self a phe­nom­e­nal me­dia player but I al­ways felt it was miss­ing some­thing. It had an amaz­ing screen ca­pa­ble of dis­play­ing four lines of applications but it only took up two of those, leav­ing a gap at the bot­tom of the screen – and in my life.

Ver­sion 2 of the soft­ware changed all that, as it gave ac­cess to the ap­pli­ca­tion store. Sud­denly, and for very lit­tle money – I paid US$10 for the up­grade – I had ac­cess to a world of rea­son­ably priced and free applications.

So in­stead of won­der­ing what mu­sic I should be lis­ten­ing to, I now get to make a shop­ping list, play games and read books. Ac­tu­ally, the list of applications on the store is lim­ited only by the imagination – and some­times in­san­ity – of the de­vel­op­ers. There was even some­one sell­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion called “I’m Rich” that had no real func­tion but still cost $999. Luck­ily, Ap­ple has since re­moved that from the store.

Strangely, one of the most use­ful applications comes straight from Ap­ple: a re­mote con­trol for your iTunes li­brary. The re­mote ap­pli­ca­tion lets you browse your com­puter’s mu­sic and video li­brary and con­trol the iTunes ap­pli­ca­tion on your com­puter from the iPod touch us­ing the WiFi con­nec­tion.

If you use your com­puter as a me­dia player for your TV, it cre­ates one of the best re­mote con­trols I’ve ever used. There are also a ton of games that use the ac­celerom­e­ter in the iPod to de­ter­mine if you’re tilt­ing the de­vice or shak­ing it. Its sen­si­tiv­ity is amaz­ing.

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