The second generation iPod Touch comes with the same 3.5" 320x480 256k color touchscreen the iPhone has made us get used to. It features a built-in speaker, WiFi, proximity and ambient light sensors, 3-axis accelerometer, volume buttons on, voice control, an ARM11 620 MHz (under-clocked to 533 MHz), with internal ARM7 core for Jazelle acceleration, 128 MB DRAM, 2.1 EDR Bluetooth, USB connector with proprietary Apple connector on the other side, all weighing 115 grams.
We have already reviewed the 1st generation iPod Touch, so this article will mostly focus on the differences between the two. Here we go:
1st generation battery life: Audio - 22 hours, Video - 5 hours
2nd generation battery life: Audio - 36 hours, Video - 6 hours
1st generation: -
2nd generation: Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
1st generation: 120 gr
2nd generation: 115 gr. Also much thinner.
1st generation: ARM11 620 MHz (under-clocked to 400 MHz, then 412 MHz)
2nd generation: ARM11 620 MHz (under-clocked to 533 MHz), with internal ARM7 core for Jazelle acceleration. It's actually visibly faster than the 1st generations of Touch and iPhone.
1st generation: -
2nd generation: Volume buttons on the side. Kind of hard to hit them correctly, as they are very thin.
1st generation: Buzzer
2nd generation: Buzzer and speaker
1st generation: -
2nd generation: Ability to work with the iPhone headset, so it can be used with Skype and other VoIP apps.
The device came with a 2.x firmware, that we later upgraded to 3.x via iTunes. This is the same software running on all iPhone/iPod devices, so it's already been discussed in the past by various reviews (and Thom is preparing a new one too, since he just got an iPhone 3Gs).
I will re-iterate though my gripes about the software limitations:
"1. Background apps. From Twitter, to IM and VoIP apps (that are simply impractical to use with just PUSH), to special projects like this one, background apps are a must have. If anything, create an Android-like security system and services' server that keeps control of misbehaving services.
2. Official iChat/GTalk/Jabber with full A/V support. And an API that allows third party IM/VoIP apps to use the cameras in such a realtime way.
3. Adobe Flash v10.x. Today's internet experience requires it, no matter what Steve says.
4. Let the device operate as a USB-based device so we can drop files in there. Then, make some sort of file access/management accessible to third party apps. For example, what if I want to just copy a few random-format VGA videos on my iPhone, and there's an app like VLC that can read these files while the iPhone video viewer can't? I don't want to transcode to h.264/AAC, I just want to play them as is via an app that can understand these formats. And that's just a multimedia example. The same kind of example can exist for office or other documents too. And recently, I became aware that the first real video editor for the iPhone, ReelDirector, has no way to add music to the videos because Apple doesn't offer access to the iPod music, or to a storage facility as suggested above.
5. AVRCP/PAN/LAP/Obex Bluetooth support. I need to be able to send a picture, or other kind of whatever-format file (see #4) to someone else's phone (not DRM'ed files of course). Even dumbphones have support for these Bluetooth profiles."
Since I already have a 16 GB iPod Touch for my music needs, I am using this 8 GB iPod Touch as a remote control for our brand new AppleTV. It works amazingly well with it. The AppleTV holds all of our 65 GB of music, hooked up on our Yamaha AX592 amplifier and 400 Watt Cerwin-Vega E-715 speakers. We only use the remote control it came with to turn it on/off, and everything else is controlled via that iPod Touch. We don't even have to have the TV ON at any point, the AppleTV runs as a headless audio server! There are of course many other ways to playback digital music, but the iPod Touch's Remote application made all the difference for us.
The fact that the specific iPod Touch can do so much more than that for our use case, it's an added plus.