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You’ve got the whole world in the palm of your iHand

Melani Litwack

April, 2010

You see them everywhere – bopping down the street with headphones the size of earmuffs or on the bus with the volume up so high you can hear every drumbeat and cymbal crash.

IPods and iPhones all over the place. What’s the big deal? They’re little more than toys, right?

Until a couple of years ago, I never dreamed I’d own any Apple product, let alone an iPod.

That all changed when a friend and I were having a friendly debate and she whipped out her iPod to prove me wrong. Within seconds, she was online and surfing Wikipedia, and I was eating crow.

I’d seen what an iPod could do; I was hooked and soon had my own little bundle of fun.

What sets the iPod Touch and iPhone apart is the sheer amount of stuff you can make them do. Applications run the gamut from the ridiculous to the sublime: Need to find a restaurant? As long as you have an Internet connection for your iTouch or a signal for your iPhone, there’s an app for that.

Want to play solitaire? There’s an app for that, too. Need a buzzer? A cowbell? A fart? A flashlight? A map?

You can find an app for nearly anything.

Photo: André Karwath

Apps have become so popular, online Apple store iTunes has started to retire some of the sillier ones in a quality vs. quantity drive.

Be warned: Canada has laws requiring the use of a credit card to purchase software. This means that you can only use iTunes gift cards for music and videos – not apps.

On my eight-gigabyte, hand-sized iTouch, I have about 230 books, 465 photographs, three hours of video (including home movies and the men’s free skate from the 2010 winter Olympics).

I have three kinds of solitaire, mah-jong, a first aid guide, guides for identifying animal tracks, trees, birds and insects.

I’m a Cub Scout leader and frequently use my iPod to do badgework at camp – I even have charts for a night of star-gazing.

Oh, and I have about 21 hours of music.

There are a few differences between the iTouch and iPhone: The iPhone is a cellphone that comes with a hefty monthly bill. About $70 a month covers airtime and data transfers.

The iTouch can access the Internet wherever it finds a WiFi connection, such as your home network or the free connection at libraries and many cafés.

The iPhone can take pictures; the iTouch cannot.

Apple is picky about music and video files – you can only use AAC and MP4 files. Once you get the hang of the iTunes interface, converting your music is easy – right-click to bring up a menu.

Converting videos is trickier and requires another program. A quick visit to the download section of should fix you right up.



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