iPhone OS 3.0: Hands on with the original iPod touch [u]

June 18, 2009

Is Apple’s über update worth $10 for a user of an original touch? That of course depends on what you use the device for and what you’re hoping to gain.

Yesterday’s OS 3.0 upgrade wasn’t cheap—ten bucks is a bunch of lunch for a work at home dad—and took a surprisingly long time to get done. Yes, it weighed 230MB and, yes, there’s no doubt that Apple’s servers were busier than busy, but was it worth it?

For me, the answer is yes and here’s why, plus a few of things I’ve found disappointing:

1.) Portrait view typing is a huge advance as it allows me to hunt and peck, which can be surprisingly fast, with my largish hands.
— This is particularly important in Mail, which was meant for portrait view, and Notes, which I use for shopping lists and, well, taking notes

2.) Cut-copy-paste functionality is really smooth and makes it possible to get a lot more out of my first generation touch, which is my constant companion and personal digital assistant (PDA)
— Is this feature enough to make mobile blogging worthwhile? Perhaps in a pinch, but layout and image editing are always going to be issues.

3.) My 1G touch generally is more responsive, especially Safari and Mail. However, some of the promised speed ups didn’t happen, like Sim City, which iPhone VP Forstall said would open 2.5X faster-not seeing it.

4.) iTunes “shake to shuffle” really rocks as it makes crappy songs go away—just. like. that.

5.) Some other niceties include YouTube account and auto Wi-Fi login, as well as the improved Calendar and Stocks App

See also: Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 How to pages

One particularly disappointing aspect of iPhone OS 3.0 is I’m not seeing universal search functionality, which should be there when my touch is connected to a Wi-Fi network or tethered. Sadly, although it’s good to have access to search in the various apps, it’s neither reasonable nor fair that my 1G touch can’t search everywhere (ie Mac, PC, MobileMe), which is an advertised feature on iPhone OS 3.0.

Also, iCab Mobile 1.5 ($1.99) is still faster than Safari even after the update, but there’s still not way to choose it as my default browser. It’s all well and fine that Mobile Safari lags, though it shouldn’t make much if any difference to the OS or Apple which WebKit-based I want to use—come on, guys, add a preference for this.

[u] TUAW reports that Find My iPod touch works just fine on first and second generation models, with the main caveat being that the 1G touch doesn’t have a speaker so there’s no way to “ping” the device and reveal its locations (unless it’s plugged into speakers). Also, Google Maps Street View works on first and second generation touches, as well. [u]


If your family’s iPod touch is just for the kids or only used as a mobile media player, you might want to keep that tenner in your pocket and save it to buy a new touch, or even lunch at Olive Garden. However, if you use your touch as a PDA and take it everywhere, the $10 iPhone OS 3.0 is worthwhile investment.

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9 Responses to “iPhone OS 3.0: Hands on with the original iPod touch [u]”

  1. David Parry:

    The search function is on the 1g ipod touch it is there when you scroll left on the first page of your apps.

  2. Johnny B Gud:

    Am i missing something here. i updated my first generation i touch yesterday, went fine BUT now when i double tap the home button to change the volume of the i pod it comes up saying dock connector… AND when im playing songs i have no way to adjust the volume at all… the volume control seem to be gone all together.
    Done a restore on the i pod and its still no there… Whats the story with that, is my ipod bricked????

  3. Gil Bates:

    They never said SimCity would open 2.5x faster due to the OS upgrade. They were talking about the extra processing power in the iPhone 3G S.

  4. Constable Odo:

    The 2.5X speed enhancement is when using a top-of-the-line 32 GB iPhone 3G S with it’s 600 MHZ processor and the new graphics chip. You’d be lucky just to get a small speed improvement on your old school Touch. You should realize that no software optimization alone is going to increase the speed by that much.

  5. CT:

    Confirming David Parry’s method of getting to iTouch-wide Spotlight search. It’s also accessible if you double-press the Home button from the home screen (assuming your setting are default).

    Personally, the long-awaited cut-and-paste ability alone made it worth it to upgrade my 1st-gen. Search will probably change the way I use the iTouch as well.

  6. Ron Carlson:

    I stand corrected—Phil Schiller does say the iPhone 3G S will load Sim City 2.4X faster at 1:43:13 into the keynote. Thanks, guys.

  7. whitesprite:

    @Johnny B Gud:
    I had the same problem, heres how i solved it:
    if you have an iPod universal dock, connect your touch to it. play a song and press home. using the dock’s remote, change the volume. Now the onscreen volume controller should be back. I have no idea why this happens and if you don’t have a dock, i don’t know how to fix it.

  8. Katie:

    I have a 1st generation iPod touch and the volume control is there, but only when I have headphones plugged in.

  9. Mayank:

    Yes, for me too on my iPod 1G, i get volume control only when i have headphones plugged in. Otherwise it just has ‘Dock Connector’ written at its place.

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