The iPod touch and iPhone 3.0 software updates are out. But if you've about to lay out £5.99 (or $9.95 in the US) what does the new software update actually bring you and is it worth the update? We downloaded the new update to find out.Buy Movies, TV Shows, and Audiobooks via Wi-Fi
So you now get the ability to download movies on your iPod touch to watch on the go as long as you've got a Wi-Fi connection to download them with. This, as you can imagine, is of course ideal if you are sitting on the sofa and are too lazy to turn on your computer at home or are around a friend's house. Before you start downloading the latest and greatest Hollywood has to offer, you should bear in mind that you are about to download a rather large file to your iPod. No problem as it's Wi-Fi, but not great if you are about to jump on a plane at the airport and you're running for the gate.
Peer to Peer Gaming
Great you can ditch those white Apple headphones and go completely wire free, which, let's face it, is perfect for running. While iPod touch 2nd generation users can, iPod touch 1st gen users can't. That's right, although Bluetooth was around when the first touch launched, Apple didn't include the technology, so if you're a first gen iPod touch user don't go out and buy that set of Bluetooth headphones just yet.
The 3.0 software update brings with it peer to peer game play in what some see as a direct attempt to take on the Nintendo DS. Although none are available at the time of writing, the newest games will allow you to play head-to-head with a friend whether its via Wi-Fi (ie on the otherside of the world) or next to each other. The downsides? Well there aren't any games out that let you do it just yet, and yep you guessed it, 1st gen iPod touch users miss out on this feature too.
Flip your iPod touch on its side and you'll now get a landscape keyboard. The result, as you might expect, is more room to type and for those who like to type with their thumbs, an easier way to do it instead of jabbing away with a finger. The landscape keyboard isn't the only new landscape feature to be added though. You'll now be able to view stocks (oh the excitement) in landscape mode as well.
A swipe to the left on the iPod touch homescreen gives you access to Spotlight search, which works in a similar way as the Palm Pre's search feature, allowing you to search the entire device. Typing something in doesn't just give you access to your music, but everything on your MP3 player. Type in "Chris", for example, and you'll get all your songs, apps, and emails with Chris in it appearing in a long list. Spotlight will even work to pick up words within words so "Chris" will also bring up your "Christmas" tracks as well.
Probably the number one requested feature for iPhone and iPod touch users, Apple has finally added Cut, Copy & Paste to the OS. Pressing down on a word allows you to then copy and paste it to another application (you can do sentences too). It's handy for punching in addresses in maps or just generally grabbing content from a web page or email, however it's clear to see why Apple held back for so long. It's fiddly.
Not much has been added or changed to the web browser in the new update, although it does now support Autofill, something that might be used by iPod touch users, but more one for the iPhone users out there. In our use of the iPod in the past we use it more for checking favourite sites from around the home [like the toliet - Ed] rather than filling in forms.
Shake to Shuffle
So applications can now push notifications to you, and this is likely to be very handy in the future. Judging by demos, Apple have already given that it's probably going to be annoying as hell though. Why they couldn't drop them down into the bottom of the screen instead of dominating the middle is unsure.
Jumping on the Sony Ericsson ShakeMe bandwagon, the iPod touch now uses the accelerometer to allow you to shake your iPod touch to change song. Like Sony Ericsson, we can't really begin to grasp why you would want or need this. Still it works on both versions of the iPod touch so you can decide for yourself if it's a feature for you.
You now get the ability to search the mail on your iPod touch and on the server if you are using IMAP. The upside is that you can search To, From, Subject, and All, however you can't search the body copy of an email or attachments, making it all the more important for people who send you emails to use the subject line in emails that actually mean something. Searching the server, given that you've actually got mail left on, over Wi-Fi is fast and easy. We were able to search some 10,000 emails within seconds. As you don't have the 3G connection there isn't any lag.
As this is the iPod touch 3.0 update, there are a number of things you don't get. Camera support for example or video (that's just for the 3G S remember). You also don't get MMS capabilities, or the Find my iPhone app that lets you track down your lost iPod touch.
So is it worth the £5.99? There is certainly enough here to warrant an update. The landscape keyboard is certainly easier to use with thumbs, the search function in mail is a lot better and cut and paste should make things easier to use. There is however a lot here that has been sculptured towards the iPhone and then shoehorned into the iPod touch.
Whether you are a 1st or 2nd iPod touch user for £5.99 it's not going to break the bank is it.