iPod touch: No Maps? No Problem

If you live in a city or college campus you’re no stranger to wi-fi. It’s everywhere. You can find a free hotspot at many restaurants and many campuses offer students access virtually anywhere.

So if there’s virtually always an Internet access point available, why would you buy an iPhone and subscribe to AT&T’s pricey, anywhere-web-access EDGE service? An iPod touch with wi-fi can be a worthwhile, affordable alternative.

But for whatever reason iPod touch is missing a few key features of iPhone. Aside from the absence of the 2 megapixel camera and the baffling choice not to include Notes, there’s a solution for the rest.

It’s Safari to the rescue. So bookmark these web sites on your iPod touch, and your iPod can be just like the big boys’.

Text. Naturally iPod touch is not going to include a SMS text messaging application. But you can send free text messages to any cell phone with Text2day. Also if you’re looking to chat on AIM, an app sorely missing from even iPhone, check out iPhoneChat.

Stocks. Yahoo! Finance is a pretty good alternative. It’s not as pretty or simple, but you can create your own portfolio and keep an eye on it.

Maps. If you visit Google Maps on iPhone, it redirects you to the standalone Google Maps app, but I don’t imagine such a thing would happen on iPod touch. So it’s not as nifty as the custom-tailored iPhone app, but it still does the job.

Weather. One of the simpler, less bloated (I’m looking at you, Weather.com) weather web forecasts is MSN Weather. But Yahoo! Weather, which is the basis for the iPhone weather app, is by far the nicest.

Notes. After including (the little-used) note functionality on every iPod ever made that Apple Inc. is going to be satisfied with no notes application on iPod touch. It just doesn’t make sense. My guess is that Apple is waiting for Leopard Mail, which would sync notes to iPhone and iPod. There are a few web applications that do notes, but what’s the use of using the device to take notes if you can only do so when you have wi-fi?

While not the perfect solution, I like this duct tape tip from Jonathan Seff at Macworld for syncing notes with your Mac: “Create a fake contact [in Contacts] and paste any info you’d like to keep with you in the notes field for that contact in Address Book. One sync later, and all that info will be at your fingertips.”

Mail. The decision not to include the super powered Mail app with iPod touch is definitely a disappointment. You can still use in Safari whatever web-based e-mail system you have now, but the convenience of being able to check and compose e-mails on the bus isn’t a possibility — at least until we get this thing hacked.

Disclaimer: I haven’t been able to test these sites on an actual iPod touch, but I have tried them out in iPhoney, a Mac application that emulates the iPhone Safari web browser. (For a web-based version, try iPhone Tester.)

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5 comments so far

  1. testiphone on

    don’t forget http://www.testiphone.com

  2. Al on

    When I noticed that the iPod touch didn’t have the maps application I decided to implement one. I have a rather large satellite views site at http://www.satelliteviews.net and used some of the code from that site on the new site. http://www.iTouchMap.com .

    Apple does not export the pinch-in or pinch-out event so to navigate around the map you simply touch the point that you want the map to center at.

    -Al

  3. mo zaman on

    amazed that ipod touch does not have simple memo app which can synch to a computer like my trusy palm. like the tip re: putting into contacts though

  4. koldfyre on

    Ah, that’s really cool – one less reason to buy iPhone if the maps thing works out real well.

    Ed
    iPhone-A-Day

  5. nuclearcareersonline on

    Does it have a microphone to make skype calls? Or is that a biot close for comfort with the IPhone :o)


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