I wonder how many persons, like me, didn't want to go all the way in on an iPhone because they either didn't care for AT&T's stranglehold on the market (until Verizon joined the fray this year), didn't want to spend lots of money on short-term obsolescence, or - in my case - didn't need THAT MUCH phone? How many of them, I wonder, might have purchased an iPod Touch as an "80-percent solution?" I was sitting at a pizza joint a couple of weeks ago and listened to two older couples talk; one of the gentlemen was talking about his new iPod Touch and all the cool things he could do with his new little gadget.
I couldn't help but smile as he raved about the features. When I first started playing with the iPod Touch (I own a 32GB model) I smiled at the thought of the neat things I could do without having the nasty AT&T data plan...and the nasty AT&T bills which came along with it. I could check most all of my e-mail accounts, keep in contact with the rest of the world on social media sites and use my Skype account to talk, as long as I had the fancy-schmancy iPod earbuds with the microphone/switch, and was in an area with WiFi.
There lies the rub. One of many. Once I learned the few scattered places where I could get WiFi reception in my town, (your town might be different; and hopefully better than mine!) I resigned myself to the comforting thought I had - at the least - a good emergency phone...if I were stranded at the mall or downtown. And if not that I had at least one hell of a big music player.
Even when you have WiFi available, using it can suck the life out of an iPod Touch's battery faster than my wife can kill a pint of Abita Andygator. You will have problems. Big ones. Even an after-market ($75) Mophie juice pack - which can provide up-to-75 percent additional power to a fully charged iPod - isn't going to help if you want to use any run-related applications for the iPod Touch, like iMapMyRun: GPS plus WiFi equals not listening to any tunes while you're running.
And, for most people, isn't that why we carry iPods on a run?
It got to the point where I could see the battery gauge slowly sliding "to the left" while I did training runs or cross-training at the gym. What good was this piece of equipment if all I could do was play "Eye of the Tiger" for 60 minutes or so before it threatened to die on me?
Thank heavens for geeks.
One of the things I never really took a look at were some of the more arcane (and hidden) settings in my iPod. I coulld figure out a few, but I truly was at a loss for what some of the things did...or did not accomplish. Finally, I got so fed up I decided to do a Google search on "extending iPod Touch battery life." Darned if there wasn't several YouTube video clips from geeks for the lumpenproletariat, yes, teaching the great un-washed (at least immediately after a run!) masses what levers to pull and buttons to push so we can keep from having to continually charge or recharge our devices.
Two words will save you, iPod Touch users: Airplane Mode.
The iPhone and the iPod Touch have a setting which (I guess) was designed for the benefit of airline travelers who ostensibly wouldn't need to make phone calls or surf the internet while on board commercial aircraft, but still wanted to be able to play with other applications, or at least iTunes. The Airplane Mode shuts off the GPS functionality and the WiFi antenna on the device; I guess the device still has some sort of stand-by mode for WiFi even when it's off which uses battery power. Turn on Airplane Mode, and voila! The drain on the battery is minimized.
It also doesn't hurt to not use the iPod's graphic equalizer; why we really need something which ideally was taken care of by highly-paid audio engineers in the recording studio is beyond me.
I've noticed that I can now plug my iPod Touch into the after-market adapter cord for my Scion xB and not have to worry about shutting completely down during the course of a day. Even if I use the device for an evening workout at the gym I might only have to recharge once every two or three days. This should make life a lot more simple for me when I'm on the road to our next race; I'll be less worried about having to arm-wrestle my wife in order to recharge the iPod when we hit Mississippi.
Every once in a while we runner-types need to tip our cap in the general direction of the geeks. I'd hate to think what road running would have been like without them...probably less than super, man.