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iPod Class Warfare
iPod Touch users have been treated like the deformed step child in the Apple mobile family. Though it acts almost like an iPhone without phone calls or the 3G network, it still does not get the priority that it should. This may be a cleverly titled tactic by Apple and AT&T to convert all users to iPhone status, but for those who have an iPod Touch there seems to be an unfair plundering that seems to happen through iTunes.
When the iPhone 3.0 update was released it came free to iPhone users, but those with an iPod Touch had to pay ten dollars. They could have held the iPhone 3.0 update at bay as long as possible, but after a while they would not be able to install the latest applications and games. In this way Apple forces these expenses on iPod Touch users and they have no recourse.
Now we have a vanity update cleverly titled iPhone 3.1, and it costs iPod Touch users $4.95. Now the existential debate will begin: though the iPhone 3.1 update itself is a shameless ploy to get iPod Touch users to spend money and doubt their device, it is still a must have if you intend on keeping up with the firmware current.
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Useless Features of the iPhone 3.1
The iPhone 3.1 update itself is not without its perks and improvements for iPod Touch users, though many of them are less beneficial than you would expect. One of these features is the Genius recommendations, which is reality is just a marketing trick from the iTunes' App Store to try to coax you to buy more products.
When using Genius you will be surprised how so many of the great applications that you would love for your iPod Touch seem to cost money. This ends up being like TiVo suggestions for spending money on worthless software. The same is true of Genius Mixes that try and force you to drop more money in iTunes on music. As if iTunes has not monopolized the market enough.
Another one of their ploys to inspire you into dropping more coin is the ability to download almost everything remotely from the App Store onto your iPod Touch. In months past you had to connect to your computer to do many large downloads, but now you can do it from the front seat of your car. This is a shameless attempt to get iPod Touch users to buy more, but it is still useful.
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There are a number of other features in the iPhone 3.1 update that are just annoyances in disguise. The Shake to Shuffle feature will change songs on you the second you move your iPod Touch. This should be the first thing you will have to turn off once the iPhone 3.1 download is installed.
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Buy It With a Frown
The rest of the things are standard, and the Peer to Peer gaming feature is very nice. The stereo Bluetooth will also make you happy in the long run. In the end, you have to have the update at some point, so go get it. You just don't have to be happy about it. Five out of ten stars.