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Review: iPod touch with 1.1.1 update

When the iPod touch was released, some models had a problem with video playback; and even the touch models that did not show such a problem could not reach the same level of brightness and contrast as the iPhone. Apple has released the update 1.1.1 for the iPod touch with which the first problem is solved, but unfortunately the second is not solved.

We had three iPod touches at the Macworld USA offices on the day the update was released. One of them showed the video problem in negative. Another did not have the problem of negative video but did have a lack of detail in the darkest scenes. The third showed somewhat better performance with dark scenes but could not reproduce the same level of detail as the iPhone. After applying the update, two of the three iPods showed better video performance. The iPod touch with the worst video problems still had a slightly darker picture than the “best” iPod touch, but the artifacts were completely gone. The average iPod touch was as good as the best of them, with the best showing no change at all.

With the update we had the opportunity to retest the battery to see if the audio playback times were improved. The results were mixed, but not impressive in any case. In our tests of hitting the play button and letting it play until the battery was depleted, a Wi-Fi-enabled touch was continuously playing audio for 16 hours and 55 minutes, a slight increase compared to 16 hours. : 44 obtained in our previous tests with the original software. Disabling Wi-Fi increased battery life to 25 hours and 56 minutes, compared to 26:15 in the first test. The results obtained with video playback hardly changed. Video playback with Wi-Fi enabled was 5:09 compared to 5:03 the first time we tested the touch; and with Wi-Fi turned off, the touch played the video for 5:27 compared to 5:37 in the first test. So even with the new software, iPod touch is not capable of playing audio for 22 hours specified by Apple (with the default setting for Wi-Fi on).


In the original product review it suggested that the video quality of the iPod touch was important enough to slow down the purchase of the product. Update 1.1.1 allows that quality to be improved enough to increase our rating by half a point. But the touch features still seem somewhat arbitrary, as the touch still doesn’t support older video accessories, and no software update can add physical volume controls that make it easy to operate iPod touch from the comfort of your pocket. In short, the iPod touch is a little better, but still far from perfect.