For a couple years, I had a 30GB video iPod. Black. I bought it primarily to use while traveling, but I also hoped to use it to listen to podcasts as I went to sleep. Long story short, I rarely used it at home or around the house once the initial shine was off. I found sleeping with headphones to be cumbersome, and I never got around to buying an alarm-clock dock thing. How did I listen to podcasts in bed? The same way I have been for years — right off my laptop.

I still used the iPod while traveling, but between not working out for sleeping and some of the features not being quite as polished as I would like, I must admit that I didn’t really love my iPod after the first few months. It was nice, but it didn’t change my life.

On Monday, I bought an iPod touch. I’ll be at two conventions over the next month — MechaCon later this week, and Gen Con in August, and I had been considering getting an iPhone, but nobody had a 32GB iPhone in stock. So I grabbed a 32GB iPod touch. So far, I am really impressed.

Here’s the things that sold me:

  • External Speaker: No need to buy any sort of dock to use it as an audio player in bed, plus no need to use headphones while using it at my desk.
  • Apps: I’m around a wifi network all day, so I’m experimenting with moving some apps over to the iPod touch, like TweetDeck. I want to stay connected to these things … without staying connected to my laptop.
  • Touchscreen: I use a computer so much that I get uncomfortable when I don’t have some sort of interface to work with. Anyone who hangs out with me knows that I can’t stop futzing with, well, anything I can get my hands on — random pieces of paper, any electronics, the coffee cup I’m holding, whatever. The iPod touch plays into this perfectly.
  • Internal Microphone: Hah! Busted! I thought that the touch had an internal microphone, but it totally doesn’t. I need to buy a mic for it so I can use Skype.

Here’s a really pleasant surprises:

  • Better syncing: On my previous iPod, if I listened to a track on it, iTunes never realized that I had. On the iPod touch, that information is synced back — making smart playlists based on play status that much better. I’ve been burning through old unplayed podcasts today, catching up.
  • NetNewsWire: I love NNW on OS X, and I’m totally pleased with the iPod touch version, too. One tiny niggle — I wish I could re-order my categories of feeds manually instead of alphabetically. I renamed the category on my Mac, but that change has yet to sync properly to the iPod touch. Minor niggle for now.

And here’s what I really really really want:

  • iChat with voice: I spend a lot of time using iChat to talk to friends and coworkers, and I’d love to be able to carry them around the house with me without hefting my laptop.
  • iTunes to get a good facelift: I like iTunes. I like having a single library of music; the overall model of the app works well for me. But over the years, iTunes has grown and expanded in ways that have made it ungainly. Why is the only way to manually check for podcasts that little “Refresh” button hidden in the bottom right of the Podcasts menu? Why can’t I right click on the Podcast icon in the sidebar and chooose “Refresh” from a contextual menu? I have a ton of little niggles about iTunes, but none of them are gamebreakers.
  • Wireless syncing for everything: It just makes sense.
  • Being able to continue using the device while syncing: This is annoying. Yeah, I’m syncing a lot because I’m still trying out new apps and tinkering in general, but it’s really annoying.