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How the iPod Touch Works 208

Posted by Zonk
from the need-to-roll-out-wifi-syncing-in-an-update dept.
starexplorer2001 writes "The iPod Touch isn't in stores yet, but HowStuffWorks has a nice summary of how the 'touch' part of the iPod Touch works. Very similar to how the iPhone works, without those pesky rebates! From the article: 'The iPod touch also has a few other features that iPod enthusiasts had hoped to see on standard iPod models. Some users hoped for a wirelessly enabled iPod so they could synch their music or share files with friends over a Bluetooth or WiFi connection. The iPod touch is the first iPod to have wireless capability, although it doesn't use it to synch with a computer or friends' iPods. Instead, you can use it to browse the Web, watch YouTube videos or download music from a WiFi-specific iTunes Music Store. With its widescreen display and WiFi capability, the iPod touch might sound like a big step up from older iPod models. But the iPod touch isn't for everyone.'"
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How the iPod Touch Works

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  • by nacturation (646836) <<nacturation> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:04AM (#20603319) Journal
    They finally listened to his comments [slashdot.org]! Now with wireless and *more* space than a Nomad.
     
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:14AM (#20603441)
      The comments on that thread make for interesting reading today - I particularly like this one (modded +4 insightful)

      Raise your hand if you have iTunes ...

      Raise your hand if you have a FireWire port ...

      Raise your hand if you have both ...

      Raise your hand if you have $400 to spend on a cute Apple device ...

      There is Apple's market. Pretty slim, eh? I don't see many sales in the future of iPod.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You do realize that comment was true at the time, right? Two things have changed since then:

        iTunes now runs under windows.

        iPods now only work with USB. (I once made the mistake of using a Firewire iPod cable with a 5G iPod. The iPod itself will display an error message. It simply doesn't support Firewire any more.)

        It was only AFTER Apple supported Windows and the iPod gained USB support that the iPod took off. Before then it was only a curiosity enjoyed by Apple fanbois.
        • by Mattintosh (758112) on Friday September 14, 2007 @12:04PM (#20604247)
          It simply doesn't support Firewire any more.

          The first time I heard this, I was shocked and dismayed. Every time I've heard it since, I've been angry.

          Via USB, my iPod takes 15 to 20 minutes to transfer my 18 GB of music.

          Via Firewire, the same operation takes 8 minutes.

          Why am I forced to put up with inferior mechanisms when I replace it? New iPods suck ass because of stupid people that don't know that Firewire is better. This isn't just simple anger, this is pure hate. I hate idiots and the stupidity they cause.

          4G iPod forever! (Or at least until Apple puts Firewire support back in.)
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by johnny cashed (590023)
            2G iPod forever. It even has a "real" (full size) firewire port.
            • by TrippTDF (513419)
              I'm with you on this one- I picked up a 2G from a friend for $50 when he got a 3G. I've had it for over two years now, and it's still going strong. The battery life is still really strong- I use it for about 90 minutes a day and only have to charge it once or twice a week. As far as I know, anything that's 3G+ is dead after 18 months these days.

              Every time a new G comes out I think "Hey, maybe now is the time to upgrade" and then I remember that a new, better model will be out in about a year, so i m
          • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Friday September 14, 2007 @12:42PM (#20604911)
            The reason Firewire is faster is that everything is its own device on the network. USB requires a host. It's also why USB requires more CPU. However, that firewire chip isn't small. When Apple had to choose between firewire chip or video chip, they choose the video.
            • Whenever the topic of mobile video comes up, my response is something akin to "who cares?"

              Number of videos I've purchased from iTunes: about 5 or 6
              Number of videos I've purchased from iTunes because I wanted a video: 1 (the rest were included with albums that I bought for the music)
              Number of videos I keep sync'ed to my iPod: 0
              Number of videos I would keep sync'ed to my iPod if my iPod could play videos: 0

              I want Firewire back, dammit.
        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          iPods now only work with USB. (I once made the mistake of using a Firewire iPod cable with a 5G iPod. The iPod itself will display an error message. It simply doesn't support Firewire any more.)

          Actually, to transfer files you need USB. To charge a 5/5.5G iPod, FireWire works great. (I use the old Firewire adapter that came with my 3G iPod to charge). Don't know if it charges any faster, though, but it certainly means I don't need my PC to charge it, or buy another adapter.

    • It just goes to show you that knowing what is sucessful and what isn't a science. More power vs. Smaller size? More features vs. Simpler Design... It is really hit or miss. At slasdot we tend to prefer thinks with More Power and Features vs. Smaller and Simpler. But in terms of music players it seems Smaller and Simpler seems to win. Then overtime more features can creep in. During the time of the comment Apples track record had gone up from lousy to hit or miss. CmdrTaco's comment basicly had a 75% cha
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dachannien (617929)
      They finally listened to his comments! Now with wireless and *more* space than a Nomad. [wikipedia.org]

      Plus, it has paradox-absorbing crumple zones.
  • by Brit_in_the_USA (936704) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:05AM (#20603327)
    Anyone taken one apart and verified if there is bluetooth hardware in it?

    Stereo bluetoth headphone support is long overdue for ipods. If hte hardware is there software coudl be round the corner?
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:31AM (#20603691) Homepage

      What's so important about BT headphones? I'm sorry but that is one thing that I don't see a big deal about. That's just extra power that my iPod will be wasting and another thing to charge/replace batteries in (the headphones). There are a few circumstances I can see (jogging, maybe). But I don't think it is a big necessary thing for most people.

      That said, if the BT hardware is in there (like it is in the iPhone), I see no excuse for not including support for it (because all the hardware is there and I can see people using). I just don't see it as important enough to put the hardware in.

      Now wireless syncing, I would be big on.

      • by Splab (574204)
        Well you said it, jogging. My left earphone often falls out when I'm out jogging because the movement makes the wires jump and that pulls out the earplug. And in general I could see it as a big bonus, I always end up entangled in wires, bags and groceries (I use public transportation).
      • There are a few circumstances I can see (jogging, maybe).
        This is the big one for me. I very much enjoy a bit of music or a thought-provoking podcast while I run, and not having to worry about a wire flapping around my neck would be lovely.
      • I keep calling my Shuffle the "iPod Tangle" because every time I dig it out of a pocket I have to spend 30 seconds untangling the wires.

        Never mind the many times some part nearly got ripped/broken off because the wire got caught on something.
      • by vrmlguy (120854)
        When you're sitting in a long, boring, meeting listening to your PHB's PHB drone on and on and on about switching to a hot new design methodology (that's actually three years old), a BT headset that looks like it's for your cell phone is *way* better than earpods.
  • Yes it is (Score:2, Informative)

    by Selfbain (624722)
  • by svendsen (1029716) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:06AM (#20603343)
    it works by touching it...duh
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by garcia (6573)
      it works by touching it...duh

      Well, most of the Slashdot is very well aware that they themselves "work by touching it" but for use of their own devices outside of that realm, they need to have a little more in-depth manual and this is exactly that! ;-)
  • by TheCycoONE (913189) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:09AM (#20603381)
    One of the great features of the clicky wheel is that you can grab your ipod in your pocket and adjust the volume or skip tracks easily without looking at the device. On a multi-touch interface you're going to have to look at the screen to know what you are touching, which will make it a lot harder to use in your pocket or while driving.
    • by EMeta (860558)
      I'm sure there will be accessories that will have button capability, either with the headphones or the aux out ports. These are already out there for the regular iPods, & they don't need them half as much. I would count the full price of any iPT to include a sleeve and said accessory
      • by pthor1231 (885423)
        It's still kind of annoying to have to include accessories into the cost though. They seem to be getting better about the screens, which leads me to believe you could do away with the sleeve/case. Why can't they just toss in a wired remote too? The cost to them wouldn't be much, and it could I'm a lot of people, like GPP, would appreciate it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MrP-(at work) (839979)
      I know with my iPhone I can easily click the volume up/down button on the side in my pocket and I can stop/start/skip ahead songs using the button/microphone on the headphones. (which can also answer calls, send to vm, place on hold, etc). iPod touch probably has a similar feature.
    • by samkass (174571) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:51AM (#20603997) Homepage Journal
      Apple still sells iPods with clicky wheels if this is important to you, but the clicky wheel and the huge screen won't both fit, so you have to choose. You can get accessories that let you go forward/back without touching the iPod at all, but of course they cost extra, and most car models these days offer optional iPod integration that lets you control them from the car stereo for car use.
      • by imsabbel (611519)
        The whole side of the ipod is still unused.

        How about using one side for a volume "slide pad" ? With the multi-touch technology, it should be no problem to tell apart the holding hand and the adjusting finger.
  • by porcupine8 (816071) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:09AM (#20603385) Journal
    I was originally super-excited about the iPod Touch as a PDA, but I just found out that you can't enter calendar entries on it, you can only sync them from your computer. :( Oh well, now I don't have to be sad about the price!

    The part of this article that I found most interesting is that you need to use your skin for the touch screen to work - that kinda rules out any sort of future handwriting recognition.

    I guess I just really want Apple to give me a real PDA - an iNewton - instead of an iPod that looks kinda like a PDA.

    • by WillAdams (45638)
      Agreed.

      If it included support for using a stylus and had InkWell handwriting recognition, I would finally be able to replace my Newton MessagePad --- instead, I guess I'll just get another Fujitsu Stylistic, which will preclude my getting a MacBook (or Axion ModBook), which is a shame since I prefer Mac OS X.

      Hopefully when Leopard comes out it'll be feasible to run it on a Tablet PC.

      William

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by chis101 (754167)

      The part of this article that I found most interesting is that you need to use your skin for the touch screen to work - that kinda rules out any sort of future handwriting recognition.

      Not necessarily. I wouldn't expect to see handwriting recognition, but you have to use your skin because touchpads detect the electrical difference caused by your finger. Non-conductors won't work for a touchpad. That doesn't mean, however, that there can't be a special pen that can be used to write on it (like PDAs have)

    • by Chyeld (713439)
      So, when it comes out, "Jailbreak" it and install a suite of "real" PDA apps. It's not as if this won't be the iPod Homebrewer's dream.
    • The part of this article that I found most interesting is that you need to use your skin for the touch screen to work - that kinda rules out any sort of future handwriting recognition.

      I guess I just really want Apple to give me a real PDA - an iNewton - instead of an iPod that looks kinda like a PDA.

      That's okay; PDA screens are physically too small for decent handwriting recognition anyway (let alone the fact that they also really need a higher-resolution (i.e., subpixel) digitizer). Now, a Tablet PC ca

    • by jonwil (467024)
      Just wait for the hackers to find a way to copy the apps from the iPhone to the iPod Touch.
    • by greenguy (162630)
      I was originally super-excited about the iPod Touch as a PDA, but I just found out that you can't enter calendar entries on it, you can only sync them from your computer.

      That's why I want to know if you can use Google Calendar in Safari. If so, well, problem solved.
    • by Tacvek (948259)
      It has been indicated that the iPod touch can run unmodified iPhone binaries. http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/breaking/ipod-touch-runs-same-applications-as-iphone-296837.php [gizmodo.com] As such, it seems very likely that all non-phone apps from the iPhone that are missing from the iPod touch, will be able to be added by end users just as soon as a "jailbreak" method for the iPod touch has been found and verified. At that time, the Calendar app will support adding and editing entries. Considering that there is no legitimate
  • by Sciros (986030) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:12AM (#20603405) Journal
    $400 for 16 gigabytes of storage is simply not good enough for a lot of people with large music libraries who like to have 30-40 albums to listen to on command.

    I like to watch video on these portable players (I have a Cowon A2 myself), so there's also seasons of anime or whatever to take up 4-8 gigs each.

    In a year or so, when these things will hold 64 Gigs of flash memory, they will be great purchases for someone like myself. Until then, they're not even an option. And that's the single biggest "improvement" I'm looking forward to in future iPods. (Though I'll probably just grab a Q5 when it's available.)

    But hey gotta start somewhere.
    • $400 for 16 gigabytes of storage is simply not good enough for a lot of people with large music libraries who like to have 30-40 albums to listen to on command.

      Buddy, I have 900+ original CDs that I've MP3ed up that takes up around 100GB of disk space.

      30-40 albums is not a large music collection, believe me!

      • by Sciros (986030)
        I didn't mean to say that 30-40 albums is a large music collection, hehe. I have a LOT of music on my computer as well (probably 70 gigs? not sure anymore...) but I only really bother to throw 30-40 albums onto a portable media player because they're the ones I listen to for a year or something.
      • by ajs (35943)

        $400 for 16 gigabytes of storage is simply not good enough for a lot of people with large music libraries who like to have 30-40 albums to listen to on command.

        Right now, I get by on my 30GB iPod, and if I had half the space I'd just delete a lot of the junk I never listen to and some of the video podcasts that are kind of large, and I really don't ever watch unless I'm connected to my TV.

        Average file size for a decent bitrate of song is around 3-5MB, right? So, you're talking about roughly 4000 songs. Now granted, that's not the whole library of someone who has ripped an extensive collection of CDs, but it's quite enough to carry around.

        I'm also very happy with

    • by Pope (17780)
      Bollocks. It's about picking which albums to listen to at any one time. I have way more music than I know will fit on any current player (hell, or my old 10GB iPod 5 years ago!), so I pick and choose. The "I MUST have every single song in my collection at all times!!" demand is such a red herring.
      • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:34AM (#20603743)

        The "I MUST have every single song in my collection at all times!!" demand is such a red herring.

        Well, these days it's somewhat reasonable to expect a device to exist that will hold the music collections of everyone who isn't a professional DJ. That said, such a device exists: the full-size regular iPod. What's not reasonable is to expect every music player on the market to hold all the music you could possibly own.

        • by Sciros (986030)
          Yes but who said that's what is expected in the first place? I'm not saying "omg wtf the iPod Touch doesn't have enough space for my 70 gigs of music!1!??" I'm saying that storage increase is IMO the most welcome improvement to the device at the moment. Disagree?
      • by Sciros (986030)
        With your reasoning 10 megabytes should be enough :-) pick and choose, pick and choose, yeah?

        The less I have to constantly figure out what to delete to make room for music I *now* feel like listening to, the better. Convenience through technology :-)
    • by jonnythan (79727)
      30-40 albums is less than 3GB at 128kbps.

      Even at 320kbps, you're looking at less than 10GB.
  • by maczealot (864883)
    Just as the iPhone's "exclusive" with AT&T was only a speed bump to those who wanted to use it on any network so too will the iTouch's inability to share music wirelessly with friends only exist for a short time.

    I expect there to be multiple hacks for sharing music wirelessly with friends within a month after it hits stores. And to be honest I'm starting to expect this kind of wink-wink nudge-nudge release from Apple. They can't release a product the way consumers want it so they get the recording ind
    • by Sciros (986030)
      WRT the MS statement, to be fair given all of the open source and otherwise free software out there that folks write to make life with Windows easier, or for some added functionality, or whatever, it probably shouldn't be said that MS doesn't make good use of the greater software community.

      With regards to non-OS products, I have no clue what kind of "hacking" the Zune has attracted (from personal experience though it's a total POS and no amount of "hacking" will make it not suck donkey dong but that's an as
    • by Toby_Tyke (797359)
      Personally, I'm waiting for the hack that lets it play xvid encoded videos. Once that's taken care of, I'll be buying one of these. Which will make it the first apple product I have ever owned.
    • And to be honest I'm starting to expect this kind of wink-wink nudge-nudge release from Apple. They can't release a product the way consumers want it so they get the recording industry/telecom industy to agree to "rules" that just make their devices likely targets of benign hacking.

      If that were the case, Apple would have released a real SDK.

    • Apple's use of the greater software community pwns Microsoft who regularly attracts NEGATIVE hacking.
      I have to refute that claim by simply pointing at the Xbox. Modding (hard or soft) an Xbox and installing XBMC [xboxmediacenter.com] "pwns" any hack/mod I've ever seen anywhere else, Apple product or not.
    • Now, I KNOW what my account name is but you HAVE to admit that Apple's use of the greater software community pwns Microsoft who regularly attracts NEGATIVE hacking.

      Well, the primary difference is that Microsoft doesn't enforce jack-booted control over their devices, so you don't *have* to hack them to do positive things.

      I recently bought an iPhone (I really need to do a journal entry about this), and it's so good that it actually makes me hate Apple even more than I have in the past. The idiots over t

  • I'm just going to wait a week, till someone hacks it to do 802.11G and bluetooth headsets.
    THEN it'll be the product we've all been waiting for!

    I hear Apple has a prototype that does just that, but in true Apple fashion, it's wire-wrapped by hand, weighs 47lbs, and for some reason there's a Sony rep hidden in the closet...
  • by Pojut (1027544)
    To me the iTouch is a waste of money...I suppose it could make a PDA, but really you can get better PDA's for less money...they just don't have the storage space that makes up the whole purpose of buying an iPod in the first place.

    But what do I know, I use a Rio Karma...
    • Re:really (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Poromenos1 (830658) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:19AM (#20603529) Homepage
      The thing is that it has 5 times less storage than the older iPod (80 GB). Sure it's got touch and wireless, but that just means no tactile feedback, no wireless syncing (I have many computers around the house, even my mobile has a browser) and less space at a higher price. Not the most attractive deal.
      • Thank god it isn't a forced upgrade. The regular iPod line is still available.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        The browser is better then the one on your phone, as is the screen, and it connects to your computer through any wi-fi point so you can swap music any time. and it looks nice.

        and it does have wireless syncing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bozone (113268)
        then don't buy the touch.... buy the classic that has twice the storage of the older iPod... you have choices ... including not getting one if it doesn't meet your needs
  • Wonderful to know how it works. But will it blend?
  • Wireless sync is all I care about. That would make my life much easier. I've got a 40GB 3rd gen and I really like it, but I don't have a lot of reason to move up. I probably buy the either the 16GB touch or the 80GB classic. Not sue which. But I would have bought one of those two very fast.

    As it is, the only compelling reason for me to upgrade is the video ability. The surfing on the Touch seems neat, but it isn't enough for me. I am not using the video now. TiVo announced that they will bring TiVoToGo to

  • I'm waiting a bit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TeamSPAM (166583) <flynnmj.email@com> on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:23AM (#20603585) Homepage

    As a long time Apple fanboy, I'll invoke the don't buy the rev a rule on the iPod Touch. To an extent, the Touch is what I wanted when I saw the iPhone. Unfortunately, the storage space isn't big enough for my music collection. I'd like to have at least 32GB of storage available before I think about buying one.

    • by tgibbs (83782)

      Unfortunately, the storage space isn't big enough for my music collection. I'd like to have at least 32GB of storage available before I think about buying


      Probably in a year or two. Of course, by then your music collection will be 64 GB.
    • That it can access you music via Wi-Fi, right?
      It doesn't help if you are out of any wi-fi connections, but for most people this will be fine.

      Basically you can say, I don't want these songs, replace it with these.

  • by Itchyeyes (908311) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:24AM (#20603615) Homepage
    Sounds like this would be a pretty short article: "Exactly the same way the iPhone does, but without the phone."
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:25AM (#20603623)
    This Slashvertisment rates a 4.7 out of 5.

    The (product) isn't in stores yet, but (whatever) has a nice summary of how the ("gee whiz" feature) of the (product) works.


    Excellent opening statement. It stimulates Desire, which we all know is the precursor to in the marketing "AIDA" scheme. (And when you release the product, just submit another article.)

    With its (feature 2) and (feature 3), the (product) might sound like a big step up from (previous model of product). But the (product) isn't for everyone.


    Great introduction of the features, especially the "big step up" part. And you've even given your target audience a reason to click into the submitted link too. (You've suggested there are people this product may not be perfect for, not that anyone reading this on Slashdot would fall into that "un-hip" category.)

    Fellow Slashvertisers take note - this format can be applied to your next submission too!

    • This was one of the better ones, and reads like it was written by a professional marketing person.

      But that could always backfire, since the Slashdot crowd has strong anti-marketing leanings you have to be pretty careful. The thing that impressed me about the iPhone Slashvertisement barrage was that a good many of the 'submissions' came off as amateur, which I think you'd pretty much have to do if you are buying two front page stories a day, every day, for a month.

      But it was refreshing to read this one and i
  • Pesky Rebate? (Score:3, Informative)

    by BMonger (68213) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:31AM (#20603695)
    http://www.apple.com/iphone/storecredit/ [apple.com]

    That's a very pesky "rebate" which I received within 5 minutes of clicking the link.

    Not 6-8 weeks if I'm lucky.
  • by asphaltjesus (978804) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:34AM (#20603731)
    Let's pause for a moment to inject a dose of engineering reality.

    1. We're talking about a low-power device with very limited programming capacity. That's different from the storage capacity.
    2. How, in technical terms will files be shared?

    Let's say a hacker can use the wireless+dhcp client. Then what? A bonjour client perhaps? Maybe, but bonjour just advertises services. So, put an ftp server behind that maybe? Great! The hacker will need, Bonjour libraries and all the underlying dependencies, an ftp server and an ftp client and enough cpu/memory to run it all. It reminds me of a line from the remade Oceans 11, "Let's say you rob Terry Benedict's casino. You're still in the middle of the f*cking desert!"
    • by p0tat03 (985078)
      Er... As far as we can tell this thing runs the exact same hardware (CPU, RAM, etc) as the iPhone. We already know it has a subset of the OS X API available, and there's "plenty" of RAM (64MB I believe) and a decently fast x86 CPU. How is this limited programming capacity? Especially when compared to other PDAs on the market?
    • by djupedal (584558)
      "How, in technical terms will files be shared?"

      I run a nice little OSS item by the name of 'MyTunesRSS [codewave.de]'. MTRSS scans your iTunes library, fires up a little Bonjour webserver & bam.

      Any device that runs a web client can login and browse by different schemes. You can click and listen to existing playlists or create new ones... or click and download via RSS. MTRSS will even zip up files you queue for download and send that one file along asap.

      Trivial, actually, especially since Apple did such a bro
    • "We're talking about a low-power device with very limited programming capacity"

      We're talking about a device with (based on the iPhone's specs) 128MB RAM, UNIX, 8-16 gigabytes of mass storage, and a 600 MHz ARM processor. It may be a little less than that, but not much... one of the most CPU intensive apps on the iPhone is Safari, and that's on the iPod Touch as well.

      I've run a popular web server with three 1000 member mailing lists, one of which was high volume for the time, plus two MUDs... all on a 486/50
  • eBook? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fxj (267709)
    Can you use it as an e-book reader?
    or at least store html-pages on it?
  • by Coppit (2441) on Friday September 14, 2007 @11:40AM (#20603831) Homepage

    They disabled appointment entry for the calendar widget. [engadget.com] That's really too bad, since I was hoping that this device could be the convergence of my Palm T|X and my iPod. Does anyone know if they crippled any other features of the iPhone? I would have bought one if it truly was an iPhone minus the phone. (I refuse to give AT&T $1500 on top of the not-even-subsidized cost of the iPhone [business2.com].)

    I guess the other thing I'm waiting for is an API for programmers. I like to store my passwords and PINs using encryption on my device. (1) Storing them on someone's server using their Safari-based web app won't work, and (2) Hacks people are using to write native apps aren't sanctioned and may stop working in the future. Sigh... C'mon Apple, open it up!

  • Should be called the iPod Stroke.
  • "But the iPod touch isn't for everyone."

    NO FUCKING SHIT. Nothing is for everyone. This is such a lame, overused statement. It's just the reviewer trying to sound insightful. There is no system on Earth that is better in every way than whatever it's replacing. I have an iPhone and it's pretty neat but there are many times I miss having physical buttons. Hell, you've got to be looking at it while you slide your finger on it just to answer a damn call. It would be cool if, in addition to the ability to press t

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