Just a quick note to respond to the use of an iPod as a PDA.
I own a 30GB iPod and a Palm Zire.
- The Palm's 1,000s of apps can't be used on the 'Pod.
- I bought the Zire (>$90) the evening that I realized that I couldn't swap my contact info via IR with a new acquaintance who was carrying his Handspring. Had to enter it by hand. Glad I that bought the Zire. I used the IR business card beaming feature within the next month to make business contacts and get the job.
- Can't even enter the data directly into the iPod if I want to. Tried carrying a paper and pencil, but found I forgot it at home too often.
Also tried using a Sony Palm 760c for a year. Works fine as a PDA, but falls very short as an MP3 player... especially in capacity (128MB max until very recently). Also falls terribly short on the battery life... a week of standby at most. Have to keep it in its cradle.
Why a Zire?
- Recharges via a standard mini-B USB connector (digital camera style) while you sync. Neato.
- No need to carry its power brick on trips... it goes for about a month... beating every other device in its class that I've used. (It's my 3rd Palm OS device in 5 years).
- Enter data on the go.
- Beam data on the go. Even to Pocket PC with an app that can reformat the data for them.
Just thought these were relevant to the topic of how useful an iPod serves as a PDA.
Practical crtieria for a PDA (in fashion that I use 'em):
1. Should not require frequent recharging. Longer the battery life the better. Rechargeable a plus, but make sure you replace it. iPod doesn't fair well here. A week of standby battery charge without plugging it into the Powerbook vs. the Zire's month-long charge.
2. Should be able to alter/enter/move data on the go without a computer. I've used the Palm IR beaming feature to my financial benefit many times over the last five years. iPod fails this criteria. Zire does fine on all of these.
3. Simplicity is a must. Featuritis (and poor battery life) was the reason that I gave up on the Sony MP3-playing Palm. iPod meets this criteria very well. Interface is quite straight-forward, requiring only 2-3 seconds to locate the contact info. 4-5 seconds to locate a date/appointment. Zire's UI takes just a little bit longer than that in both tasks.
Sooo... I use my iPod daily for both music and phone numbers. It is often the electronic doodad that I look up a phone number in because it is clipped on my belt (GEEK). I autosync my Entourage X contact/calendar (the main PIM on my Powerbook) every time I sync the music.
The Zire also comes with me every day in the backpack (which is a constant commuting companion). Don't think about it, but it is always in my pack and only needs charging once a month. Zire and iPod sync to the same database of info (Entourage X) so there is little or no discrepancies between them.