With the second version of the iPod touch Apple takes another step to close the gap between iPod and iPhone by adding those two desirable physical features: external volume controls and an internal speaker.
The new iPod touch includes the iPod touch 2.1 software update - a free update for those who've purchased the 2.0 software update and a $10 update for those running the older 1.x update. In addition to adding Genius playlist creation, Apple claims this update fixes some annoyances in the original 2.0 software. While we haven't had a chance to see the benefits of all these changes, we can say that Apple wasn't kidding when it claims that the update provides "faster installation of third-party applications".
We launched the App Store on an original 16GB iPod touch running software version 2.0.2 and the new iPod touch running 2.1. We asked both to update The Iconfactory's Twitterific to version 1.1. The new iPod with the latest software did it over our Wi-Fi network in 20 seconds. The old iPod touch with the older software version took an interminable 5 minutes and 2 seconds. We obtained similar results with other software updates.
More to come
Apple claims that the second-gen iPod touch offers better battery life than the original touch. We haven't had the iPod long enough to test its alleged audio playback time of 36 hours and video playback of 6 hours, but will as we delve deeper into the device in preparation for a more full review.