Over the Christmas holidays, there were some really special deals to be had. On a whim, I checked out the daily Gold Box deal on Amazon.com one day, and scored on a great price on the 8 GB second generation iPod Touch!
I'd been curious about the iPhone, since they first came out, but I was not ready to jump carriers from T-Mobile over to AT&T, and fork out the estimated $1600 over the course of a two-year contract, in order to have one. I'm very happy with my current Motorola W490, and the $10 per month it costs to share a family plan with my husband.
Still, I missed the days when I carried a Palm phone, and the convenience of having all of my contacts and calendar with me. So, when this special deal popped up on the iPod Touch, I jumped on it! And I wish I had done it sooner ;)
One month later, my iPod Touch is my new best friend. It follows me everywhere I go. I love that it's so lightweight, slides into my purse easily, and I can go several days on a single charge. With the help of the vast library of apps, and the super easy-to-use WiFi connectivity, I've got an army of resources at my fingertips. Everything from managing three e-mail accounts, to checking my Netflix queue, to peeking at what my friends and family are up to on Facebook; everything is just a swipe and a tap away.
The one thing that has really changed in my life is that I no longer rely on handwritten reminders to myself, scribbled on sticky notes and small scraps of paper, which ultimately get crumpled and forgotten about in my pockets, or at the bottom of my purse. I'm sure all of you moms out there can relate: just out of the blue, you remember something that you have to do, or something you have to buy. But of course, it hits you at the wrong time. For me, it's always when I'm at work, and my grocery list is hanging on my fridge. Or, I'll remember something five aisles away that I need to pick up, while I'm at the store, and end up forgetting by the time I make it over there. No more! Two of my favorite "paperless" apps are Awesome Note, and Grocery iQ. While the iPod Touch does come with its own Notes app, it's pretty basic. Awesome Note is definitely my favorite, as it is truly a digitized version of my beloved sticky notes. They're actually quite cute! I can easily create any number of virtual sticky notes (complete with their own different fonts and "paper" colors), and I can even organize them into my own custom categories. Best of all, there is no paper to lose, and no paper to throw away. Definitely a paperless, green plus for me! There is a "lite" version that you can test out, but I went ahead and paid for the full version. Definitely worth it :)
Grocery iQ is another indispensable tool. No more middle-of-the-week runs to the grocery store, battling with the rush-hour crowds, for things we forgot to buy on our big weekly run. No more showing up at the store, without my list. Grocery iQ makes it nearly impossible to forget anything (as long as you remembered to put it on the list, and have your device with you) ;) Now of course, there are several apps you could use to create your own grocery list, but you'd be retyping that same list, week after week. Grocery iQ takes out the tedium. My favorite part of this app is the "Favorites" section. Tied into a huge database of grocery store products, as managed by Coupons.com, just start typing the name of a product you buy regularly, and the app finds it (and related products). Then save that item to your Favorites, along with anything else you buy regularly. Then, when it comes time to create your weekly list, tap those items needed from your list of favorites, and they appear on your shopping list. Tada! It's easy to add other items, and just as easy to delete them as well. You can also e-mail your list, right from your device, to the kind soul taking on the chore of shopping for you that week ;) As a bonus, there is another button for coupons! This is an app from Coupons.com, after all. As long as you've got WiFi access, the app will search for available coupons in your area. You digitally "clip" the ones you want, and the ones that need to be printed, can be sent directly to your wireless printer, or e-mailed for later printing. Those special items then appear on your grocery list, along with a reminder that you have a coupon for them! How neat is that? As you shop, you tap each item, and it moves to the "Cart" area of your list. It's also easy to move an item back (just tap it again). At the end of your trip, press the "Checkout" button, and any unpurchased items remain, forming the start of your shopping list for your next trip to the store. This is an indispensable app. Totally worth the $0.99 it costs in the iTunes store. I haven't touched my paper grocery list pad since ;)
To round out my top three favorite "paperless" apps, number three is the Kindle app from Amazon.com. I love to read, but it seems like I never have a book with me, when the moment is right (standing in line, sitting in a waiting room, etc). My bookshelf is also packed two rows deep, and storage space is at a premium, here on this little tropical island in the Florida Keys, and let's face it... the books themselves can be expensive. I also tend to buy books, and not read them more than once. Sometimes I'll give them away, but mostly, they end up taking up space in my house. Welcome to the next generation of eBooks. I had tried eBooks a few years ago, on my cell phone and Palm devices, but the font was so grainy, and the scrolling jumpy and annoying. But the technology has really come a long way since. I'm really happy with the free Kindle app for my iPod Touch. The font is very crisp, there's a choice of text sizes, and color schemes (white text on black, black text on white, or sepia (my favorite)). I do also like that since I'm running the Kindle app on my iPod, it's back-lit, and I can read while in bed, which I like to do, before I fall asleep (the real Kindle device, on the other hand, is not back-lit). Reading with the Kindle is very comfortable. The text doesn't scroll, which I never really liked in an e-reader anyway, and instead, you have the option of swiping with your finger, or lightly tapping the margin, to turn pages. It has a very natural feel to it.
Downloading new books is super easy, and the orders show up in your Amazon.com account history. I also like the "try before you buy" feature; you can download the first chapter of any Kindle book for free. There is a huge selection of Kindle-ready books, and the prices are very reasonable. I had lent out my entire hardback collection of the Twilight series, and I'm not sure when I might get those back again... LOL! But I was in the mood to read Eclipse one more time. I ended up buying it through my Kindle app for about $4.00! It was also instantly delivered to my iPod Touch. No delivery trucks involved there! Within minutes, I was reading Eclipse again ;) Fast forward a few weeks later, and I've since been turned onto the Sookie Stackhouse series. Lo and behold, the entire eight-volume "box set" was available for Kindle for about $24, also instantly delivered! Now that was a bargain! That was great, being able to carry the entire set of books with me, on a recent trip to California. Not having to try to fit even one real book in my carry-on luggage was a blessing! I'm looking forward to adding to my eBook library, and reducing my carbon footprint at the same time, by choosing digital over paper.
I'm really enjoying my iPod Touch, and experimenting with the cool apps out there. The iPod really has come a long way, from being a portable music player. Hubby recently bought himself the Google Nexus One Android phone. It's pretty neat too, but I still like my iPod Touch. Should the iPhone ever become available to use on T-Mobile, I may consider upgrading to one. For now, I'm very happy with my current arrangement, and I hope those of you considering an iPod Touch will make the leap ;)
No promotional consideration was paid for this post. This is a review of personal purchases/downloads of apps from the Apple iTunes store.
iPod image courtesy of ottawa-gaming.com.