The Airport Express is a $99 device from Apple that has become an indispensable tool when I’m at home or on the road.
When I’m at home, I plug it in to the wall and insert an audio cable leading to my home theater. This allows me to stream iTunes music (from ANY computer in the house running iTunes on the wireless network) to my main stereo system. Now that I have an iPod Touch I can even control the music remotely with a free application from Apple. If you have multiple Airport Express units you can even stream to multiple locations (or Zones) in your house.
The Airport Express is more than just a music toy. It can be used as a Wi-Fi access point as well. The latest version even supports 802.11n! You can even use the airport express to extend a current network!
Lastly, the Airport Express can be used as a wireless print server for any printer with a USB connection. All of these features are setup with the included software.
This is my second Airport Express. My first one stopped working after about 3 years. The old version allowed you to create profiles for the device. I had a “Home” profile for streaming music & a “Travel” profile that allowed me to create a secure (WPA) Wi-Fi access point from any Ethernet connection. The new software seems to have removed the profile option in favor of steering you towards the use of multiple units…
All in all, I find the airport Express to be another well thought out product from Apple. It’s well built, well priced and works as advertised.
I like technology… I like gadgets & toys… I LOVE my iPod Touch!
I’m usually an early adopter of technology but I thought I would wait this one out for a while. As an owner of 4 iPods already (used in varying degrees by the family), I really could not immediately justify the addition of a 5th when the Touch came out.
After several business trips with nothing to watch on TV, and slow hotel Internet connections that made Hulu & NetFlixall but impossible to watch, I took a trip to the local Big Box store to check out the new iPod Touch.
WOW, this thing felt completely different than any of my other devices (super thin & light). I’ve used touch screen devices before (mostly smart phones) that worked OK, but Apple got this one right. Who needs hard keys when you can easily do everything you need right there on the screen?
I’ve tried movies on my 5th generation (60GB model) but they were just to hard to watch for more than about 30 minutes. Watching entire movies on the Touch is enjoyable due to the wide screen and larger screen size.
When Apple released their software update (v2.0) it made the Touch even more versatile. The ability to hook to your Exchange server at the office, and the addition of free/pay applications from the Apple Store actually make this “toy” a versatile pseudo business tool! The Touch has one of the best email clients I have used on a portable device. I’m still getting used to the onscreen keyboard though. It offers no tactile feedback & I still have problems with hitting the right keys near the edge of the screen.
My top 10 application (all free) on the Touch are:
Remote – Control iTunes remotely
NY Times – Instant access to the News
Pandora – Customized playlists of your favorite music
SportsTap – Awesome app to keep up on your favorite teams
Twitterrific – Mobile Twitter
WeatherBug – Current weather conditions & RADAR
VNC – Remote control the MAC from anywhere in the house
RDP – Remote control the PC’s from anywhere in the house
LinkedIn – Keep up to date on all of your connections
Google maps – Find any place & easily get there
I purchased the 16GB model knowing that I would pretty much just use it for applications and movies. All of my music will remain on the 5th generation iPod. The $100 I saved by not buying the 32GB model went towards the replacement of my recently deceased AirPort Express (blog post in the works about this awesome device).
Overall I’m really happy with the iPod Touch. It offers features well beyond a normal MP3 player. It can be used around the house as a media remote and an Internet appliance. Battery life is adequate and the glass screen seems to be pretty resistant to scratches. The smooth exterior of the Touch does lead to a lot of smudges, but they are easily wiped off.
If you have any questions/comments about this post, please leave a comment & we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.