Tuesday, July 3, 2012

iPhone vs iPod Touch

Do you really need a smartphone?
© 2012 Stephen Kent Stephenson, sks23@cornell.edu. All rights reserved.

The Vancouver Sun article here makes a lot of sense; esp. with Verizon's steeply rising prices. Even their Prepaid Plans (click View Plan Details) will be expensive.

But can you go a little bit further; making calls on an iPod Touch over WiFi so you almost never have to use a cell phone, even a low cost one?

To test that out, I installed Talkatone on an old 2nd generation iPod Touch (model A1288, iOS 4.2.1) that came "free" with my MacBook Pro.

I had already set up Google Voice some time ago but never really had a use for it; now it's assigned to Talkatone on my iPod Touch.

My iPod Touch does not have a microphone; so I use The Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic that came with my iPhone.

Also my iPod Touch does not include the ability to run Talkatone in the background; so when I don't have it running, incoming calls and text messages are recorded for later listening and/or reading. In fact, the voice messages are copied to my Gmail as both audio files and (not so good) translated text. E.g.,
New voicemail from Steve Stephenson at 11:55 AM

Google Voice Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Reply-To: sks23@cornell.edu

Voicemail from: Steve Stephenson
This is. I didn't get through to talk accounts because I've got it turned off. ON my iPod Touch. So, that looks fine. I was to see if you get the message. Thanks. Bye.
Play message
Since Talkatone can only use WiFi on my Touch, absolutely no cell phone charges for either voice calls or text messages will accrue.

The Touch+Talkatone can be a poor person's cell phone, where the "cell's" are WiFi hotspots, which are becoming ubiquitous (or use Free WiFi app to find them).

And you can find applications that download data instead of streaming it; e.g., Downcast vs Stitcher for podcasts. (Downloads are available when cell signals aren't; even when going through tunnels!)

Safety is built-in with this method as texting and calling while driving are impossible! And you'll have more time to be with yourself; to think and reflect. That's goodness!

The only thing the iPod Touch doesn't have is GPS (although most apps can use the WiFi hotspots for location, like Google Maps). But GPS can be added and maps can be downloaded, e.g., with Motion X GPS Drive, so GPS navigation with voice driving directions should be possible (click Features).

With Verizon raising prices, now may be a good time to think about changing to a cheap pay-per-call cell phone and/or an iPod Touch with Talkatone.

Open question: When you've had your Verizon iPhone for more than 2 years and cancel with no penalty, can you then use the iPhone as an iPod Touch with GPS? (Answer?)