I was working on a new section for the site (one that you’ll see soon online) and I stumbled upon my first iPod Touch.

Found on okazii, back when that site was relevant, brand new, sealed, at like 75% the market price. Bought it from my salary as a web designer, even if I didn’t really afford it. Had to get an advanced payment from work and a lecture from my friend/boss that really helped me from then on. Regardless, I really really wanted it, so I got it.

Launched on September 5, 2007, it was pretty much the phone-less iPhone that a junior web-developer could afford (or couldn’t). Keep in mind, back in the day, the iPhone 3G was the first iPhone released officially in Romania, and that was a few months after I got this. And was expensive as fuck for those times – 180 to 500 euros PLUS a monthly contract of 40 or 60 euros. In comparison I remember paying something around 150 euro for the iPod Touch.

So while working on this new “project”, I remembered that I had my first iPod Touch hanging somewhere around, but I completely forgot that I’ve synced some apps on it at some point. This was done using an iTunes library that changed like 4 computers until it landed on my 2006 white Macbook. At some point, I performed a jailbreak on it (which is pretty simple on iOS 3.1.3, just visit a website and bam!), installed Cydia and it allowed me to install some other stuff, like openssh, lighthttpd, and other debian packages.

Andreis-iPod:~ mobile$ uname -a
Darwin Andreis-iPod 10.0.0d3 Darwin Kernel Version 10.0.0d3:
Fri Dec 18 01:26:55 PST 2009; root:xnu-1357.5.30~6/
RELEASE_ARM_S5L8900X iPod1,1 arm N45AP Darwin
Andreis-iPod:~ mobile$ apt-get --version
apt for iphoneos-arm compiled on Aug 10 2018 23:54:04

This iPod has been through a lot, been my trustworthy music companion for several years, until I got my first smartphone, in the autumn of 2010. And even then I was still using it, because it was superior to the Samsung Galaxy S I had back then. It has scuffs, scratches, dents and an almost matte back cover. But I love it, because it was my first Apple device.

So I was very happy when I left it a bit to charge, saw that the battery still holds a decent charge, even after 14 years, and that it still works fine. The only thing that’s starting to fail is the lock button, which prompted me to find a way to trigger screenshots using SSH. This is fairly easy, as I installed Activator, and used the nimbus mini-tool to easy trigger it.

Andreis-iPod:/var/mobile root# apt-get install libactivator
Andreis-iPod:~ mobile$ nimbus screenshot
Screenshot saved in gallery.

This places the photo in the galler, or if you want to ssh/scp, it’s in the /var/mobile/Media/DCIM/ directory, most likely in 100APPLE subfolder, but might be 101, 102, depending on how many photos you have taken.

Starting the iPod, I was greeted with the default Springboard apps, so I decided to give a quick tour of these and see how they stand the test of time.

Unfortunately, when I re-synced this iPod, I did it for the nostalgia so I synced only the Apps and didn’t add music or videos, or set up any email, so Music, Videos, Calendar and Email display their default screens. I will try and search the original music library I had, but I doubt it, because I remembered I had only like 5-6 GB of music added from my over 60GB library, because of the limited space. The sight of the big battery when charging/syncing was a really nice throwback.

Considering the old Operating System (3.1.3, I think it was still called iPhone OS, not iOS), some apps are broken, as they relied on calls to external services and APIs that were discontinued. The original Youtube app still opens, but doesn’t load anything, Stocks and Weather won’t display any data, as it relies on Yahoo! services, and they changed their APIs.

Because these apps were last updated more than 10 years ago, most of the APIs are gone, and if an app relies on any external service, it’s pretty much dead. Facebook tried to load the feed, but most likely got a “token expired” error or some shit and forced me to re-login and it kept saying that the password is incorrect, even though I typed it correctly, I think the API is just returning false regardless of input. Yahoo! Messenger is also dead and throws and error at the login, but at least the link to create a new account lead somewhere. I’ve also added a screenshot of the App Store, because it found two updates released eleven years ago.

Not all apps are broken, some are still working, which is a bit unexpected. The App Store loads, but it’s filled with new apps, as they are more popular now. Most of these throw an error if you try to install them, because they were never meant to support iOS 3.x, but if you manage to find an app with a long enough history, you’ll get a popup that tells you that you can’t download the app, but it offers you the latest version available for your OS. I know I’ve seen it when I was playing with an iPad with iOS 5.x, but I didn’t stay to search for one.

Google Maps amazingly still works, including the directions API, as it gave me a decent driving route from Bucharest to Rome, and even one using public transport. Nice.

Clock, Calculator and Notes seem to work just fine, even the pesky old version of the auto-correct that many people disabled.

I tried to browse a bit the Internet, and checked the Google homepage (looks ok), the Apple homepage (took a year and a half to load and most of it is super buggy), and my website (loads okey, fonts don’t load, svg files don’t load and the images are broken, because there’s something wrong with my Let’s Encrypt certificate)

… One More Thing

I also wanted to add a couple of games/fun apps, because they remind me how fun stuff was before. I decided to write a bit about these, and about some more of them soon, for the simple fact that most of them don’t exist on the App Store anymore, there are few references for them, and most of the companies making them have shutdown or moved to something else, because they discovered that paying $0.99 for 3 extra moves in a matching-game clone is way more profitable than asking $3.99 for a game that gives you 3-∞ hours of play-time.

iPuppy Husky

🕹️ 🕹️ 🕹️ 🕹️ / 5

This is a cute tamagotchi-like game, where you have a pup, you make sure they’re fed, clean, healthy and happy and pat them on the back while patting yourself on the back because they’re still alive.

Star Wars Force Unleashed Lightsaber

🕹️ 🕹️ / 5

With the release of the SW: Force Unleashed game on literally all gaming platforms on Earth (including Lego), LucasArts launched a promotional app, where you could choose SW characters and display/use their lightsaber, pretty much turning your iPhone1 into a flashlight with shwoop-shwoop sound F/X.

Star Trek Phaser

🕹️ 🕹️ / 5

Another cool promo sound F/X iPhone1 app was launched to advertise the release in theaters of the Star Trek reboot in 2009. You have a Starfleet phaser, you have buttons for stun or kill settings, and because it reads from the accellerometer, it turns sideways, because we all know Captain Kirk was gangsta.

1 The 1st generation iPod Touch didn’t have external speakers, nor Bluetooth connectivity, so the only way to hear the shwoop-shwoop of the lightsaber or the pew-pew of the phaser was to have speakers or headphones connected. It defeated the purpose of “sound F/X” apps, but these apps were super cool nevertheless, and I was too poor to afford an iPhone back then.

More info about the Original iPod Touch can be found on the Everymac page