Kitchens Sync

What about the iPod touch?

- 2008.06.19 - Tip Jar

With all the hype and noise surrounding the release of the iPhone 3G, many people are left wondering, "What about the iPod touch?"

It would seem that with the updated design of the iPhone, a new revision of the iPod touch will soon be coming out as the "iPhone 3G without the phone". However, I don't believe this is so.

iPhone 3GThe cosmetic changes to the iPhone are minor in that the only true change is the new backplate. The iPod touch currently sports a chromed backplate, which all of the larger, more expensive iPods have featured since their introduction. The simple backplate switch is no reason for Apple to pour money into a new design for the touch. I would also guess that the new plastic backplate is mainly designed to help boost range and signal with the iPhone's new 3G radio.

The major internal change to the iPhone is this new wireless equipment, which allows it to utilize the higher performance of 3G networks. As iPods do not use cellular networks, this does not affect their design. The only foreseeable change would be an upgrade to a Wireless-N chipset, but I do not think this is currently possible - otherwise Apple would have made the new iPhone support the 802.11n standard, especially in light of all it other products; all the wireless cards in the current Macs and all the AirPort base stations currently produced by Apple have 802.11n capability.

I must recant what I said previously to a certain extent: I believe that there does exist one upgrade possibility for the touch: hard drives. I believe Apple could eliminate the iPod classic line in favor of a not-so-classic iPod touch with a large hard drive for more videos and applications from the new App Store. This would probably be cheaper than the current touch, because prices on flash memory have not dropped to the same level as a hard drive. This can be readily seen in the MacBook Air, where an upgrade to flash memory from an iPod-sized hard drive nets 16 less gigabytes of storage and about $1,000 more on the price.

Whatever happens to the iPod line, I believe the main thing to look for is the new 2.0 software, featuring the App Store, support for the new MobileMe product, and improved enterprise capabilities. I also predict iPod price drops in the near future due to cheaper flash memory powered by the upcoming multilevel cell technology. LEM

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