What next for the iPod touch?

Apple iPod touch
Is Apple's iPhone focus short-changing the iPod touch

Ever since Apple launched the iPod touch last September, it’s been overshadowed by the flashier, whizzier iPhone.

It’s almost as if Apple doesn’t really know what to do with it. The truth couldn’t be more different.

In any other timeframe, if there was simply no Apple iPhone, we’d all be praising the iPod touch’s virtues to the hilt.

the iPod touch is by far and away the most accomplished digital music player you can buy today - and it’s positively packed with features that rivals from Creative, Microsoft and Sansa can only dream of.

Let’s take a look at the evidence:

6 reasons to love the iPod touch

  1. It has a fantastic multi-touch interface that can be upgraded at any time to add new features and applications. Apple already gave iPod touch owners an upgrade in January, adding Mail, Maps, Stocks, Notes and Weather, and finally made the Calendar editable.
  2. Version 2.0 of the iPhone’s firmware can also be applied to the iPod touch, enabling you to buy and download additional applications. These include specially developed games that take advantage of iPod touch’s built-in accelerometer - Sega’s Super Monkey Ball, as demoed during Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote, is a great example.
  3. The iPod touch has built-in Wi-Fi enabling you to surf the net from the comfort of your sofa - or anywhere else you hook up to a Wi-Fi access point. That’s good for sending and receiving emails too. That Wi-Fi capability also enables you to buy songs from the iTunes Wi-Fi Store, and now the App Store too.
  4. The iPod touch can store more music and movies than the iPhone. In 32GB guise it has double the capacity of even the priciest iPhone - and you don’t have to pay any monthly subscription charges.
  5. You can now watch movies and TV shows rented from the iTunes Store, or you can watch BBC showing using the iPlayer web app.
  6. The iPod touch is the iPod of the future. The iPod classic and even the iPod nano already look old hat by comparison. We wouldn’t be surprised if Apple phased them out in favour of multi-touch versions in future.

What we want next

  • A better display - the 3.5-inch screen on the iPod touch still isn’t a patch on the one used in the iPhone. Apple will need to address that soon if the touch is to stay in contention.
  • Bluetooth A2DP - those white earbuds and their trailing cables are so 2001. We want wireless headphones and we want them now
  • Wireless sync - Why should you have to plug your iPhone into a Mac or PC to update things like contacts, calendar events, Safari bookmarks, even your music and movies?
  • More storage - even at 32GB, the iPod touch falls woefully short of the storage capacity of other iPods (the iPod classic holds 160GB). We expect capacity to be pumped up to at least 64GB for the next update in September - ideally more.
  • Lower prices - Mobile network subsidies or not, the iPhone now looks like a bargain compared to the iPod touch. We want Apple to slash prices - or at least give us more of the other good stuff.
  • Better AV codec support - hey Apple, how about throwing in native support for WMA, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis and DivX? Can’t hurt.
  • Free updates - we’ve already had to stump up the readies for the January update, and now we’re being asked to do so again for firmware v2.0. OK, the charges are small, but you’re not passing them on to iPhone owners. Why treat us any different?

Apple’s future strategy

There’s no doubt that the iPod - with the iPod touch at its heart - remain central to Apple’s business strategy going forward. Steve Jobs said as much during his WWDC keynote yesterday.

Once all hoopla surround the iPhone 3G has died down, we’d really like to see Apple re-commit to the iPod - and to give the iPod touch the attention is so readily deserves.

Do you think Apple's being unfair to the iPod touch? Are you simply obsessed with the iPhone? Or couldn't you give a stuff about either. Let us know - fire away in the comments below!