iPod Touch Take 2- Is Apple Missing The Mark Or Setting The Stage? (updated)

On September 10, 2008

I love my iPhone.

I really like my iPod Touch too.

No, I don’t really need to have both but the Touch is great to have for trying out new apps. Plus it is so thin that for many things, I actually like using it more than my iPhone.

I’ve been more than a bit interested in the development of the Touch since its introduction last year.

It was introduced as a media-centric device- a touchscreen iPod. It was SO media-centric, in fact, that the Touch didn’t originally ship with some of the basic functionality present in the iPhone. It was an iPod. Period.

It was only later, with a $19 software update, that the Touch gained apps such as —Mail, Maps, Stocks, Weather, and Notes. Since that occurred, though, the Touch has been much more than a touchscreen iPod. It has, on many levels, succeeded where UMPC (Ultra Mobile PCs) and MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices) only hoped to go. And with the firmware update this past July… WOW! Now, almost all the apps that tap the potential of the iPhone are able to do the same thing on the Touch. Nope, this was no longer just a touchscreen iPod.

So it struck me as a bit odd that in the walkthrough of the new iPod Touch it is described this way…

“Whether you are into music, movies or games. iPod Touch is the most fun you’ve ever had with an iPod.”

The new Touch is "The Funnest iPod Ever". It is great for… Movies, Music or Games– notice what is missing?

Yes, the new iPod Touch can still tap into the ever-growing App Store. It can still be used for checking email, accessing Evernote, or writing notes with it in landscape using WriteRoom but THAT’s not what Apple is stressing. No, Apple is focussed on movies, music and games. In other words, the new Touch is… A Touchscreen iPod, or at least that is how Apple is positioning it.

Apple isn’t stupid, far from it. so why would the focus on only one part of this incredibly powerful device?  I can think of three reasons-

1. Apple sees the declining iPod market and figures the new Nano and Touch can keep this cash cow rolling a bit longer by focusing on the Touch-as-iPod.

2. While functionally VERY similar, Apple wants to still make a clear distinction between the iPhone and the Touch

3. Apple doesn’t want to push the Touch as a MID, UMPC, eReader etc too hard because… one is on the way.

Personally, I like option number 3 the most! I know, I know, we keep talking about a larger version of the Touch, (Mike Cane’s iPod Air) and those of us ith roots in the tabletpc world continue to dream ofit. But think about it… why else would Apple not push ALL the features of the iPod? Why push it as a touchscreen iPod only unless there is something soming that they WANT to position as an internet tablet?

I can only hope. In the meantime, my new Touch should be here Thursday or Friday with a review soon to follow.


UPDATE: Firming up the positioning of the Touch as part of the iPod family is even apparent in the packaging of the 2nd generation. These images from iLounge show that the new Touch is packaged similarly to the Nano. In the past the packaging was exceptionally iPhone-esque.