Want All The Bells and Whistles? Get An iPhone

On November 21, 2008

To my mind the really interesting news with the new 2.2 firmware update isn’t the podcasting, (which is nice), or the possibility that Safari won’t crash as often (which is overdue), but rather the fact that the iPod Touch DID NOT get Google Maps Street View. Let me explain why…

When the iPod Touch came out it looked like an iPhone without the GSM radio, camera and speaker. It wasn’t. While it looked that was it, Apple had consciously left off features to make sure it wasn’t. It was missing the maps program and all of the features that would have made it a PDA, let alone a non-GSM iPhone. While it was obnoxious on Apple’s part, it did help make sure that, at least initially, the Touch did not cannibalize the iPhone too much.

A short time later those features did become available for a small fee and the Touch DID become an iPhone without the GSM radio, camera or speaker. The Touch took off and didn’t appear to significantly affect iPhone sales.

Since then there has been software parity between the two. Unless an app required a hardware feature the Touch did not have, such as the camera or the GPS chip on the iPhone 3G, the same software ran the same way on the two. And both devices have done well.

That changed today, though, when the iPod Touch didn’t get any Street View love with the update to firmware 2.2. Sure, there could be a perfectly to be left off the iPod Touch update. Maybe there is a hardware reason why it would not work. Or maybe, just maybe, Apple is looking to once again differentiate between the two devices.