Apple iPod Refreshes Add Storage, Tweak Prices
While the big news on the iPod front at last week’s announcement was the iPod nano, Apple also tweaked prices, performance, and capacity on the iPod touch, iPod shuffle, and iPod classic. None of the changes are in any way earth-shaking, but they, along with the significantly updated iPod nano (see “iPod nano Morphs into Video Camera, Pedometer, Radio,” 2009-09-09) put the iPod line in a strong position for the upcoming holiday feeding frenzy.
Noting that $199 is a “magic price point in the iPod market,” Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said that’s now the price of the new 8 GB iPod touch. A new 32 GB version is $299, and a whopping 64 GB model costs $399.
The 32 GB and 64 GB models will be 50 percent faster than the 8 GB iPod touch, Schiller said, and can use the OpenGL ES2.0 technology that’s part of the iPhone 3GS.
We were surprised and disappointed that the iPod touch still lacks a camera, even as video was added to the iPod nano. With its large screen and iPhone OS, one would think adding a camera to the iPod touch would be both easy and obvious. In an interview with the New York Times, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the company is positioning the iPod touch as a gaming platform and also keeping it as inexpensive as possible.
The iPod classic, the only remaining iPod with a hard drive, remains priced at $249, but now contains a 160 GB drive instead of 120 GB. It’s Apple’s answer for those people who have huge music or movie collections that they need with them at all times.
The iPod shuffle comes in two models, now priced at $59 (2 GB capacity) and $79 (4 GB). The latest versions are also available in new colors: silver, pink, green, blue, and black. A special edition 4 GB model will have a case of polished steel and will sell for $99.
When is Apple going to add a camera and mike to the touch?
If the answer is "in six months or more," then Apple's marketing skills are woefully lacking. Giving the Nano a camera it's barely able to handle, while not putting one on a touch, where it fits well, emphasizes the key problem with the Apple market. When Apple does something stupid, as in this case, there's no competitor where we can take our business.
And if Apple plans to bring out a touch with camera before Christmas, they need to tell us. Well-informed users are already ticked off about touches without cameras. Uninformed users are going to get ticked off when their camera-less touch is superseded by one with a camera in a couple of months. I know someone who refuses to upgrade her Adobe software for a similar reason.
In short, Apple owes customers an explanation for the dreadful screwup. Will touches have cameras and, if so, when?
I do think that it's surprising that the iPod touch didn't get a camera, because it seems like a good fit.
But does "Apple owe customers an explanation for the dreadful screwup"? No. Apple builds the products it wants to build, and we have the option of buying them or not.
Maybe the hardware wasn't ready yet. Maybe Apple didn't want to give a device that doesn't have a persistent connection to the Internet a camera, since people would want to take a picture and upload it right away. Maybe it wants to keep the camera as an iPhone-only feature. I don't know.
Maybe Apple screwed up royally. But I would bet it has a good reason for the omission (one that we probably won't know), since Apple is almost always on the ball with stuff like this. We all thought Apple had really made a mistake by releasing the iPod in the first place; see how that turned out.
Well, I disagree that Apple owes you, or anyone, an explanation. that said, the lack of cameras on the iPod Touch line is, according to the rumor mill, a production issue. The iPod is so thin, they are having issues fitting it in, and they don't want to move it to the center, thicker, part of the iPod.
It's not so much that I have to have my entire music collection with me at all times -- it's just that I don't want to spend time deciding in advance what portion of my music library I might want to listen to on any given day. I have a lot of different tastes and I can't always predict in advance what I'd like to hear; it's easier just to throw everything on there and be able to decide on the spur of the moment.
My library isn't *that* big, but it has just about filled up my old 30 GB iPod. Now I have a choice between a 64 GB iPod touch and an 160 GB iPod classic. I'm leaning towards the touch, because it's more versatile, but it's also more expensive...
It's hard to pass up the iTouch, and I expect this will be the last refresh of the "Classic" iPod we'll see. The iTouch has a much larger screen, wifi, external (albeit crummy) speakers, runs thousands and thousands of apps, checks your email, loads websites, &c &c. MUCH more functionality.
I load up my old 5G iPod with all my audiobooks and gave it to my kid. I never used it, and I only had a 16GB iTouch.