iPod, iPhone... What's the difference?
And indeed, all fans didn't have to wait too long before iPod touch came from Job's pocket as "one more thing". Although it won't be in stores until late September, it draws almost as much attention as iPhone. So, did we get the untouchable market leader?
iPod touch is smaller than iPhone, but just a bit and at the first you can't tell which is which. Seasoned Apple fans will notice that iPod touch is smaller for a fraction of inch and it lack a built-in speaker. If one looks closer he will see that the sides are not brushed aluminum but black, and headphone port is on the bottom, not on the top.
The interface if naturally the same as the one under the iPhone hood, and that is understandable considering the effort put in its development. Thus, we have same "finger playing" interface. One tap on album cover will flips cover and show the album contents. Tap Music and you'll get play list, songs, and videos... Tap particular track and - surprise! - it will be played. All that work as on iPhone, in portrait and landscape mode, automatically switching between the two.
The new iPod is enriched with additional applications: Safari, YouTube, Calendar, Calculator and Clock.
The only significant difference is lack of communications capabilities. iPod is not a phone so there are no comm applications like Stocks or Maps. You can use web mail via Safari, but that's of course just workaround.
Now, a few words about technical specifications. iPod touch has very good display with diagonal of 3.5 inch and resolution 480x360 pixels. The songs you listen can be in AAC format, Protected AAC, MP3, Audible, Apple Loseless, AIFF and WAV. In other words: Every major format can be used. The video capabilities are equally impressive. The files in H.264 and MPEG 4, in variety of qualities and coding types, iPod touch will show.
iPod touch can be connected to Mac or PC and it requires iTunes to be presented on the computer. The built-in lithium ion battery will play music for up 22 hours, and videos for up to 5 hours, while full-charge time is 3 hours. Those are very good results. The new Apple player will be sold around the world, so the software within supports additional languages and keyboard layouts.
There is no doubt that iPod touch is exciting new device from "design factory". But, iPod touch and iPhone are similar in so many ways, the only difference being the phone part, the question about future naturally arises. Why would someone wanted to buy two practically identical devices? The iPod touch it "scaled down" iPhone, and what is the reason for carrying around two devices with 90 percent of functions the same in both of them? I see no reason for that.
Will iPhone and iPod merge into one device in the future? Only Steve Jobs knows that (if!), and the business model behind two very similar devices is hard to comprehend. At the end, with business model or without it, there is another beautifully designed piece of Apple hw/sw and many reasons for Apple aficionados to visit the nearest store. ■
More inside POST