The future of the iPod touch always seems to be a hot topic for debate leading up to iPhone announcements. Every year analysts and journalists take a moment to lament about the future of the device, and whether or not it’s on a path to disaster, or if Apple is still trying to define exactly where the iPod touch fits into the mix.
As it stands now, the iPod touch could be considered the future of the iPod on one hand, or a hobbled iPhone on another. The dividing line is thin, but cases can certainly be made on either side of the argument. Technologically speaking, there are only a few things separating the iPod touch from the iPhone, the most obvious is 3G and cellular connectivity.
Today there’s a rumor floating around the Internet, from a poorly supported source, that the iPod touch could be getting 3G connectivity in an upcoming revision.
The original article appears to be in Dutch, so the translation using Google Translate is pretty weak; however, the gist is obvious:
[quote]The specifications of the new iPod Touch did not fully resource our report, but knew the person telling us that the iPod Touch 3G will contain … This will be as his work as the iPhone, where you have a 3G subscription from your ISP, then the SIM card into your iPod Touch key. The choice to add to 3G iPod Touch lineup is not even a very bad idea from Apple, it was obviously true. The only question is how this is received by the telecom farmers, since the use of Skype then will shoot up considerably.[/quote]
In short, the iPod touch, currently without 3G, will be getting 3G.
A connected world is something we all want, and getting 3G in our mobile devices is something that we should be striving towards, but we’re pretty skeptical that an iPod touch with 3G will be a reality in the short term, despite our secret desires for a carrier free world.
An iPod touch with 3G would inevitably come with the need for an additional data plan in most areas around the world. The question is whether or not an iPod touch 3G edition would provide enough utility for a user to purchase it over an iPhone.
As far as we can tell, the people we’ve polled with iPod touches usually purchase the device because they want an iOS device without all the extra carrier taxes of data plans and connectivity fees. They’ve taken the poor camera, terrible video camera features of the touch over an iPhone specifically because they don’t want to pay for another connected device. It’s not a universal reason, but it’s certainly a big one for most.
Here’s our take. If someone’s willing to pay for a basic cellphone, and an iPod touch with a 3G plan, why wouldn’t they opt for an iPhone to begin with? Wouldn’t users essentially be paying for an iPhone without the added advantage of making calls over the cellular network?
We know what you’re thinking. A 3G capable iPod touch could run on Skype, or another VOIP alternative that is cheaper and less of a hassle. You’re probably right, but you have to ask yourself if carriers are going to take that risk, just to provide users access to an iPod with 3G. We don’t see it happening any time soon, and we have a hard time seeing consumers living in a world where they can get the all benefits of a cellular phone, on a cellular network, with only having to pay for a data plan. Don’t get me wrong. We desperately want to get to that place, but the carriers won’t let that happen. They have way too much to lose at this point.