iPod Touch: This Thing is Going to Be Huge!

by Joey deVilla on September 5, 2007

The phone functionality of the iPhone has been the least interesting thing to me, especially given:

  • The “not-yet” availability of iPhone service here in Canada
  • The ridiculously high cost mobile data rates here in Canada
  • The fact that I have a perfectly good phone — a rather nice Motorola KRZR that I got only earlier this year

I care even less about its built-in camera. I’m one of those guys who carries a half-decent point-and-shoot digicam wherever I go, and until phone cameras get better, I’m going to stick with my Lumix.

For me, the really interesting things about the iPhone have been the functions that are currently performed by my trusty Powerbook and iPod nano:

  • Its PDA-like features
  • Audio and video playback
  • WiFi and Safari

The web browser has been of particular interest to me. In the age of Web 2.0/Ajax/web applications/whatever you want to call it, having net access and a browser as fully-featured and good-looking as Safari makes the iPhone the mobile computing platform that tablet computers wish they were.

If only the iPhone didn’t come saddled with the phone (and the commensurate cost)…

iPod Touch on the big screen at the “Beat Goes On” Apple keynote
Photo courtesy of Gizmodo Live.

My wish has been granted! At the “The Beat Goes On” event held today, Steve Jobs announced the iPod Touch, which for all intents and purposes is the iPhone minus the phone and camera. There are two models:

  • An 8GB model selling for US$299
  • A 16GB model selling for US$399

I’m sure you’re going to see lists of its features all over the Web, so I’ll skip that part. Instead, I’ll simply list some thoughts on this nifty new gadget:

  • That pre-emptive Zune price drop looks pretty pathetic now. I’m reminded of Sean Connery’s line from The Untouchables: Microsoft just brought a knife to a gun fight.
  • Early iPhone adopters who got the 4GB might get that IIvx’d feeling. The Mac IIvx is a special computer in Mac lore in that it was a machine that was undone by cost-saving shortcuts and getting discontinued a mere 4 months after its release. People who shelled out US$600 for the 8GB iPhone might be annoyed that a mere 2 months later, the price has been dropped to $399. However, that very special IIvx feeling is for people who bought the 4GB model, which I assume will be discontinued.
  • Remember what Steve Yegge wrote about JavaScript? To referesh your memory:
    “JavaScript is probably the most important language in the world today. Funny, huh? You’d think it would be Java or C++ or something. But I think it just might be JavaScript.”

    Given that the iPod Touch is a very portable Ajax platform and likely to influence the design of other mobile browsers, if JavaScript wasn’t the most important programming language in the world when Steve said so, it is now.

  • Remember the promise of tablet computers? It just got much closer to being fulfilled, if in an unexpected way.

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