Back when Apple announced the iPhone, I made a post lamenting it’s phone-ness, presuming this would lead to major contract requirements or a very high price. What I was hoping for was “a ‘super iPod’, with a large touchscreen interface, which maybe happens to make phone calls too…” Substitute “have WiFi” for “make phone calls” (which is more desirable, dunno why I didn’t put that in at the time), and whaddayaknow… it’s the recently announced iPod Touch, and £200 for the 8Gb model isn’t a bad price. It remains to be seen if my assumption about iPhone pricing is borne out, as it hasn’t even made it to the UK yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 8Gb iPhone at the same price as a 16Gb iPod Touch if you get it *with* a 12 or 24 month contract, and a good £100+ more without.
8 or 16Gb isn’t enough to replace my 60Gb iPod for playing music just yet (though to think, there was a time when a 20Gb Zen Jukebox seemed to offer boundless capacity), but with that touch screen and WiFi browsing, it could well replace my current PDA… I think… maybe… It’s got the calendar and contacts; WiFi is a big plus, though the lack of Bluetooth for connecting up to a phone in areas with no WiFi is a shame. I don’t use my PDA for an awful lot else; ebook reading (sounds like a people are finding a few ways to do that on the iPhone, if not really ideal at the moment), synching web content for offline reading, jotting a few notes etc.
The iPod Touch announcement came at a particularly opportune time, as I was on the verge of getting (or at least thinking quite hard about being on the verge of getting) a Nokia N800 “internet tablet”. Strangely for Nokia it’s not a phone, but offers WiFi and Bluetooth for connectivity on a Linux-based platform. In many ways, it’s technically superior to the iPod Touch, with a higher resolution screen, 2 SD card slots, Bluetooth, and a decent range of open source software. But… with a 4Gb slickly-interfaced iPod Touch being £50 less (the N800 only has 256Mb built in, though high capacity SD cards are pretty cheap), it doesn’t look nearly so attractive. Having a range of software available is all well and good, but I suspect much like the vast array of PalmOS software out there, I’d end up installing a few bits and pieces, going “hey, that’s cool, I can use VNC”, then never actually firing the application up again after that.
I’ve still not come to a firm decision one way or the other, but unless the iPod Touch has some major downsides, it could well be my next PDA (that isn’t a PDA, obviously). It would probably be sensible to wait for a second or third generation, to see what sort of hardware enhancements and software support it gets, but heck, where’s the fun in that?
Then again, after reading this interesting iPod Touch piece over on The Register, I noticed this review of the Archos 605 WiFi media player, with touchscreen… And then there’s those Windows smartphones with slideout QWERTY keyboards… and touchscreen GPS devices that play MP3s… and…