New iPod questions

As everyone probably knows by now, the entire lineup of iPods was updated today. We now have:

  • The iPod shuffle, pretty much as it was before but with new colors
  • The next-generation Nano, made very stubby and given video playback capabilities, and new colors
  • The iPod Classic, which is the “old” iPod but with an all-metal case, a few new software features, and an upper storage capacity of 160 GB (!)
  • Most significantly: the iPod Touch, which has the same form factor and technological features as the iPhone but without the phone.

There was also an announcement of a $200 price drop on the iPhone (which has some early adopters up in arms) and a wireless version of the iTunes Store.

I’ve been itching to update my (n-3)rd generation 20 GB iPod for a while now. I’ve got some questions for Apple and for anybody out there who cares to comment. These aren’t intended to be facetious or rhetorical — I’m really interested in answers.

  1. Can you really watch video on a 2″ screen without driving yourself blind, crazy, or both?
  2. How come the iPod Touch doesn’t have a camera?
  3. How come the iPod Touch doesn’t have Google Maps on it, as it does on the iPhone?
  4. How come the iPod Touch doesn’t have a Mail application on it, as it does on the iPhone?
  5. What’s with the small hard drive capacities of both the iPhone and the iPod touch? The iPhone still only goes up to 8 Gb and the iPod Touch only to 16 Gb. That last would be just barely enough for my music and podcasts, and forget about adding video to that.
  6. Other than disk capacity, why exactly should I spend $399 to get the 16 Gb iPod Touch when the same money will get me an 8 Gb iPhone with, you know, a phone on it? (And email, Google Maps, and a camera?)
  7. And very importantly, why isn’t the educational discount on these iPods showing up when I go to the Apple Store? Are they not offering discounts on these things?

Of all the stuff announced today, for me the one that looks most attractive is the iPod Classic — quadruple the disk space of my current iPod, video playback capabilities (on a screen only 0.5″ smaller than the iPod Touch), and a decent price tag (in fact, the same price I paid for my current iPod). Who needs bells and whistles?

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6 responses to “New iPod questions

  1. I can answer point #1. I got a video iPod [30gb] for its storage capacity and thought the video capabilities would be useless. It’s surprisingly crisp and I don’t have to strain to view the screen. I’ve watched a few full-length movies on it and it was enjoyable.

    That may just be me, though. Others might have found the screen too small.

  2. virusdoc

    I can attest that the video is quite viewable. Your mind becomes immersed in the sensory experience fairly quickly, no matter what size the screen is. I can’t tell the difference in the (emotional) experience of watching an episode of Lost on my iPod vs my 50″ bigscreen. I notice the quality of the sound much more than the video (and the sound output is quite good on the ipod for TV as well).

  3. wunderkid

    the ipod touch has a 3.5″ screen, the one on the classic is 2.5″. do your math again.

  4. I thought I read that the Classic has a 3″ screen. So my math is fine, thanks, although my reading skills might need work.

  5. virusdoc

    In answer to #6): because if you buy the ipod touch, you own it outright and can enjoy it free until it dies. If you buy the iphone, you’re going to pay a minimum of $60/month for two years to use any of the phone or data features, bringing the total cost of ownership to over $1800 for that period.

    Perhaps it’s worth it if you already have cell phone service at that price, and if you really use that much cell air time. I pay about $8 a month for cell service, so I would never switch to an iphone. But the ipod touch is pretty cool, and since I was about to buy a Palm T/X to sync my calendar and email with, it might be a valid choice for a little more money.

  6. I think I had arrived at that same answer myself once I started seriously looking at the iPhone (which was shortly after writing this post). I think there is actually a $49.99/month plan for the iPhone for an individual. But it includes stuff that I would never use such as 200 text messages a month — the only text messages I ever send are queries to Google Calendar or updates to Twitter, and you don’t need to do that if you have a web browser on the phone. If you want a family plan with the iPhone, which I would, then you’re up to $60/month minimum and that is just breaking the bank for us.

    I think I’m still staying out of the early adopter crowd at this point. Get me an iPod touch with >= 30 Gb of memory for a <$300 price and I’ll be getting the wallet out. Until then I’ll just keep what I have.