Miscellaneous Observations Regarding the Gadgets That Were (and Were Not) Announced at Last Week’s Apple Event

The Low-End Touch

The new $229 8 GB iPod Touch is a real new-generation device — Retina Display, dual cameras, etc. In prior years, the low-end Touch was based on the prior year’s new models. I suspect most people will spend the extra $70 to get 32 GB of storage, but if you don’t need the storage, this new low-end Touch is a great deal compared to previous years.

Differences Between iPod Touch and iPhone 4

The iPod Touch is, conceptually, a phone-less iPhone. No calls, no cellular data networking, but no two-year contract or monthly fees, either. But there are other differences. On the plus side for the Touch:

  • Thinner and lighter.
  • 64 GB option.

And here are the ways the new Touch is worse than the iPhone 4:

  • It has only 256 MB of RAM, compared to the iPhone 4’s 512. More RAM allows more web pages and apps to remain open at the same time.
  • The rear camera is pretty lame: less than one megapixel resolution, fixed focus, no way to adjust exposure (the front-facing camera is reportedly the same as the iPhone 4’s, though).
  • No GPS.
  • Ships with cheaper headphones, with no remote or microphone.
  • It has a high resolution 960 × 640 display, but it isn’t using IPS LED technology.1 It’s a good-looking display, but it doesn’t look as good as the iPhone 4’s. The iPhone 4 tech specs page claims an 800:1 contrast ratio and an oleophobic coating; the iPod Touch tech specs page mentions neither of those.

‘New Designs for Every Model’, Eh?

Steve Jobs claimed during the event that Apple had revamped the entire iPod lineup. But: the iPod Classic was neither updated nor removed from the lineup. It’s still there, still 160 GB, still available in both black and silver, and still $249.

The New Nano

Having played with the new Nano today in an Apple Store, it feels much more like a Shuffle with a touchscreen than a replacement for the previous Nano. I personally like the idea of a Shuffle with a screen, but those who love the old Nano may not like the new ones so much. For one thing, it just doesn’t display much information on screen at once. It’s not the smallest iPod display ever, but because everything needs to be big enough to provide for a reasonably-sized touch target, list rows are much larger than they were on click wheel iPods.

Also: it has a built-in pedometer.

The White iPhone 4

Not even mentioned, let alone shipped. Embarrassing.

  1. I’m not 100 percent sure it’s not technically an IPS display. Perhaps it is. But looking at them in person, they’re not as bright and don’t have as good a viewing angle as the iPhone 4. Again, it’s a good display — the Retina Display pixel resolution alone makes is great — but it’s not the same display as the iPhone 4’s. ↩︎