With a calculating eye on the calendar I beat the pack by positing, some two weeks ago,
what iPhone features might migrate to a next-generation iPod. Now that this iPod is a reality in the form of the
iPod touch, let’s check on the clarity of my crystal ball:
Features that will migrate from the iPhone to the iPod touch
Touchscreen interface Scooooooooooorrre!
Headset with built-in controls Nuh uh!
As I said in the original article, my comrade-in-arms, Dan Frakes, wanted additional buttons on a touch-screen iPod because people tend to fiddle with an iPod’s controls when it’s tucked away in a pocket. A touch-screen interface makes this impossible. The iPhone has physical volume buttons on the side and a headset that allows you to pause, play, and skip forward or back via the microphone switch so it’s capable of a limited form of pocket control.
But design is important to Apple and I couldn’t believe that it was going to compromise a touch-screen iPod’s sleek design by plastering it with buttons. And I was right. Where I was wrong was proposing that Apple would provide some method, however limited, for controlling the iPod remotely. That’s not the case. Not only does the iPod touch come with the standard iPod headphones (the ones without any kind of control) but the iPod touch lacks the iPhone’s physical volume controls.
I characterize this requirement that you pull the iPod touch from your pocket or its case to navigate the interface or change the volume as “a bummer.” Apple likely considers it either a “rich third-party opportunity” or “our yet-unannounced new iPod touch Remote Headset will make the perfect holiday stocking stuffer.”
Keyboard Nailed it, though the keyboard didn’t inspire Apple to add a Search field to the iPod area as I’d hoped.
Contacts and Calendars Ding! Bonus points for suggesting that you could create contacts and events on the device.
Photo application Right again.
Audio recording Unknown. The iPod touch lacks a microphone so that’s out. And Apple hasn’t said whether the touch will support audio recording via a third-party utility.
Manual media management Another unknown. Fingers crossed.
Yes! Apple’s Component AV Cable and Composite AV Cables make this possible.
Notes No! Classify this one under “rich hacker opportunity” that I’m nearly certain we’ll see within two weeks of the iPod touch’s release.
Features that won’t make the cut
Wi-Fi Horribly, terribly, embarrassingly wrong.
Points for suggesting that purchasing iTunes music directly from the iPod over Wi-Fi would be cool, but I frankly boned it on the rest. I was certain that Apple wouldn’t want to cross the Wi-Fi line because it would muddy the distinction between the iPod and iPhone and potentially pull sales from the latter.
Where I made my bloomer was in suggesting that Wi-Fi was the line in the sand. It appears that Apple parses this one a little finer so that personal communication is the dividing line. So, pulling content—either iTunes tracks or YouTube video—is on the acceptable side of the line. Once you want to use the device to communicate with another person—as you’d do with SMS, email, or a phone call—you have to move to the iPhone.
However, the inclusion of Safari blurs this line. With Safari you can still use email as long as that service provides webmail, as does .Mac, Yahoo, and Gmail. And a number of web-based IM clients have been developed for the iPhone that should work just as well with the iPod touch. And once you have an IM client, your need for SMS lessens (but doesn’t disappear as you can use Wi-Fi only with the iPod touch—no AT&T or EDGE for you).
Camera Right on.
Camera connectivity Unknown. I think my argument that this is an under-utilized, and therefore unnecessary, option is a good one, but we don’t know for sure.
The incompatible headphone jack Praise god, I was right. No headphone adapter required to use the headphones I prefer.
All in all, not a bad prognostication (though we’ll just skip over my assurance that The Beatles at The Store was a foregone conclusion, thank you very much).
So, how’d you do?