Why No Fries with the iPod touch?

by Chris Howard Sep 12, 2007

After nine months of anticipation, Apple finally released an iPod based on the iPhone form factor and interface. But for reasons unknown, Apple chose to leave off one or two essential applications, and according to the latest rumor, has neutered others.

You get the feeling that if Apple bought McDonald’s they would cut the fries from the combo meals. I hope you didn’t want fries with your new iPod touch!

The iPod touch is a lovely device, and I have to out myself as being wrong. I was among those who said Apple wouldn’t release a device like it within 12 months of the iPhone.

Hindsight is a great thing, and now I can see why Apple might have done so. Certainly there’s a big market for it, but the two devices could cannibalize each other. Which, at the end of the day, matters not to Apple, as they still get a sale. And Steve said as much in a recent interview with USA Today.

However, in markets still waiting for the iPhone—such as Europe and Asia—it will be interesting to see how the iPod touch sells. Personally, I’m having a dilemma over whether to get an iPod touch or wait for the iPhone. And a young woman I spoke to at an electronics retailer said she’d be waiting.

Actually, the more more I find out about the touch, the more I lose interest in it.

I saw one reader comment on a web forum last week that the iPod touch is a PDA. I suspect, though, he’s in for a big disappointment. Apple isn’t pushing it that way, so it’s hard to know if it really is. In fact, Apple’s demo video didn’t even mention iCal or Address Book, two key apps on a PDA. And rumors have it there’ll be no ability to input calendar entries—which is upsetting a lot of people who pre-ordered specifically expecting that feature.

But the big thing missing—the fries if you will—is email. Its absence is the deciding factor in my not buying an iPod touch.

For a device that has internet access, the lack of an email client leaves one speechless. So what if you can do it online through Safari? An offline reader is essential in a portable, internet-connected device. Plus, using a browser, you have to manually check your email. Also, if you have multiple email accounts, using a browser really starts getting cumbersome.

In my part of the world, wireless hotspots are rare, so I wouldn’t be able to use the browser or email much anyway. But if hotspots were available, then I’d be eternally frustrated at having an internet device without email.

Say that again a couple of times: “an internet device without email.” Have you ever heard of anything stupider? A car without seats? A combo meal without fries? A computer without a mouse? A house without a bathroom? An internet device without email?

Possibly, someone will port the iPhone’s email client to the iPod touch, and hopefully that will force Apple to include it.

Unfortunately, this adds to the dilemma. Do I wait for the touch to get an email client? Or just get an iPod classic? And do I then forget about the iPhone?

But if the rumor of the inability to input to the calendar and address book proves true, the decision is easy. No touch. Without those PDA abilities, the difference between a touch and an iPod classic narrows too much to justify the touch.

The interesting thing is, the lack of PDA type functions, such as calendar entry and email, stops me buying an iPod touch in preference to an iPod classic. But the absence of those from the touch wouldn’t influence my decision to buy an iPhone.

I’d buy an iPhone because it’s a phone with iPod features. But I would have bought a touch if it was an iPod with email and PDA features.

With the touch having no compelling features, and already owning an iPod, albeit sans video, I expect I’ll just buy nothing.

Steve was happy to appease the angry mob over the price cut; hopefully he’ll appease the rowdy rabble over the lack of email and calendar entry.

Come on, Steve, mate, give us the fries with that iPod touch.


  • I see Eric Dahl at the Washington Post said:

    Not all of the iPhone’s apps made it to the iPod Touch. I can begin to see the rationale for omitting the Mail and Google Maps applications—both would work better with the iPhone’s always-on data connection

    If I’m not mistaken, a web browser “would work better with [...] always on data connection.” And yet Apple has included Safari.

    The reality is Mail is much more useful, in fact is usable 100% of the time, on a sometimes connected device than Safari is, which is only usable when the connection is live.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Sep 18, 2007 Posts: 1209
  • In what sounded anti-climactic for the Touch. Steve, during his Q & A at the London Regent ÓBoutique: courtesy Engadget.

    Q: Were you aware that the iPod touch was coming out when you were negotiating the iPhone deal?

    Steve: “Well, one’s a phone, and one’s not. The iPod touch is training wheels for the iPhone.

    Ha! I figured so.

    Robomac had this to say on Sep 18, 2007 Posts: 846
  • I want the Touch’s interface plus the Classic’s storage at the Nano’s price.  That’s the perfect iPod. -Bbx

    I agree.  I have been dying for a higher memory iPod for well over a year.  I have roughly 200GB worth of content, and having several iPods doesn’t really cut it.
    I love my iPhone, despite the issues (I filled my capacity within one minute of activation), but I just need more memory.
    When I read about the iPod with 120GB, I was thrilled.  However, that feeling was short-lived.  After watching video on the beautiful iPhone screen, how am I able to watch content on an iPod?  In addition, the click wheel which I love has sadly been downgraded in my heart by the magical touch screen. 
    That being said, the iPod Touch excited me until I learned that the maximum capacity is 16GB.  There is no way that even a Mac girl like myself can rationalize that purchase. 
    *sigh*  I guess I will be purchasing the iPod Classic.

    bluegirl had this to say on Oct 04, 2007 Posts: 19
  • When I read about the iPod with 120GB, I was thrilled


    Benji had this to say on Oct 04, 2007 Posts: 927
  • The iPod Touch sounds like it’s less functional than a Palm IIIe with a Nano velcroed to the back of it.  Forget it.  I’ll stick with my Nano and my Blackberry, and I only have the Nano because it was a gift.  I still don’t see the extra value of an iPod compared to the many cheaper MP3 players.

    roystonlodge had this to say on Nov 09, 2007 Posts: 2
  • A few questions: 

    Is it possible to buy an iPhone without signing up for phone service? 

    Can you use iPhone’s bluetooth to connect a keyboard?

    Can you sync the email, address book, and calendar with Outlook?

    If the answer to these questions are all ‘yes’, then maybe $399 is worth it for a really good PDA with built-in MP3 player.

    To compare, the Palm TX is $299 but only has 100MB of memory built-in.  You would need to spend about $150 for an 8GB memory card to make them comparable, making the iPhone seem to be a better buy, except that there’s way more software available for the Palm (much of it Freeware) and you have the option of using a stylus, which is critical IMHO for a good PDA.

    Me, I’ll stick with my Nano and my Blackberry, even though I really miss the stylus and all the software I had on my old Palm IIIe.

    roystonlodge had this to say on Nov 09, 2007 Posts: 2
  • Latest iTouch update:

    1. SDK

    Finally, it is here and what a surprise. The SDK is a clone of OSX Leopard’s plus the Instruments needed for iPhone+iTouch simulation & debug. And meanwhile, Cocoa Touch is just Cocoa for Multitouch UI. All the same goodness in a smaller package.

    2. Enterprise and ActiveSync

    Well, well, well. I never would have imagined Apple licensing anything from the Red Empire. But this is the Enterprise we’re talking about.

    Exchange has all but conquered this space aside from small springklings from the likes of IBM Lotus middleware, various Java AS, Novell GroupWare, and some FOSS apps that mimic .Net/Exchange (Mono?).

    So, Apple has wisely chosen to paying a ransom for this privilege. This is the only way for the iPlatform to be taken seriously inside the corporate labyrinth where M$ excells. This is a small token for Apple to pay and eventually pursuade the suits to migrate to Apple solution someday (iCal Server+Mail+CalDAV+Bonjour+iWork) and that will boost Mac deployment throughout.

    Thanks M$ for licensing your Exchange conduit technology. Now, Apple has a toehold that you won’t be able to push around soon enough.

    3. Price & Features

    Unbeatable starting at $299 it is a very affordable micro-PC that when FW 2.0 is released this June, will be a phenomenal value.

    With every iPhone feature without the phone, it will have same iTunes App Store support. Apps will be price from $0 to very sensible.

    Games will cost less than platform games cost nowadays (average ~$20) but several times the fun factor due to its in-built accelerometer and touch UI.

    The iTouch will keep growing both in features included, free & at-minimal-cost updates, and soon apps written by all of us at your fingertips - literally.

    Robomac had this to say on Mar 27, 2008 Posts: 846
  • Page 9 of 9 pages « First  <  7 8 9
You need log in, or register, in order to comment