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iWant! iWant. iWant? September 9, 2007

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Odds and Ends, Technology.

As if the current line of iPods weren’t good enough reason to go out and buy one, Apple just had to announce new ones in time for the holiday season.

In all, the new additions to the iPod family offer updated features that range from the cosmetic to the pretty far out. The recently dubbed “iPod Classic” gets an all-metal casing, the iPod Nano now comes in more colors and boasts a two-inch video screen, and the entire lineup gets a new sibling in the iPod Touch, a phoneless iPhone and the undisputed eye candy of the bunch. Not only that, but in announcing these models Apple also decided to drop the price of the iPhone, prompting the company to give early adopters a rebate in the hopes of smoothing over any ill feelings (which brings to mind the anecdote of what happens when the man with experience meets the man with the money: the man with the experience ends up with the money, and the man with the money ends up with the experience).

Aside from guaranteeing that Apple will one again make a killing when these models hit the market, they also give consumers a wider range of choices to suit individual tastes, and at varying price points. Most of these price points are just about right: the new and improved Nano starts at $150 (4GB), while the iPod Classic — perhaps the real winner as far as value for money is concerned — begins at $250 for an 80GB model.

For my part, the real question is whether the iPod Touch is a worthy investment at $300 to $400.

Presently, I own a third generation iPod and have been thinking of upgrading to a newer model for quite some time now. The unit is still serviceable, so if I do take the plunge it will have to be in favor of something that has more to offer. On the surface, the iPod Touch fits the bill: apart from the added functionality of video playback and a touch-screen interface, it has built-in Wifi and a browser, making it practically a PDA. For me this is a real plus, as I’ve been in the market for a portable internet-enabled gadget that I can take along with me on trips where it would be inconvenient to bring a laptop.

The problem, however, is that the iPod Touch offers these features in exchange for considerably less memory: either 8GB or 16GB worth only. While that’s nothing to sneeze at per se, it’s certainly a drop in the bucket compared to what the Classic model (or my own existing unit) has to offer at considerably less. What this means, really, is that this latest iteration of the media player will be less an all-in-one repository for digital media (in its present incarnation anyway) and more a nifty toy that would be nice to have if one can afford it. Consider my situation: my digital library — mostly CDs but a fair amount of Podcasts, too — already pushes nearly 18GB. Of course, there is a good portion of that which I don’t listen to and merely dumped into my iPod because I could. While I’m more than confident it won’t be that hard to filter through my content in order to get it well under 16GB should I invest in this newer model, it still doesn’t leave much room for pictures, videos and storage space. In the consumer’s calculus this also matters, especially since we can all be fairly certain Apple will come up with a beefed up version in the not too distant future.

Either way, I’m quite certain that these new models will rouse me from my self-imposed tech embargo sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’ll have to give some serious thought as to whether that shiny new toy is worth the price tag that comes along with it.



1. Curious Me - September 9, 2007

Went to an Apple Store to check out the new Nano’s. They are incredibly small and thin. Smaller than a post-it note! But kind of small to watch videos in my opinion, 2 inches? Loved the post, maybe the pro’s would outweigh the con’s about your purchase of the iPod Touch .. 🙂 .. it is quite shiny and a great new toy to play around with!

2. Brian L. Belen - September 9, 2007

Yes, the Nano’s screen is a wee bit small, but it won’t be too bad for the occasional video podcast. Anything longer may be too painful to bear. Actually, I feel that way about all these mobile gadgets…wouldn’t want to have to watch anything at length on screens that small.

As for the iPod Touch, the pros do most certainly appear to outweigh the cons, although I’m also quite sure that one way or another it’s something I’ll regret in the morning (what with the cost). What can I say? A guilty consumer, me.

But what a toy it would be, eh?

Thanks for reading! I hope you drop by again soon.

3. Objects of My Obsession « BRAIN DRAIN - October 19, 2007

[…] The iPod touch has occupied an inordinate amount of my attention over the past few weeks. When first announced, it quickly jumped to the top of my “must! buy! now!” list — until it became […]

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