Here's a gadget that would make tons of consumers happy while likely angering some big wigs at mobile companies: an iPod touch 3G.
Dutch blog AppleSpot is (loosely) reporting that Apple could be introducing a 3G-enabled version of the iPod touch this September. The timing at least fits as that's when Apple usually rolls out new iPods, and the next generation of the iPhone is expected to be unveiled this fall as well.
However, I say "loosely" for a few reasons, namely there isn't a named source, there are very few details, and this page is translated by Google Translate. (Nothing against Google - it's just I don't speak Dutch, and Internet translations are never 100 percent accurate.)
Nevertheless, let's just think how awesome this iPod could be. Apple already has a similar offering in the form of the 3G-enabled iPad. The only thing that the iPod touch truly lacks when it is compared to the iPhone is 3G connectivity and the ability to make phone calls. (But seriously, how many of us even use the iPhone to make calls anymore. The reception is never stellar - especially if you live in San Francisco or New York City.)
Thus, the iPod touch would be an incredible bargain. If there was ever the need to make phone calls, users could just use Skype, Google Voice or another VoIP service over 3G or Wi-Fi. As for texting, with the pending arrival of iOS 5, which includes free texting between iOS devices on iMessage, that solves a problem for at least that specific demographic of mobile device owners.
Yet, it's a double-edged sword for mobile service providers. We could either see a spike in data plan subscriptions with AT&T and Verizon (and any other carrier Apple might partner with now that the door is open), or a severe drop in voice plans.
The latter is most likely. Nevertheless, given that both AT&T and Verizon have dropped unlimited data plans, this could still be a boon for those providers. Just think about the larger (and more expensive) data plans people might want and then all the overage charges when someone used Skype just a bit too much.
Personally, I would definitely switch over to a 3G iPod. I barely talk on the phone as it is, and I have over 4,000 rollover minutes. I just like my iPhone for the apps and Internet connectivity. It's also pretty.
An iPod touch 3G sounds like a lovely idea, but I won't believe it until I see it.
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