For those keen to get their hands on Apple's newest must-have toy, but without ditching their existing phone, the iPod Touch is looking like a better proposition than an iPhone. Here's why.
We've known about the iPhone, officially, for nine months now. Since going on sale in June in the US, the iPhone racked up one million sales in its first 74 days on the market, and it's still selling. While many phones come packed with features, the iPhone's functionality, user interface, marketing, chic design and Apple's X-factor has made it an instant hit.
Then Apple announced the iPod Touch, which offers many of the same functions the iPhone, including iPod music playback, the Safari browser, Wi-Fi, support for YouTube, pictures and videos. Who says you need to buy an iPhone to enjoy (most of) its benefits? Here's our top 10 reasons to buy an iPod Touch instead of an iPhone.
1. Why wait?
By opting for a Touch, you don't have to wait for Apple's so-called "breakthrough user experience". The Touch is shipping now in Australia, unlike the iPhone which will be released over here in "early 2008" -- so, anytime before July, then.
2. Blunt edges
The first iPhone to be released in Australia will most likely still be 2G. Who knows how long it will actually take until a 3G or HSDPA 3.5G model will surface? Patience, guys ... the battery isn't strong enough yet, according to Jobs.
At the UK launch of the iPhone, Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed 3G chipsets are still too power hungry to be used in the iPhone: "Right now you make a really big trade off going to 3G -- and that's really bad battery life," he said. Huh? It's now possible to get two days of battery life out of a 3G phone and that includes using it as an MP3 player.
3. Sign your life away
With the Touch, you can "take it away, no more to pay", as they say. You won't have to sign-up for a 24-month contract with a service provider, which could well be Telstra. And, if the incumbent gets the exclusive rights, you can be sure of being shackled to one of the less competitive plans on the market.
4. Repair woes
If your Touch breaks -- which is less likely given its solid state storage -- you can send it away to be repaired and not overly feel its loss. If the same thing were to happen to the iPhone, which is likely to be your main form of communication, the suffering will be much more apparent.
5. Storage shortages
While it's still not enough for most storage-hungry consumers, you'll get double the storage -- from 8GB to 16GB -- with the Touch, and for the same price (based on current US and European pricing).
You could buy a Touch overseas for a cheaper price than shopping for one in Australia, and not have to worry about trying to hack it -- unlike the iPhone -- or risk having your mobile turn into a brick, or have its warranty voided. On the flipside, if you buy an iPhone in Australia and move overseas, you might have to pay out your contract to unlock the phone.
7. Near enough is good enough
The iPod Touch does almost everything the iPhone can do: play songs, browse the Web, YouTube and iTunes Music Store, view pictures and more. It does, however, miss out on a few additional applications: widgets, e-mail support, use as a removable hard drive, and, of course, mobile connectivity.
8. It's a newer toy
The iPod Touch is a more recent device and, while there's no hard evidence to suggest it, there's a possibility that Apple has ironed out any manufacturing issues since its first multi-touch device, the iPhone, debuted.
Apple hasn't had the best track record with its first generation products, such as the battery issues that dogged third generation iPod, battery recalls on laptops or anecdotal problems with the MacBook Pro.
9. Cheaper bottom line
Don't need 16GB of storage? Then buy an 8GB Touch which comes in significantly cheaper than an iPhone. Over the Pacific, the 8GB Touch is selling for US$299 while -- even after a US$200 price drop -- the iPhone is US$399. Thank goodness Apple ditched the 4GB model.
In the UK, the story is much the same, at 199 pounds ($AU457) for the 8GB Touch and 269 pounds (AU$618) for the iPhone. If that's anything to go buy, we can expect to see a similar trend in Australia.
10. Looks can be deceiving
The iPod Touch, at a glance, looks just like the iPhone. So why go to the effort of getting an iPhone when you can fool all your friends and colleagues into thinking you're on top of the gadget trend by getting an iPhone imported from overseas.