Last-Minute Fourth-Generation iPod touch Details (And 3G / VoIP Rumors) | iLounge Backstage

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Last-Minute Fourth-Generation iPod touch Details (And 3G / VoIP Rumors)

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010
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So here are a handful of details we’ve heard from a couple of solid sources regarding the fourth-generation iPod touch, which we believe to be accurate:

* The Sleep/Wake button has shifted from the top left of the device over to the top right, mimicing its placement on the iPhone family.

* The camera is below the Sleep/Wake button, with a microphone pinhole off to its right.

* Volume buttons appear to be separate from one another rather than one piece, but stay in the same general position as in the second- and third-generation iPod touch models, as do the Dock Connector port and headphone port on bottom.

* It is slightly thinner than the second- and third-generation iPod touch. The rear casing has corner and side radiuses that are, as we previously noted, MacBook Pro lid-like, and the center does not bulge, so it can rest flat on a table like the first-generation iPod touch. What used to be a soft curve of the rear shell that wrapped around to surround the front glass is gone.

Here is some stuff that we’ve been hearing but not posting over the last week because it has remained really sketchy—note that we are not making any claims as to its accuracy.

* Claim: Apple wants to give the iPod touch an optional 3G cellular data feature and has readied a second version with a micro SIM slot like the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. According to a new and untested source, who is mirroring speculation we’ve heard from others, Apple wants to make the iPod touch an iPhone without cellular voice service.

* Claim: Apple is giving the iPod touch a built-in VoIP phone application for both voice and FaceTime video calling. We received screenshots purporting to show the iPod touch “Phone” application and its settings features, running on a Retina Display no less, but they appeared to have been Photoshopped, and a number of little details led us to question the claims. While Apple’s plans to add FaceTime software, a microphone, and camera to the iPod touch 4G are locks at this point, and iOS 4’s background support for VoIP makes this feature entirely possible in any device running the OS, it would be exceptionally bold for the company to offer a full-fledged Phone application—complete with Voicemail, Call Forwarding, and Call Waiting—as a bonus for iPod touch users.

But Apple has known to be bold. And what would look like a slap in the face to cellular voice providers really would be offset by customers’ new demands for cellular data plans, plus VoIP’s roughly 1.3MB per minute data drain on whatever cellular data plan you pick. Common limited 250MB data plans would offer under 200 minutes of calling per month, with around 1500 minutes for a 2GB plan, assuming you did nothing else with the services. Video calling with FaceTime—assuming it was allowed over a given 3G network—would eat four or five times as much data. The aforementioned untested source claims Apple will host the VoIP servers, an extension of the matchmaking servers it’s already using for FaceTime.

The images above are some of the ones we received and, as noted, are of questionable veracity. In any case, we’ll know more this afternoon.

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Comments

1

I guess I just don’t understand why Apple has been making the iPod Touch more and more like the iPhone…isn’t the whole point of the iPod to PLAY MUSIC!???  This line is becoming an iPhone in every way except for the “phone” part, which seems stupid.  I have both an iPhone and an iPod (160 GB classic)...I use the iPod SOLELY for music and the iPhone for the phone/camera/apps.  While I can see the utility in one device that can do it all, doesn’t that sort of already fall under iPhone, since they can play music as well with the iPod app? 

iPod Touch seems, at this late moment, to be unnecessary, in my opinion…

Posted by DrBlur on September 1, 2010 at 9:00 AM (PDT)

2

It’s feature bloat!  It’s just like cameras in phones.  Someone thought it was a neat idea, and everyone jumped on the bandwagon.  Now try to find a cell phone without a camera.

Posted by Will on September 1, 2010 at 9:07 AM (PDT)

3

I agree with what you’re saying, but my point was, the iPhone is already a “do-it-all” device…phone, internet, email, apps, music, camera…now they’re moving the iPod line into that by having it do everything EXCEPT the phone part…seems stupid.  Not really an iPod anymore, is it?

I love my iPod Classic because it does one thing (store/play music) and does it great.  That’s why I bought it (and the one before it), not because it does all the other stuff.

Posted by DrBlur on September 1, 2010 at 9:13 AM (PDT)

4

I have a dumb phone with a cheap monthly plan. I love iPhone and its features, but I can not pay the AT&T bill. Sounds like iPod touch is perfect for people like me.

Posted by Luis on September 1, 2010 at 9:27 AM (PDT)

5

DrBlur, there are MANY, MANY people out there who either can’t afford an iPhone contract or just like an iPod with all the features of iPhone minus the phone part. This addition of a camera- if rumors are true- is an excellent move on Apple’s part. If you read reviews on sites like Amazon, it’s probably one of the most requested features on the iPod Touch. I’d bet that this addition alone will prompt many users to upgrade.

Posted by Gulliver on September 1, 2010 at 9:29 AM (PDT)

6

i have sti mobile prepaid. my monthly phone costs are less than $10. for me, a wifi/nettoy is all i need.

this combo limits my costs. i don’t like talking on the phone, i wouldn’t use an iphone…

d

Posted by dave on September 1, 2010 at 10:11 AM (PDT)

7

I have to agree with some of the other readers. I cannot afford the service of AT&T. I pay only 30 dollars a month for my blackberry which comes with unlimited text and internet. Why would I buy an iphone and pay 100+ dollars a month when I can save money. I love my ipod touch and I am very excited they are improving it more to be like the iphone. Not all of us make thousands of dollars a month to afford 100+ or 200+ phone bills. Ridonculous! If all you need your ipod for is music then do that no one said you had to have an ipod touch.

Posted by Gemma on September 1, 2010 at 10:39 AM (PDT)

8

They will not put 3G on iPod because it will make it just as phone, with new free services that Google and Skype provide + an Hack to system, it would become an iphone which is cheaper than original iPhone.
But They may provide VoIP with the new Google feature that uses google voice (i forgot name), it can offer an Phone which can be used in US and some other countries.

Posted by Rohan on September 2, 2010 at 7:25 AM (PDT)

9

Well, if I just used it as a phone where Wifi connection is available, then the data drainage would not matter.  Combine it with Google Voice and you have a phone.  I don’t have a camera phone at home.  iPod Touch might as well serve as one.  And while talking on it put it on the TV via bluetooth if wanted.  Wouldn’t that be cool?

Posted by ed on September 2, 2010 at 11:33 PM (PDT)

10

What some comments are conflating is that Apple provides the software and hardware for current iPhone users.  VOIP would be a very intelligent addition to their business model and also allow them to play a more centralized role (which is part of the Apple experience) in managing defective aspects of service.

They do, indeed, receive a small fraction of the monthly rate plans but capitalism is about extracting the most possible profits - they have not met this test.

If VOIP service were offered, let’s recall that a few positional motivations:

1.  prior to the termination of the AT&T contract, this would provide substantial leverage to either increase per contract fee or choose to execute the termination of their relationship.

2.  Carriers are not just “traditional” telecomm names; Skype, Vonage and those who are currently in labs developing capabilities will eventually shift the market model.  Recall, markets follow new models or businesses die.  Only a few years ago, incoming calls on all mobile devices cost money per minute after the first 60 seconds - regardless of the number of “minutes.”

3.  VOIP as a future model has only Skype as the primary brand recognition.  Developing the technology (and Skype the requisitely more expensive - currently $2.99 per month - plans) for a mobile device would dominate the market.

4.  Even if (3) is true, most smartphone users are locked into 24 month agreements.  If you will recall, lately the early termination fee on many smartphones has increased to over $300.  Telecomm leaders understand that there is soon to be very intense competition and want to increase the penalties for defection. 

5.  (This is a weighty point) Many users follow devices, not carriers.  Even if all of the above speculation were true, Apple is not prevented from developing a new “jPhone” and restricting it’s use to carrier XYZ.  Just as with the wide reports of users enjoying everything about the iPhone except AT&T - where the technology leads, consumers will follow.

For those of us fortunate enough to breathe at this moment, it is a tremendously exciting era in the realm of communications.

Posted by David Breitzmann on September 5, 2010 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

11

Jeremy,
How can I use a 4 G ipod touch to forward calls to my cell phone? The 4 G ipod touch and my cell phone will always be in Nicaragua. Thank you Michael

Posted by Michael Donahue on September 19, 2010 at 10:02 AM (PDT)

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