The iPhone, the iPod touch and me

So after we get a phone with an iPod, Apple rolls out an iPod without a phone.

I am pretty happy about that. Why? Well when Jobs unveiled the iPhone in January, I was one of the few in the Keynote who went “Ooo” when he started flicking and squeezing and tapping and doing all the other funky things that the new touch display allowed.

But at the same time I was unhappy because I had a sneaking feeling that when this new iPhone hit the streets it was not going to be cheap. Well it has hit the streets, then Apple made it cheaper, and in a move of good customer relations, it has now given early adopters some money back.

Yet the iPhone has not yet come out in the UK or Europe, and again I have a sneaking feeling that when it does it is still not going to be cheap. And nor will the airtime package it will be bundled with, be cheap, in my ever-so humble opinion.

So now Apple has introduced the iPod touch. It seems to have everything that the iPhone had except the phone bit and one or two other functions which were tied to the phone. And, at the moment, I am so close to actually slapping down the £269 Apple is asking us in the UK for the 16 gig model.

I say “so close” – but I am going to hold back, hard as it might be, when I actually get to play with the iPod touch.

16GB is just a little bit too small for my current iPod use—if they had opened the game with a 30GB model, I would have been in there with no hesitation. But I suspect, although I have been wrong before, that before Macworld Expo in January a larger capacity iPod touch may well be released. So I will wait and bide my time. Hard as it may be.

Why not just get the iPhone when it comes out? Well, I am not a big mobile phone fan. If truth be told I hate them. I became a Danger Sidekick II user (primarily for its net access) only because the SK was free and the 18 month contract was cheap—12 months at half cost and 6 months at full cost. Once the contract ended, T-Mobile asking me for £30 a month for my very low usage was too much. I ended the contract and got myself the Samsung D-900 on T-Mobile’s Pay As You Go tariff with the option to use their Internet “Web n Walk” service on a pay-no-more-than-£1 per 24 hour period. So now my occasional mobile Internet access doesn’t cost me anything when I don’t use it. I don’t have 200 texts rolling over at the end of each month and I’m not sure if I know enough people to use the x number of ‘free’ minutes talk time each month.

So the iPhone will probably never be added to my list of Apple products.

But now the iPod touch comes out. It has Wi-Fi. It has Safari. It has… the Internet! As more and more places seem to get Wi-Fi for the use of their patrons, the iPod touch looks an even more attractive proposition. In the UK, there is a campaign to get free public Wi-Fi everywhere. If this is the way forward in the UK, then who needs to rely on their mobile phone company to access the net?

Of course the urban utopia of free Internet access for all its citizens is a long way off, but most Starbucks have a “Hotspot.” So if I feel the need to find out what I could be drinking in a US Starbucks, as opposed to the half dozen options in the UK one, I could just log into their Wi-Fi network with my iPod touch.

It also has a 3.5” wide screen for watching movies/videos. “Aha,” I hear a fellow iLounge editor say, “you don’t watch videos on your iPod.” Well this is very true. And if I am truthful, then the chances of me watching them on the widescreen of the iPod touch, will probably be as unlikely.

That is not to say I would not try—but I get no satisfaction from sitting with a small screen a few inches from my face watching minute figures. My vision is now at the stage where to read I need glasses, but to watch TV at normal distances, I don’t. I dislike having to wear glasses, so the prospect of sitting for 2 hours watching a movie is not appealing to me.

So 16GB for just my music doesn’t seem that bad—I have about 30GB of music on my 5th Gen iPod right now, so I dare say I could prune out the stuff I haven’t listened to for a while, and fit the remainder into 16GB easily.

There is my dilemma. I have 269 reasons not to buy the iPod touch when it ships at the end of the month, but I suspect that the few I have got to get one may just win. I’ll keep reminding myself, patience is a virtue…