Part 1. Dan’s Rant.
I have long been a proponent and advocate of the iPod touch. Since it was first announced, I have owned and used each successive generation of the “iPhone without a phone” and currently have, and use, a 32GB current generation iPod touch. I love it. I love having tons of music loaded on it. I love using it as my point and shoot camera. I love having a device that does almost everything my iPhone 5 does in a slimmer, lighter package. And while I recognize that, as someone who has and uses an iPhone 5 AND an iPod touch, I am not the norm, I think there is a market for the iPod touch as either the entry-level iOS device for kids or as a pocketable iOS for someone using a phone running a different operating system. Today, however, Apple all-but-killed the remaining market for the device.
Yes, Apple dropped the $199 last generation iPod touch with a 3.5″ screen and replaced it with a new 16GB iPod Touch for $229. The new iPod Touch features a 4″ Retina display and is powered by the same dual-core A5 processor that is found in the iPod touch that was introduced last fall in 32 and 64GB capacities. But while the new iPod touch still has the front-facing FaceTime camera it loses the rear camera. It is an odd decision considering the fact that the iPod touch finally gained a usable camera last fall and, along with the loop hand strap that is also gone in the new touch- has been, at least in part, marketed as a point and shoot camera replacement.
Of all the device-positioning decisions Apple has made of late this is, to my mind, the dumbest yet. After all, at $199 the previous introductory iPod touch competed with the Kindle Fire HD. Sure it was smaller, but it came in at the same price-point. Now Apple’s least expensive iOS device is well past the psychological barrier of $199, AND it is less functional than ever. It makes no sense.
Know what would have made sense? A $149 iPod touch. Yes, had Apple gone down in price rather than up, then they could have gotten away with having the same last-generation size AND dropped the rear camera and still have a compelling case to make in favor of the iPod touch. Call me crazy but, were they to market the iPod touch at the $149 price-point, I even think they could have kept the smaller 3.5″ screen, dropped the rear camera AND kept the previous 8GB capacity. That device would clearly have been the entry-level iOS device. It would have undercut the pricing on many of the 7″ Android tablets with which it indirectly competes and, thanks to the barebones hardware, avoided cannibalizing pretty much any other Apple product. Instead, Apple introduced a touch with limited hardware and a higher price. In the process they just killed the market for the touch. That might not be an issue right away, but it will mean less kids given a touch as their first device and then growing into (or being locked into) the iOS ecosystem and more expensive devices.
Part 2. Mike’s Rant
Dan: And to add insult to injury, right below the product listing on the Apple Store is this not-so-subtle message advertising the non-crippled touch.
Way to go, Apple… NOT.