Opinion: Is the iPod Touch a Mistake?

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Now wait…put the torches down, and just listen to me for a second here….

I’ve been thinking about the iPod Touch recently, explaining it to people (as I often find myself doing in regards to Apple products), and I’m beginning to think this thing is a mistake.

Now, I don’t mean the idea of a touch screen iPod with navigation like the iPhone. That’s not what I’m talking about at all…but the actual iPod Touch that is about to start shipping, I think, is ultimately going to prove to a be a mistake for Apple. Here’s why…it’s WAY too much like the iPhone.

Not just in functionality, but mainly in look and feel. At a glance, it looks almost identical to the iPhone, and the home screen layout, while bare, is very similar to the iPhone as well. In fact, I’ll be willing to bet that most people who get these things will be asked by their friends “Is that an iPhone?” when they show it off for the first time.

Now, why would that be a mistake?

Because if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck – people expect it to be a duck. What I mean by that, is the iPod Touch is SO much like the iPhone, people are going to expect the same features they are getting on their iPhones (minus the phones, of course)…and Apple isn’t prepared to give them that just yet. I understand their are slight differences in the design, but even next to each other on Apple’s site, they only look a silver boarder and an icon set away from being identical twins.

We’ve already seen where Apple has, for some unknown reason, made it so that Contacts and Calendar events can’t be input into the iPod. I don’t have a single clue as to why that would be, other than to keep it seperate and different than the iPhone. That’s going to be a problem for users. They’re not going to see the iPhone and iPod Touch as separate devices as long as they look act and feel so much a like.

I think it’s great that Safari is now on the iPod Touch, and that it has Wi-Fi. It’s going to be an almost perfect solution for people that wanted iPhones without the phone….but petty restrictions like no Calendar updates on the iPod Touch make it appear crippled. That can’t be good.

I think the iPod Touch 2 needs a drastic design overhaul to make it appear less like the iPhone. If they want to keep the same home screen and multi-touch design – fantastic, I love that idea – but if the iPhone is a duck, the iPod Touch is a Goose, and I don’t think that is very clear at a glance…and it should be.

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

22 thoughts on “Opinion: Is the iPod Touch a Mistake?

  1. For us here in Canada… the Touch will probably be as close as we get to an iPhone for a while.. .stupid Canadian cell phone market.

  2. I don’t think it is going to be a problem for mac; however, I am going to wait a little while before I buy one. I want more storage space.

    On the note of the iphone, some of the biggest reason I have yet to get one is because 1) I am waiting for Apple to hopefully put iwork on it. 2) I want more memory to store files on there.

    Other than that I like the new iPod very much. I think it is great.

  3. I think the reason they released it was because everyone who wanted and iPhone and didn’t want a contract could get the iPod Touch, plus the iPod is more popular than the iPhone so it will likely sell more.

    Btw, if you do get a new nano/classic/touch to review, can you tell me if they have the same glass screens that the iPhone has, specifically the nano or classic, as I would assume the touch would be indentical.

  4. the iPod touch is not a mistake, I believe that Apple was planning on releasing a iPhone without the phone eventually. However I believe that it was released too early. I think because of the demand of consumers who either wanted a phoneless iPhone and to prevent them from hacking it to work without AT&T.

    The touch is a great idea, now I’m just waiting for the iPhone 16GB version.

  5. I believe it fills a need for the many iPod corporate users.
    I know that many working in large businesses, law firms, medical profession are limited by their company’s IT management on mobile devices. IT is securely comfortable with Black Berrys and some MS mobile devices.
    The iPod touch gives this market segment a very elegent look alike iPhone device until their IT changes police regarding iPhones, which may be changing in the next year after the release in Europe, Asia, and 2gen releases in US.

  6. I definitely think that it’s a good plan for mac. You’re basic choice is either get a great ipod with a small capacity that has a phone vs. a great ipod with a larger capacity without the phone. I can’t wait to pick mine up. Just need to figure out which one to get!

  7. I personally don’t think it was a mistake i’ve already put my order in for the 16 gig… and sold my white 80gig… As far as the storage capacity goes, i find that on my 80 gig i will usually only use about 8 gigs of hd space at any given time… i manually manage my music and video. I have 92 gigs worth of video and 21 gigs of music, how much of this content can you actually watch or listen too……

  8. Well, Michael. Although you may have an interesting point of view here, but, Geese sells much much more than ducks as far as Apple products are concerned.

    I mean that those who are considering an iphone and would be disappointed by the lack of iphone-like features in the ipod touch are not by any means a substantial percentage of customers.

    Apple made a revolutionary product. That’s the iphone. Everything in it is revolutionary including the ipod itself. This is huge but think of it here for a moment. iPhone is currently US only and legally one carrier within the US only. For Apple, this is way too much constrains.

    So what’s the solution. The same revolutionary product set free for everyone to enjoy without the burden of a carrier contract for two years and also it will be shipping worldwide. This will actually have the effect the click wheel had on consumers when it was first introduced. Everybody will want to get their hands on this revolutionary interface. And this alone dear Michael will boost the appeal and sales of the iphone itself markedly, now that many many people (and I mean many as 100 million are opposed to a mere 1 million).

    For a company like Apple, this creates wildfire with consumers, you know why? because they know when and how to introduce new technology.

    First the iphone alone and believe me they could have done the reverse by introducing the ipod touch first (they definetly could do that as it’s much much easier for them as they will be playing it solo) but they didn’t.

    They let people every where dream about an iphone for six months. Then they released the iphone and got a huge positive feedback for an overpriced device like that then they set free the technology and let everyone enjoy the ipod touch (wildfire) then they hit the iron while it’s still red-hot and cut the price of the iphone by 33%.

    Dear Michael, expect this holiday season to be the best in Apple’s history and may be in consumer electronics history in terms of sales. Thisis a win-win-win-win situation for Apple and it’s never and wil never be a mistake.

  9. I live in Europe but not in France, the UK or Germany, so I probably have to wait until somewhere next year before I can even see an iPhone in real life 😐

    The iPod Touch appeared to be just my cup of tea, and I had just decided to check it out as soon as it is launched. I was a bit disappointed when I realized that it has only a lousy 16GB of flash, instead of the 160Gig HDD goodness the Classic is blessed with. However the fact that is does those iPhone-things like organize my contacts and calendar, as well as give me the ideal on-the-go internet device (there are more than enough hotspots at home, at my university and the train stations in between), made me want one anyhow. I’m glad I didn’t pre-order because now that they have crippled the iPod I’m not that interested anymore.

    Because of this I don’t agree with you Michael. You say they should differentiate the iPod Touch and the iPhone even more. I think they should make them more alike. I think it’s ok if people can’t really tell the difference, as long as they can tell this multi-touch magic device is an Apple product. If it looks, walks and talks like a duck, let it be a damn duck! This would have been a great product for anyone who likes the iPhone but has no need for a new phone for whatever reason. Apple just made it a lot less great.

  10. You said:
    “I think the iPod Touch 2 needs a drastic design overhaul to make it appear less like the iPhone.”

    … unless Apple is already planning a drastic design overhaul towards a second generation iPhone.


  11. I do not think so! I am one of those left behind by the iPhone. It will come to my country in about 3 or 4 years? Depending of the great phone companies, with apple. But I will put my hands in the same beautiful, nice gadget like my future Ipod Touch very soon!!!! I can hardly wait.

  12. I had my sight set on the Touch until it’s revealed that those important features were disabled. I need 16GB storage which is about right for what I have in mind. (I don’t want the hd based ipod.) At 399, however, I prefer this thing to be more capable than a large capacity flash ipod. For day to day use, entering contacts and calender events and perhaps to-do list are important.

  13. I have been wanting a full screen touch iPod ever since the touch patents became common knowledge for the geek set. They gave us the iPhone instead, and I was actually disappointed. Sure, the phone is amazing, but I don’t need it. The iPod touch has all the cool things that the phone has without the phone or camera. It’s only shortcoming is the small size of the flash drive. Apple is definately moving towards solid state memory, since we all know that moving parts make for more complications. I personally have had many issues with my iPod siezing up because i’ve dropped it one too many times. So, since I know that flash drives at the size we all really want are a little too expensive for the mass market as of yet, it is merely a waiting game for me.

  14. “For us here in Canada… the Touch will probably be as close as we get to an iPhone for a while.. .stupid Canadian cell phone market.”


  15. You can edit contacts on the iPod Touch, and a hack came out so the ipod touch can be an iphone without the phone.

  16. yes it is true actually.
    it’s called skype.

    when it comes to the ipod touch not being able to add calendars or contacts, that is false. it was true when this article was written, but apple has changed that.

    and now, every ipod touch ships with the same apps as the iphone, minus the phone, camera and text messaging.
    so what does this mean?

    Nay, Michael.

    the ipod touch has proven to be an outstanding success. Now shipping in 8, 16, and 32 gigabyte sizes that are thinner than the iPhone.

  17. I already have a 3G mobile phone. I don’t want to regress to a 2G iPhone, thanks very much.

    I want a music / video player with internet access and email.

    The Touch does this and more.

    Now that the SDK is out, how long do you think it’ll be before SKYPE have an app developed for VoIP?

    You buy a mic, you subcribe to SKYPE, you make cheap calls in a WiFi zone. You’re touch becomes a phone. Eureka

  18. on my htc kaiser reading this article and i completely agree.

    the comment above regarding sdk and skype on itouch will put apple in competion with themselves, which wont help them unless they remove their partnership with att

  19. i like the ipod touch. the iphone is way to overpriced…
    plus i dont think there is any problem with them looking alike. if you think about it ipod classic and ipod videos look pretty alike and if apple randomly started making different designs for every new product it wouldnt be sticking to a theme.

    The iphone is completely different from the other ipods and the ipod touch is next in the chain of new designs. black with bright colour displays…soon apple will come out with a new ipod or iphone and it will have a similar design but maybe they will have a click wheel and bluetooth.

    finally, the ipod touch is an amazing device. when notes and maps and ect came to it i realised that many more new things could potentially be added to the ipod…there are lots of new things coming out for it … maybe even a camera that could connect to the bottom…that would be cool

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