The iPod touch is a great counterpart to the iPhone, but it is also limited in the sense that you must be near a Wi-Fi network in order to take full advantage of the device’s capabilities. Browsing the web, using Game Center, purchasing content from the iTunes Store, using Skype, and downloading apps on-the-go are just some of the features that cannot be used on the iPod touch when it is no longer in the range of a wireless connection.
Perhaps the most interesting fact is that when the original iPod touch was introduced in the Fall of 2007, the device didn’t have nearly any of these aforementioned features. There was no such thing as the App Store, so you can forget Game Center and the Skype app too. The original iPod touch was fairly limited even with a Wi-Fi connection in the pre-App Store era, as there wasn’t much to do besides listening to music and using the stock apps like Safari, YouTube, and Notes. There wasn’t even the stock Weather or Maps apps until the January App Pack was rolled out shortly after the New Year in 2008. So, understandably, there wouldn’t be much of a need for a 3G data connection.
Fast forward over three-and-a-half years, and the now fourth-generation iPod touch is a complex device with an even lower price tag despite its new features and improved design. Thanks to the App Store, there are now over 425,000 apps ranging from popular games like Angry Birds and Tiny Wings to useful utilities such as Shazam, a music identifying app, and RedLaser, a free barcode scanner. Plus, you can’t forget the additional hardware features such as a built-in microphone and back- and front-facing cameras. Yet, the iPod touch seems to be missing a critical feature that would tie all of its features together—3G. So when I heard rumors echoed by 9 to 5 Mac about an iPod touch with 3G coming this Fall, I began to realize truly how “magical” such a device would be.
Apple recently announced their new cloud services in the form of iCloud, meaning that everything from music to apps will be stored “in the clouds,” figurative for Apple’s data servers in North Carolina. That’s great news for iPhone and iPad 3G users, as they’ll be able to access all of their personal data whenever they please. iPod touch users seem to be left behind, however, as they don’t have the same privileges without being near a Wi-Fi network. And let’s face it, the most common place that you’ll be connected to a Wi-Fi network would be your house, which would probably also be home to your laptop; presumably, your computer would have most of the content you’d be storing in iCloud in the first place. An iPod touch with a cellular data connection would alleviate this dilemma and allow for you to access your content virtually anywhere you want.
Another benefit to an iPod touch with 3G would be its ability to take full advantage of iMessage, a free chat service between any two iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad devices designed to compete with BlackBerry Messenger. There’s also several different texting applications on the App Store that could essentially turn the iPod touch into a texting-only smartphone on-the-go with 3G. Apple could be skeptical about something like this, however, as they do not want to interfere with the iPhone’s successful sales numbers over the past three years.
There’s several other features and functionality that could be taken advantage of if the iPod touch had 3G connectivity, so I invite everyone to share what they with do if they had their own 3G-enabled iPod touch. Do you think Apple is going to follow through with a device like this, and would you purchase one? Sound off in the comments.