I've been thinking a lot lately about the iPhone vs. the iPod Touch. I love the features of both, but I'm uncertain which one to get (if any). Right now my decision is between an 8GB iPhone or a 16GB iPod Touch - both of which are $399. Let's look at the differences.
The iPod Touch definately has the advantage in storage capacity right now, seeing as how it has twice the memory of the iPhone fo the same price. I don't know how much longer that will be true though. The fact that the 16GB iPod Touch even exists, means that a 16GB iPhone isn't far off. The two devices are nearly identical when it comes to hardware, so if you can fit 16GB in one, you can fit 16GB in the other. There's even been some rumors lately that the iPhone will be upgraded to 16GB soon. It was also announced today that Apple will be holding a special event in the UK on September 18th. I suspect this special event is to announce the availability of the iPhone in Europe, possibly also with the announcement of a 16GB iPhone. The question is, will this 16GB iPhone show up in the US as well and how much will it cost? My guess is that it will show up in the US at the same time and it will cost $499. I don't think they will charge $200 more for the 16GB model. This means I could likely get a 16GB iPhone very soon.
The iPhone definitely has the advantage in convenience. I like the idea of only having to carry around one device - the iPhone. The alternative would be the iPod Touch and a cheapo slim cell phone. Right now I'm using a big, bulky, P.O.S. Palm Treo cell phone. It'll be a pain to have to lug around both the iPod Touch and a cell phone, when they can be easily combined into both.
The iPod Touch has the advantage when it comes to not having to be tied down to a two year cell phone contract. If you get the iPhone, you have to sign up for a two year cell phone contract with AT&T. This is something I'm very hesitent to do. Plus, the fact that the iPhone is exclusive to AT&T for five years, means essentially you are locked into a five year contract with them! Yeah, you can get out of the contract in two years, but your iPhone would then be essentially useless for the next 3 years. Granted, I doubt I'll be using the same 'ancient' iPhone even 3 years from now. I'm sure that if I bought the 8 or 16 GB iPhone today, that a few years down the line when they have a MUCH higher capacity iPhone out, that I'll want to upgrade the 'tiny' iPhone to the new one. But again that means another contract. Plus, the features on the iPhone - even the non-phone features are locked down tight. If you don't have that contract, the thing is basically useless. With the iPod Touch, there is no contract, so it works right out of the box and will always work without having to pay AT&T every month. Also, since my current cell phone contract doesn't expire until May of next year, I couldn't get an iPhone if I wanted to until then. With the iPod Touch, I could get one right now and not have to worry about that.
The iPhone gets the advantage in the number of applications available on the device. The iPod Touch lacks the email program, the notes program, the stocks program, and the weather program. It also lacks some features in it's calendar app that the iPhone's calendar app has. I find the lack of these apps puzzling. Yes, most of these missing apps require a network connection to update them. The iPhone, between it's Edge connectivity and WiFi connectivity is much more likely to always have a network connection available to update them. The iPod Touch only has WiFi, so unless you are within range of a wireless access point, these apps can't update. I really don't see this as any reason to exclude them though. WiFi access points are very common these days. Also, I find the lack of the Notes application very puzzling. This is NOT a networked application. It's just a way to take notes. What is the point in excluding that? I'm also at a loss as to why they didn't add some kind of document reader app to the iPod Touch (and the iPhone for that matter). The iPhone has the ability to read Microsoft Word documents and PDF documents that are attached to emails. It shouldn't be that hard to write a simple application that keeps a list of documents and lets you view them on the iPhone/iPod Touch. The functionality is already there! All they need to add is a list of files to view!
I'm also a bit disappointed that the iPod Touch doesn't use a hard drive for storage capacity. Yeah, it's nice to have a slim, sexy device, but they put a 160GB HD in the iPod Classic. Why not put that 160GB HD in the iPod Touch? Can you imagine having 160GB of video stored on that thing and be able to watch that much video on that gorgeous widescreen display? That would be fantastic. People have been calling this combination the 'GodPod'. I have agree. I'd love to have this combination. Having only 16GB of storage space on a device clearly aimed at displaying video makes little sense. You could also argue that since the iPod Touch is not a cell phone, it doesn't quite need the light weight and portability as much as the iPhone does. I have a large music and video collection. I could easily fill up a 16GB iPod Touch a dozen times over with that stuff. I hate having to pick and choose only the things I want to see, rather than having eveyrthing at my fingertips (literally). Granted, I'd never watch 160GB worth of video or listen to 160GB worth of music in the average day, but it's nice to have that stuff available if the mood hits me.
I'll likely end up getting an iPod Touch when all is said and done, but I'm not sure I'll get one immediately. I want to wait and see what happens with the missing apps on the iPod Touch. Will the reappear at a later time? Will new apps (like my document reader app) appear soon? I sure hope so.