iPod Touch: Jack of all trades, Master of none

I was startled yesterday. Standing in the overpriced audio cable section at Fry’s Electronics, I overheard a customer and a clerk (how could I not– they had walked right in front of me, blocking my view of the cable I wanted) discussing the cable needed for an iPod. The customer whipped it out of his belt holster to make his point, and there it was: An iPod Touch!

If you are anticipating that I’m going to describe my own interactions with this guy about how he likes it, is it cool, etc., you are going to be disappointed. The only reason I bring it up is that I’m stunned that anyone would buy one of these things.

I just read a commentary at TUAW taking a BusinessWeek review of the iPod Touch to task for just not understanding what the iPod Touch is supposed to be. TUAW says the lack of many iPhone features on the Touch are “an example of Apple keeping the iPod true to its primary function as a digital music player.”

Hmm. If I wanted to pay $300 for a digital music player, I would certainly expect more than 8GB of storage. My two-year old iPod can hold my 20GB music library, but even the $400 iPod Touch can’t.

It is clear that people who want an iPod whose “primary function” is being a digital music player will never buy an iPod Touch. The high-capacity iPod Classic is what they will want.

So what is the primary function of the iPod Touch? If you look at what has been added in comparison to pervious iPods, it is pretty obvious: The BIG SCREEN. The iPod Touch is for all those people who wanted to watch videos on their iPods, but that screen was just too small.

The only problem with perceiving the iPod Touch’s primary function as that of a video player is the same one with seeing it as a music player: Not enough storage capacity. Videos are way bigger than music, and you can’t fit very much of it on an 8GB iPod Touch.

The iPod Touch is a poor choice for a music player, a poor choice for a video player, and a poor choice for internet browsing and applications. It’s a crippled iPod Classic, AND it’s a crippled iPhone.

So in the end, the iPod Touch tries to be everything, and in the end fails at all of them… except the COOL Factor. it wins hands down on coolness. So if you want to spend $300 just look cool (and lke a person who can waste money), then the iPhone Touch is for you.

I’ll bet most iPhone Touch owners keep a large capacity iPod hidden somewhere that they use when no one is looking…