But then again, i(might)Not

Sorry its been awhile but I’ve had a little something on my mind. Viz – my last entry. I suppose there’s tremendously little actual pressure on me as a “blogger” (the word hangs on my lips like a clumsy lover), but that doesn’t mean to say that I doesn’t have a sort of inherent drive to be not only interesting and sophisticated but also accurate and integral…integrityish…full of integrity – hence my dilemma. I said in my last entry that I would not worry with Apple’s fine iPod Touch but that I would ride the storm and hold out for the much coverted iPhone. Trouble is that you get these ideas, and then you need something to blog about so you tap out a few dozens words on the topic, tweaking it so that it sounds less like a whim and more like an opinion, and all of a sudden this small spark of a notion becomes something of a mission statement. Well the nub of the thing is this: I got an iPod Touch.

“What!?”

(I just heard dozens of readers doing double-takes at their screens. Double-takes are hilarious – well done.) Well, yes dammit I got an iPod Touch, and I’ll tell you why…myPod

Why I got an iPod Touch over an iPhone: Reason #1, “The Wait”

Who knows how long it will take the powers that be to get their act together and unleash the iPhone on an Australian public. Does anyone remember how long it took for the iTunes Music Store to open locally? Freakin’ ages, that’s how long. What with all the international contracts and such, Steve Jobs is hardly going to bust a nut getting the iPhone working here. An Aus-iPhone is not Apple’s top priority. We’re a tiny market with all the logistics of a big one and from a business stand point there is no reason to apply any sort of expediency.

Thank goodness we have a Telecommunications company that runs on efficiency, intelligence and a relentless drive to boost customer satisfaction, right? Yeah…not so much. What was it that the Telstra COO, Greg Winn, said about the iPhone? I believe he said that Apple really should stick to its knitting. Hmmmm, one of our brilliant business thinkers, obviously – someone who really understands the consumer mindset (someone who is probably running Windows mobile on his Palm and wouldn’t so much as consider a product made by Apple even if consumers were demanding it in record numbers). With that kind of bone-head moronicism (if that isn’t a word, then it sure as heck ought to be) I don’t think the leaders over there at Telstra are going to be falling over themselves to get the iPhone on Australian shelves anytime soon.

(Telstra is the only Australian provider with an EDGE network. Given that Apple fussed over things like visual voicemail, etc, it seems unlikely they would launch this on an inferior network, even if it did mean launching with  provider like Telstra that is totally with innovation.)

Why I got an iPod Touch over an iPhone: Reason #2, “The Dosh”

To say that Telstra enjoys taking money from people is like saying that the moon enjoys its 28 day saunter about the Earth. Telstra cannot even offer innovative, attractive plans on products where there is strong competition – can you imagine (if they finally opened their eyes and saw the enormous hype around the iPhone) what it would be like if they had a monopoly on the device? Their irises would flip around into dollar-signs, much in the style of a classic Disney cartoon.

In the US, the iPhone is offered with unlimited data and reasonable voice plans starting at AU$64 per month (after paying AU$427 to buy the device) (I’m talking in AU$ here for the sake of comparison – the US folk wouldn’t actually exchange AU$427…the logistics along would make that ridiculous – I’m converting for you, AU$1 being about US$0.933). These plans may sound reasonable, but that is because the US do have reasonable unlimited data plans. How much do you think an unlimited data plan from Telstra would cost? Well, currently Telstra’s top browsing pack is AU$119 for a 3Gb (hardly unlimited, but certainly comfortable) pack, and that would be on top of an existing plan. Now, iPods and Macs tend to have about a 25% markup from the US product (allowing for the current, rather decent, exchange rate). Based on that, the iPhone would probably sell for about AU$500. So assuming that the heads of Telstra all have some sort of simultaneous stroke and decide to put the iPhone on an extremely generous $80/month plan, which would probably work out to $100/month, icluding calls, ($50 more/month than I am paying now) then over a period of 12 months, I will be paying a minimum of $700 more in a year than if I just continued with an iPod Touch and my current phone plan. And that’s a fair chunk of my annual gadget acquisition budget. For that sort of price, I could almost buy two additional iPod Touches – maybe one for each of my readers?

Why I got an iPod Touch over an iPhone: Reason #3, “The Bulk”

Okay this one’s a little petty, granted, but it’s still a consideration. Lets have a look at the specs:

  • iPod Touch: 61mm wide, 110mm tall, 8mm thick and 120g heavy
  • iPhone: 61mm wide,  115mm tall, 11.6mm thick and 135g heavy

As you can see the iPhone is not only taller, thicker and heavier than the Touch, but also denser at 603 cubic millimetres per gram compared to the Touch’s 447 cubic millimetres per gram.My previous iPod, the 5th generation video iPod weighed in at a respectable 104mm tall, 61mm wide, 11mm thick and 136g heavy (513 cubic mm/g), which certainly gives the iPhone a run for its money. (By the way my old, great and faithful iPod is currently up for sale on ebay.)

I’m finding that the iPod Touch is right on the upper border of being too big for the shirt pocket. The iPhone, like the 5th Gen. before it, would just about tip the scales.

In conclusion

So I bought the iPod Touch. What am I missing out on? Well, let’s see:

Mobile Internet? Yes, although I do spend about 70% of my waking hours within the range on my home wi-fi, my work wi-fi or the free wi-fi from the Gloria Jeans on Beaumont St. Plus, if I ever got desperate, I could always use the browser on my 3G Sony Ericson.

A camera? True, but again the K800i to the rescue with a slightly nicer lens. Plus, I’m not one for indiscriminate snapping – if something’s worth being photographed, it’s worth being photographed with a device that was purpose-built for the task.

The prestige? Yes, well, you’ve got me there. After 1200 words or so on how I’m really satisfied with my iPod Touch, it still sounds like a flimsy excuse and sour grapes. A critic could still hold an iPhone aloft, raise a pair of critical eyebrows and my careful arguments would have been for naught. But as the French say, meh. I’ll still use my new toy happily. I’ll smugly send emails with the postscript “Sent from my iPod”. I may even hold my iPod to my ear and pretend I’m taking a call from time to time.

Stuff consumer hype, I’ll take my little Touch of paradise.

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