Why the iPod touch G3 Camera was Yanked, and Rightly So


Everyone, including Steve Jobs, has very reasonable sounding theories as to why the third gen iPod touch camera was removed. Rather than rehash it again, however, we thought we'd let our minds wonder into parody, and consider what might have happened in a world only slightly more cartoonish than ours...

Steve Jobs, fresh from his recent leave of absence, comes crashing back into Apple's Cupertino campus, and after fixing the typography on the iPhone 3G S 3GS, tweaking some pixels on the Snow Leopard icons, and spending time meditating deep in the iTablet vault, he heads over to the scorched closet that used to be reserved for iPhone A2DP testing...

"64GB a go?" he demands. "Good"

"Is it thinner?" grumble. "Next year..."

"What about those ultra-tiny auto-focus 3 megapixel sensors we received?" Massive frown. "They don't work? Not any of them? Then what's this prototype using?"

The room goes dead silent.

"The iPod nano VGA camera? In a premium, flagship product, that runs the iPhone OS and supports gorgeous stills and breathtaking video?"

The silence is broken by the sound of the iPod touch with camera prototype ricochetting off the head of the hapless white-coat who had the temerity to offer it up.

"Yank it, bozos." Jobs strides from the room, Dark Force lightning blistering the air around him. "And let's try to raise the intelligence in this room by next spring, shall we?"

And, boom, no camera, not even a nano-style VGA one in the iPod touch this fall. If that's the case, however, it's hard to argue with Jobs (or whomever made the final decision?) that an iPod touch class device demands an iPhone 3GS, and not iPod nano class camera.

That's not the way Apple plays cricket. They don't do choppy 15-frame a second video on the iPhone 3G, and they won't put a nano camera in the iPod touch.


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Why the iPod touch G3 Camera was Yanked, and Rightly So


That's just how Apple does it, would rather give you nothing over give you something half ass'd. Perfect example on the iPhone is copy & paste.

What about the option "Apple doesn't want to cannibalize iPhone sales?" Honestly, how hard would it be to put the same sensors and lens that's in the iPhone into the iPod Touch? Even if it made it thicker a little bit, people would live with it to get that great feature. People discount the iPhone cannibalization theory, but I think Apple sells the iPhone to carriers at $700 a pop, and those are guaranteed sales as opposed to users who may or may not purchase a $300 iPod touch.

I think the nano camera is good for a device that small and if it was on the touch i would be happy but it would be nice to have it take pictures so waiting for the iphone camera may be better for Apple

If it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit. Apple has learned from poor launches in the past that it's better to do what you know you can do well than to release something that is half-baked. Also, I don't really think that Steve came back to find several products poorly done, I'm pretty sure he was involved in just about everything except for the few hours that he was under anesthesia for his liver transplant, he's just that kind of a perfectionist.

Please spit out the Koolaid. Do you really think Copy and Paste took 2 years to develop? COME ON!! SERIOUSLY!!

I think the reasons behind not putting a camera in the touch are completely sensible, both from a technical and a marketing perspective. Thin and sexy is what Apple sells. It doesn't make sense to make it thicker just to add a camera.

Wow! You can't say S E X Y on this blog? What a word to ban. So unfair! I should have won that award and Beyonce should have won... oh, wait... this isn't the Awards?

It makes no sense that a device that's similar to another with a camera can not hold that same camera. Pure bull.
They just didn't want the iPhone and iPod lines blurring. Simple as that.

Still there is a camera vendor somewhere that delivered these things (reportedly in bulk quantities) that is is in a world of hurt.
If find it totally unbelievable that these cams got to the shipping dock without SOMEONE at Apple noticing that they didn't physically FIT. That does not happen these days.
Anyone who looks at the specs of the iPhone camera, then notices that its too fat for the Touch and assumes Apple engineers are too stupid to have noticed this fact is smoking crack.
Personally, I believe they didn't WORK, or the fail rate was so high that the warranty issues would remove all profit.

Apple will never release a product that has a flaw, they are under the microscope and the competition is looking for anything that they can to criticize. Apples view is a premium price that delivers a premium product

Yeah.. they would never release a product with a naff camera.
Cos the original iPhone had a kick-ass 2mp camera with no autofocus or video recording when that was the standard across the mobile industry, didn't they? Oh.. 5mp with autofocus and VGA video recording was standard back then, you say?

Well lot of people reading this site is iPhone owners why would you care about touch having a camera or not? You have one!

I suspect that the iPod touch would be stepping on the toes of a new product, thus the feature was left out to drive up apple internal sales of the upcommming product that is on the horizon. With the avaiblity of the omap4 ti processor, the intel morestown, and the arm cortex a9 that would make the processor completely capable of all the standard pc basic features. The current 3gs has similar computing power to that of a quicksilver g4. And the next generation of mobile devises will up the anty to dual processors and out of order computing standards; (the standard of the personal computer) not that of a cellular phones which the current Smartphones are measured. The anticipation must build for the devise and here we are leaving things out only to offer them on what Steve has always envisioned a completly reliable, durable, low envinornmental impact, completly satisfying devise.

I agree with the concept though and speculated as much. If they couldn't get video right, its best not to do it.
There's always a silver lining though and next year, you can bet it'll be on there. It will have to raise the bar though. Iphone 3GS video won't be acceptable then. Has to be HD. This year was the only window for that type of camera meaning...it was someone's goof.
BTW..you can bet Apple figured out copy n paste long ago or at least after the iphone 3G. But when you release a phone each year, you keep features til then and slam them with a bunch at once. It's marketing driven. Apple is all about impressing with numbers.

Dude you are just wrong. The ipod touch doesn't compete with the iphone. Different categories. One is a phone and requires 70+ a month. The other..doesn't.
There's no cut in demand for the iphone 3GS. Apple is barely able to make enough.
You can bet that Apple will struggle this year to increase demand of the ipod touch. Nothing is compelling old touch users to upgrade beyond speed and most users don't seem to find that worth it. They will still get plenty of sales but nothing like a camera version would have inspired.

@Joe McG
No, I just don't think it was on the top of the list, but instead of rushing some garbage out like Pre and Android they did it right when they got around to it.

why couldnt steve jobs just tell everyone the camera was not ready for the touch yet. he could have said it will be added next gen or whatever. he shouldnt have to cover it up using "the ipod touch is a first-class gaming device" b.s.
keep it straight forward sheesh

The nano's camera is good! It's 2 megapixels! I'd rather the touch have a 2 mp than 3 mp anyway to differentiate between the iPod and iPhone.

Good marketing would have been for apple to put a 5 or 8 megapixel carmera in the iPhone 3gs and then put the 3gs 3 Meg. In the 3rd gen iPod touch. That would be true differentiating if that is what they are trying to do

I want to say that they should at least have premeditated this a little sooner and better. They could have tested this a lot earlier and maybe have fixed it before the release of the Ipod Touch. Also I have waited a whole summer and a few months for this and I don't want to wait any longer. So at least tell us straight forward what happened and dont give us bullshit things like "Our customers saw it more as a Game-Device," So please, give us a straight forward answer.

Dood....Apple..agh. They said the price for the camera on the iPod Nano was free yet they say they didn't want to raise the price on the iPod touch by adding a camera. (o.O)?!!??? Oh well, I guess nothing new here to make me upgrade my ipod this year. Thanks steve for making me save some money.

It may be that some g3 touchs leaked with a yanked camera, but they adjusted this immediatly. As former said, apple can´t afford any of these mistakes. Nowadays the iphone in Germany is called Volksphone as the more famous Beetle Volkswagen.

i really think that apple keeps screwing themselves over. that's obvious enough. people want more features, that's what the consumer wants. apple leaves out the key features and makes them look ground breaking when they release them finally.
the way i see it, steve likes making people wait for the simple things so they keep coming back for more. the only problems is by the time they realize people will stop coming back when they keep up their "Work", they will be too far in the hole to realize it.

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The little ipod nano has a camera why not the ipod touch?But the 4g ipod touch has a camera for 30$ extra.

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