For our iPhone 3GS hardware review, we joked it was the same as last year, end of story. Thanks to Apple, we're left with pretty much the same opening line here: the iPod touch G3 is the same as last year.
Except, of course, like the iPhone 3GS, that outward assessment doesn't tell the inner story at all, and while Apple marketing didn't see fit to call this the iPod touch S, that inner story is again all about speed.
Note: You'll see a lot of "like the iPhone 3GS here" because, frankly, it is and we reviewed that member of Apple's mobile platform family first. That also means we'll focus on what differences there are, and we'll also take a look at whether the iPod touch G3 is a good choice for those who want in on Apple's iPod and App Store ecosystem, but don't want an iPhone or smartphone contract. (Yes, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm, Android, and feature-phone users want an "App for That" too...)
On the Outs(opens in new tab)
The shell is the same as last year's iPod touch. Indeed, the 8GB version IS last year's model. Regardless, they all share the insanely thin form factor, enhanced by the deep curves of the mirror-like chrome backing. For those who've never held one, it's noticeable slimmer, and not-quite-as-noticeably lighter than an iPhone 3GS. It's also smaller, roughly the height and width of an iPhone if you removed its silver bezel. The sleep and home buttons are of course in place, as are the volume rockers and external speaker(-ish) that snuck in during the second generation.
The 32GB, and the 64GB model iPod touch G3 we're looking at here get all new guts this year, the same glorious guts the iPhone 3GS got. Almost.
Turns out the iPod touch G3 has a slightly newer version of the same Samsung Cortex A8 processor -- S5L8922X as opposed to the iPhone 3GS S5L8920X. Last year's iPhone touch 2G was clocked faster than last year's iPhone 3G, and it's possible this year's is clocked faster than the iPhone 3GS as well, but we haven't seen any hard evidence of that yet. Likewise, iPod touch G3 seems to have the same PowerVR SGX graphics core as the iPhone 3GS, but since Apple never, not ever, speaks about specs, we'll have to wait until all the tear down data is in.
We do know, however, that the iPod touch G3 has a newer Broadcom BCM4329 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip that could, potentially, be unlocked to run at 802.11n speeds. The iPhone 3GS doesn't have that chip, or that potential. Whether Apple ever does unlock it, however, is anyone's guess.(opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)
Cut the Cameras, Kill the Mics
The biggest news following the release of the iPod touch G3 wasn't the speed, however, or any of the software functionality. It wasn't a feature at all. It was the lack of a widely rumored, universally anticipated feature -- a camera and mic with video recording and sharing capabilities.
We saw cases with cutouts for cameras. We saw prototypes with cameras. We even saw tear downs with holes for where the cameras could -- arguably should -- have been.
But the iPod touch G3 is here and the camera isn't. Apple doubtless stopped that signal.
We don't know for a fact why. Steve Jobs said it was to keep costs down and the focus on the App Store. Rumor said the cameras Apple planned to use were defective or otherwise didn't work out. Our guess is that an iPod nano G5-style VGA video-only camera was a deal-breaker for Apple when it came to their flagship iPod touch, and if Apple can't do something great, they tend not to do it at all.
Bottom line, maybe next year.
Home Sweet Home(opens in new tab)
While the iPod touch shares Apple's multitouch-centric mobile OS X with the iPhone, it obviously doesn't include the phone part (or any of the telephony, which means no SMS/MMS or tethering either -- nothing that uses a cellular network), and -- as mentioned -- it doesn't have a camera. That means it doesn't include the Phone, Messages, and Camera apps, and that means the home screen is slightly different. Under the iPhone 3.1 OS (or 3.1.1 as it quickly prompts you to update) that means the default set includes, in order: Mail (not in dock), Calendar, Photos, Contacts (on the first page), YouTube, Stocks, Maps (without GPS), Weather, Voice Memos, Notes, Clock, Calculator, Settings, iTunes, Music (in dock instead of Phone), Videos (in dock in place of Mail), Safari, and App Store (in dock).
Yes, iPod isn't there, and Music and Videos are broken out, though both Music and Videos provide access to video podcasts. (Music supports landscape and portrait mode videos, Videos only landscape mode). A tad confusing, even if it does help fill out the home screen.
Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
Or basically pay 199 + 175 ETF and you got a 16gb ipod touch 3gs with video, mic, camera, gps, compass.
There is if you don't want want or already have a cell phone and just want to listen to your music and play some games.
.....unless you want a new iPod......
Enjoy your zOOn, troll.
64 megs?? No!!!
I'd say it's worth it just as a great gaming device. The new one has a better graphics card and a faster processor, so you can play some of the higher-end games that are for iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch G3.
I love my 3GS will use the iPhone always (not the touch). I'm pretty sure this goes for all iPhone users.
4, 8, 16, 32, 64,
The reason the touch has 64 instead of 32 is because the touch can hold two 32 gig chips while the iPhone can only hold one. I'm pretty sure that by next year there will be a double chip 128 iPod and a 64 iPhone.
At least that is what I am praying for.
Before I got my iPhone, I was quite skeptical about how useful 3G would be. I did not think it was worth the $30/month data plan, and I actually seriously considered alternatives like the Blackberry Bold that came with wi-fi. I thought that while I was on campus at my college, I would be connected to the wi-fi network most of the time. Well, all I can say is, it's definitely much easier to go from good to better, than from better to good. For the most part, I am connected via wi-fi when I am in any building, but while I am outdoors I am usually on 3G. It's not really essential to be connected while I'm walking outside, but in the event that I do leave campus, I will still be connected.
I think the iPhone beats the Blackberry in terms of being constantly connected. By this, I mean the iPhone does a better job of being a "crackberry" than the Blackberry. Now before I get a whole flurry of flame, I want to say that I only mean this because the iPhone data plan is mandatory while you can cancel a Blackberry's data plan.
For most people that already have a cell phone and are thinking about getting the iPod touch G3, I think that you should try to upgrade to an iPhone if it fits your budget. It's really convenient having one single device that does everything, instead of having a media device and a separate communications device. I only have so many pockets in my pants, and I need to put in keys, a phone, and a wallet. To add another media player in my pocket would be unpleasant.
However, for those who are okay with carrying around a cell phone and a separate iPod touch, this new iPod touch is definitely worth getting. The App Store is really wonderful (much more than I initially thought), and you can get so many useful apps for free so that you expand the functionality of your iPod at no additional cost.
One question that I do have, however, relates to the use of the iphone in a wi-fi area (on campus or at Starbucks, airport, etc...). Does the iphone automatically flip over to wi-fi usage to avoid G3 usage or do you have to go into the Skype application and tell it to use wi-fi? I'm curious as to how that all works.
Maria. If you remove the sim card from a 3Gs you get an ipod touch with a camera, gps and compass. It can be used without a voice/data plan but in a lot of countries you can't buy it without one.
Also, regarding Bluetooth, I understand the G2 iTouch was limited on which Bluetooth devices it would connect with. Is the G3 more open? Can I swap files with my laptop or connect my Plantronics Bluetooth headset for VOIPing?
September 16th, 2009 at 11:02 am
There is absolutely no reason to get this.
nonsense - it's great for retail operations (cafe's, coffee houses, book stores, etc.). couple it with some powered speakers (bose acoustimass for example) and easily manage ambient music with zero footprint. play mp3s, stream pandora or the like, etc... itouch can be kept at the register or other convenient location and easily controlled by manager or employees if needed.
it's called jailbreaking lol then you pwn with cydia and rock app and my g1 won't reconize a mic which is gay