OK, now that CES and Macworld are behind us, it's time to take a moment to ponder just what was missing. For me anyway the biggest letdown was the absence of any word on a higher-capacity iPod Touch. As a non-iPhone guy with a slight bit of iPhone envy, I've had my eye on the 2G Touch for the last three months. But like a lot of people, I've been waiting either for the price of the 32GB version to come down or to pay not much more for a 64GB model, which has been making the rounds in the rumor mill and message boards for months.
Previously, I wrote a column about why it was the wrong time to buy an iPod. So, in a sense, you could call this column, "Why it's almost the right time to buy an iPod...or at least an iPod Touch." I just think the Touch needs one more rev to be a near-ideal device. (Even if Apple doesn't want to sell my products in its App Store, I still have no problem recommending its products to readers.) Of course, a 128GB model would be perfect, but I could live with a 64GB version (or cheaper 32GB model). That would enable you to store a decent-size music collection, a good amount of video, and lots of apps--and maybe even leave you with a little room to grow.
Sure, this would be a moot point if Apple had given us a micro-SD card slot, but Apple isn't big on the whole memory-expansion concept. Nor does it seem too keen on removable batteries (or stereo Bluetooth, for that matter). While I still find that irritating, at this point the positives appear to comfortably outweigh the negatives. But now I'm looking to maximize my purchase, knowing this precious $400 device might only hold out for 2-3 years if I don't happen to lose it, damage it, or have it stolen.
I've had pretty good luck with my iPods (for the record, last year I bought a refurbished Nano 4GB for $100). But there's been plenty of copy written about iPods failing right after warranties expire and assorted other iPod disasters. I do think it helps to go with flash memory--which is what's in the iPhone and Touch and has no moving parts--rather than a hard drive. But, of course, the highest-capacity flash-memory chips, at least initially, tend to be rather pricey.
Which brings us to the questions: so when the heck is the 64GB version coming out and how much will it cost? Well, the prices for flash memory have been dropping precipitously. Once new, smaller, 34 nanometer 32GB chips (just arriving now) start being produced in volume, we should see not only a 64GB Touch but a 32GB iPhone. And if the past is anything to go by, Apple last increased the capacities of its iPod Touch line on February 5, 2008, a Tuesday. So you could look to Tuesday, February 3 or Tuesday, February 10 (Apple tends to make its announcements on Tuesdays) as possible release days.
As for the price for the 64GB Touch, you'd hope Apple would stick to its "twice the memory for the same price" tradition; in other words, $399 would buy 64GB (rather than 32), $299 would yield 32GB, and $229 would buy you 16 gigs. Hoping for a recession discount? Even in this economy, don't expect Apple to cut prices on its premium iPod model. At least not yet.
As for the rumored addition of GPS capabilities for the Touch, I'm less confident about those arriving in the near term than a memory bump for both the Touch and iPhone. That said, some folks are speculating that Apple will create a new premium Touch (perhaps the Touch Pro?) that adds GPS and higher-memory capacity at the same time. However, I wouldn't expect that sort of change until later this year, possibly when the company refreshes the line in September.
What do you guys think? Anybody else holding out for a 64GB Touch? A 32GB iPhone? And what do you think they'll cost?