Upgrade to the ‘new’ iPod Touch? Eh, not so much

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The second generation of the iPod Touch reminds me a lot of a video game franchise like EA Sports’ John Madden Football. Every year there’s a new version out and every year the new version is basically the version from the year before with a couple of minor changes. Don’t get me wrong, I think my first-generation iPod Touch is one of the most impressive gadgets I’ve purchased in quite some time, but I see very little reason to buy the new version.

If you’re looking to get an iPod Touch, go ahead and buy the new one. But if you already have the first generation, read on to see if it’s worth it for you to upgrade.

Here’s a comparison chart for the two iPod Touch devices:

2gipt
New iPod Touch

oldipt
Old iPod Touch 

Size/Weight:

4.3 x 2.4 x 0.33 inches, 4.05 ounces

Capacities:

8GB/16GB/32GB

Connections:

802.11b/g Wi-Fi
Nike +iPod
Maps location-based service

In the Box:

iPod Touch
Earphones
USB 2.0 Cable
Dock Adapter
Polishing Cloth
Quick Start Guide

Display:

3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-touch display with 480×320 resolution at 163 pixels per inch

Frequency Response (Audio):

20Hz to 20,000Hz

Video:

H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second

Buttons:

Volume up/down, Sleep/Wake, Home

Battery Life:

Music = 36 hours
Video = 6 hours

Charges to 80% capacity in 2 hours
Charges to full capacity in 4 hours

Built-in speaker: Yes

Size/Weight:

4.3 x 2.4 x 0.31 inches, 4.2 ounces

Capacities:

8GB/16GB/32GB

Connections:

802.11b/g Wi-Fi
Maps location-based service

In the Box:

iPod Touch
Earphones
USB 2.0 Cable
Dock Adapter
Polishing Cloth
Stand
Quick Start Guide

Display:

3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-touch display with 480×320 resolution at 163 pixels per inch

Frequency Response (Audio):

20Hz to 20,000Hz

Video:

H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second

Buttons:

Sleep/Wake, Home

Battery Life:

Music = 22 hours
Video = 5 hours

Charges to 80% capacity in 1.5 hours Charges to full capacity in 3 hours

Built-in speaker: No

Press Materials:

Here’s the press release for the first iPod Touch. It mentions the revolutionary 3.5-inch multi-touch display, wireless networking, long battery life, small form factor, built-in accelerometer, and low starting price.

Here’s the press release for the new iPod Touch. It mentions the revolutionary 3.5-inch multi-touch display, wireless networking, long battery life, small form factor, built-in accelerometer, and low starting price.

It also mentions Nike + iPod support, a built-in speaker, and compatibility with the new iTunes 8 Genius feature. Oh, and it says the new iPod Touch is smaller and lighter than the old one. Smaller, no, unless you count the new curves. Lighter, yes – by a paltry .15 ounces. These things, along with longer battery life, seem to be the only notable new features. Let’s look a little closer at each one now.

Nike + iPod

If you own an iPod Touch and can imagine running with it, then maybe you’d like this feature. I run a little and I own an iPod Touch. I’d never, ever, ever go running with it, though. The thought of rubbing my fat, greasy, sweaty fingers all over the face of the device in order to change tracks doesn’t appeal to me at all. I have a hard enough time keeping the screen clean as it is. Multi-touch + sweat = no thanks.

Built-in Speaker

I concede that this is a nice addition, for sure. People complained about the first generation not having a built-in speaker and Apple added one. Nice work. Whether you’d actually use this feature or not is another story. I might, but it’s not important enough for me to go out and replace my current iPod Touch.

iTunes 8 Genius Compatibility

I really find it hard to believe that this is something that couldn’t be added to a first generation Touch via a software update or as a hack. As it stands, though, I spend most of my day trying to avoid what other people think is good music. All I’d need is for Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie to magically end up on my iPod before I bite down on the screen until sparks shoot out.

UPDATE: Just plugged my first-gen Touch into iTunes 8 and there’s a new version 2.1 software update that adds Genius playlist creation to my device. So that’s not a noteworthy feature for the new iPod Touch after all.

update

Longer Battery Life

Good, great, grand. Although the major difference is in audio longevity, not video longevity. You get just one extra hour of video but you go from 22 to 36 hours for audio. I’ve never really thought that the Touch’s battery life was all that short to begin with, though. Recharging time, too, now takes longer. From 1.5 up to 2 hours for a quick charge and from 3 up to 4 hours for a full charge. The extra battery life is nice but, still, it’s no reason to rush out and replace the first generation.

In Conclusion

If you really, really want that Nike + iPod integration, slightly longer battery life, and the built-in speaker, then maybe it’s time to put your first-gen Touch on eBay. Also, if you’re new to the iPod Touch, then by all means get the new one. Current Touch owners have very little reason to trade up, though.

But Wait!

If this new headset with built-in microphone — which Apple claims is compatible with the second generation iPod Touch – is able to work some VOIP magic, things might get mighty interesting. It’s supposedly for voice memos and recording but if there’s an easy way to use VOIP services, preferably allowed by Apple without having to hack the device, it’d
make upgrading a bit more enticing. Especially for people who want a device like the iPhone but don’t want to shell out $70+ per month to AT&T.

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