Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Disappointment?

I came across an interesting little rant today about how yesterday's announcement was a "disappointment". I understand that a lot of people were expecting cameras in the iPod Touch, and are let down. But putting things into perspective, I do think the important upgrade to the iPod Touch happened - the move to 600mhz ARM 7 CPU and the PowerVR SGX GPU) happened even though it wasn't explicitly stated.

But here's the comment that I found weird:
The shocker for me was to see Apple putting a video camera onto the iPod Nano 5th gen along with a bigger LCD and FM Radio w/ live pause. I just don't see the point or appeal here. A video cam is much needed on the iPod Touch. But apparently, Mr. Jobs thinks of the iPod Touch only as a video gaming platform... whatever!

I'm not surprised that people are upset about no camera on the Touch. It was heavily rumored and would, without a doubt, be a nice addition. I don't disagree that it would have been great for that to have happened. Here are the two things I take issue with:
The shocker for me was to see Apple putting a video camera onto the iPod Nano 5th gen along with a bigger LCD and FM Radio w/ live pause. I just don't see the point or appeal here.

You don't see the appeal? Have you not heard about the Flip Mino and other mini digital video camcorders? They're selling like crazy. So, now you can get an iPod that's also a fully featured video camera for the same price as a Flip Mino? It's basically a buy-one-get-one-free deal. I think these things are going to sell like hotcakes this holiday season. I see shades of the iPod Mini in these things, only more so. I probably won't buy one - my iPhone meets my needs - but I definitely can see the appeal, especially at that price point.

The thing I really have a problem with is:
Mr. Jobs thinks of the iPod Touch only as a video gaming platform... whatever!

Apart from sounding like the sort of comment that an annoyed spoiled twelve-year old child would make, it's a huge leap to assume that the lack of a camera in the iPod Touch yesterday is due solely to Steve Jobs' personal belief in the Touch as a gaming device only. He's already gone on record saying the decision not to put a camera in was to keep the price down. Some people don't believe this, but I think it's at least part of the reason. Apple has been working hard to combat their (not entirely justified) reputation for selling overpriced hardware lately. They dropped their laptop prices across the boards at WWDC while making the whole line faster and better.

I suspect that there were also technical limitations of some kind involved with the decision. The fact is, those of us who don't work at the Mothership don't have any knowledge of the process Apple went through to get to the product announcements at the event yesterday. There could have been supply issues, there could have been technical limitations with the thinner iPod touch case, or they could legitimately have thought it wasn't worth the additional expense, and that adding a camera wouldn't move substantially more units. It could simply have been too much to re-engineer both to accommodate new chips and to add a camera in the time they had.

It's fine to be disappointed or to wish that Apple had done something different; who hasn't done that at some point? But oversimplifying a scenario that you know almost nothing about based only an adolescent assumption that Steve Jobs is some kind of simpleton who just doesn't see the big picture or the potential of the iPod Touch is ridiculous.

For me, personally (fanboy that I am), with Steve Jobs giving the presentation, it would have been very hard to come away feeling disappointed. But even if you're disappointed, please still try to act like a grown-up, okay?


Brandon Steili said...

Honestly, I was disappointed to not get a camera in the Touch as well. I think they could have got one in there (I can't say about technical limitations or supply) but it likely could have been done.

I know a lot of people who don't want to switch providers or their simple feature phones, but want the experience of having the iPod Touch with a camera. There's a lot of uses for it - for example Evernote and being able to capture new notes from a picture. I do it all the time with my iPhone and I know my wife (who uses a touch) would use it quite often as well.

Selfishly - I have an app in development (thanks for all you do by the way) which would be greatly benefited by having a camera in the Touch. Think about it: if you've got clients who are on Verizon, but you have an app that needs to capture images - you can't plan on selling to them because they aren't going to drop their provider and switch to the iPhone simply to use one app. Getting the business to provide iPod Touch devices for staff who need them however would be fairly simple and much more cost effective.

jimbo said...

I think the FM functionality in ANY ipod might be underrated. If i've ever had any issue with any ipod/phone product, was no radio.

this is a huge announcement, at least to me

K. A. Barber said...

Ditto on the disappointment, but its cool. I would have bought a new touch with a camera had they released but that just me wanting the world. I think it was a form factor thing. The camera may have forced a bigger chasis.

As far as the Nano is concerned, it makes sense to broaden market offerings and adding a vidcam to the device will do just that.

MiRAGe said...

I'm not sure I agree with you. I did not see the point either (although I've settled with the idea by now) and when I read your arguments that small camera's currently sell like crazy doesn't convince me either.

It just not a good business model to build every great selling product into an iPod. It's like building a best selling mug into an iPod and then claiming 'Now, you can even drink coffee while you listen to music!'.

Seriously, that might seem like a stupid example, but Apple is up for it. So with your arguments I disagree. I was also very disappointed with the whole event, but that was mainly because I wanted the (much rumored) tablet..

Anyway. You're reading the wrong blogs if yo come across posts like the one you described ;-)

Roy said...

putting a camera into ANY device is pretty much cake now-a-days. you just look up the specs for the signals and timing and read and interpret the values at the appropriate time. these things are in the iphone for heaven's sake which is amazingly similar to the ipod touch. and frankly, cameras, especially with apple's clout are dirt-cheap mass-produced. for heaven's sake, you can buy SINGLE cameras for putting into your one-off embedded systems for around $10 if you look in the right places. i think the real reason here is positioning of the product relative to the iphone. as far as the comments on that other guy's spout, he did seem quite juvenile in his mannerisms, but i think maybe he was trying to imply something about the market.

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