I’ll give it to Steve Jobs and Apple, they’ve done it again with their new iPod Touch!
I’ll also give it to The New York Times, who resumed in a few words, in their “Apple Reactions: The Future of Wireless Audio and Video” article, what I wouldn’t be able to say in less than a paragraph:
.the most significant aspect of all this is the emergence of a class of portable computer that can surf the Web
Another thing of note in this article:
The Starbucks gimmick may be the start of something important too. Take your iPhone or iPod Touch into a Starbucks store and it will add a new button to the front screen. Push it and it will tell you what song is playing in that store and allow you to buy the track. Starbucks can be first with this sort of application because it is already wired for Wi-Fi, and the music application is a natural. But of course your phone or other wireless device will start to ping you with information – wanted or otherwise – as you move through the commercial world. Vendors have been talking about wireless coupons, etc, for years, but here it starts.
It’s really interesting to note that with a simple and limited marketing gimmick like the Starbucks gimmick, Apple shows everyone how to intelligently do wireless commerce. Who hasn’t asked the question “what’s that song playing now”? Well, now (at Starbucks with an iPod), you instantly get the answer to your question and you can buy the song. By showing an elegent way to answer simple questions, Apple is showing the way to go. I see that as an important marketing test, which I’m sure, will have other partners rushing at Apple’s door soon enough. Is the iPhone the new mobile commerce platform of choice?
Back to the device. So, if you want to browse the Web wirelessly, no need to buy an iPhone that cannot be easily activated without an AT&T plan. You just need a new iPod. As you can see with the above article, this brings a lot of possibilities. With the Safari browser, you now get a new wireless development platform starting at 299$ with an ever increasing user base.
As a user, you can now browse the Web, watch Youtube online videos or keep in touch with friends on a customized Facebook interface.
I see a lot of interesting uses for businesses too. If your warehouse is Wi-Fi enabled, you could make Intranet apps for this new device. Possibilities are endless.
For more information regarding differences between the iPhone and the iPod Touch, I recommend reading: “Differences between the iPhone and iPod Touch“.
With the iPhone, the problem always as been, at least in America, the mobile provider lock-in. With the direction Apple is taking, what stops them from developing a new version of iPod Touch with a microphone and speaker so you can make Internet phone calls à la Skype, the wiPhone?
I also hope they’ll soon add a GPS to both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. This will bring tons of features to local 2.0 applications and social networking.