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The iPod Touch--Phoneless Phone, PDA, or What?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on September 11, 2007

So exactly what sort of beast is the iPod Touch going to be when it surfaces later this month? When he unveiled it last week, Steve Jobs made it sound like an phoneless iPhone, but it now appears it will be rather less than that, more like an iPod with a browser but in any event, a new category of device.

In addition to the phone itself, the Touch lacks Bluetooth. Eventually, the iPhone will get software that will support the use of Bluetooth with wireless stereo headphones—it currently offers only voice-quality sound—but Touch users will be stuck with wires. One reason for this may be cost. A bigger one is probably to preclude any possibility of the Touch being used as a Wi-Fi phone. As long as you can’t get audio into the touch, there’s no way it can be used as a phone, but Bluetooth plus a bit of hacking might make that possible.

Engadget also reports confirmation from Apple that while Touch users can load iCal or Outlook calendars into their devices, they will not be able to add or edit appointments. That makes it rather less than a PDA.

The application most conspicuously missing from the Touch, though, is mail. With the same hardware and software guts as the iPhone and a Wi-Fi connection, there's no reason the Touch couldn't be used as a mobile e-mail terminal, except that it appears the Apple doesn't want you to use it that way.

The good news is that, as the iPhone has already proved, Apple's efforts to lock down the Touch will quickly be defeated by hackers. The bad news is that this approach makes it much, much harder for non-techie users to get the full benefit of a product whose capabilities appear to exceed what Apple is willing to let it do.

Reader Comments


September 11, 2007 3:14 PM

All the cool kids have moved to webmail anyway.

Uh, at least, that's what I've heard.

I have an 8 Gig Touch on order. Can't wait!



September 28, 2007 8:44 AM

I got the 16 gig touch and love it ! I have Yahoo email, so I can use the Touch for everything I do online. The Videos, Pictures, Music, Internet, and YouTube made it well worth the $400...and yes, I'm spending more on iTunes than I did before. lol. Hey it's WiFi...and I get bored at work. :-) I just wish that they would unlock the Calendar to edit it on the go. A 'To Do List' would be nice as well. Why can't they do that? It seems so incredibly minor not to...that's it's kind of a slap in the face not to allow this flashy new product to also serve as a PDA. It's my only complaint, but it does so much more that I still am more than ecstatic about my new baby !


September 29, 2007 12:46 PM

So,The iPod Touch will NOT be a phone as well as it's known uses?


October 19, 2007 12:20 PM

I dont know whether i should get the ipod touch coz i don't know if it's a phone or ipod and also i do'nt know how much it costs. Any ideas were i can find out? thanx! x

tom gillespie

November 26, 2007 12:07 AM

yeh nia, ipod touch! not a phone only a ipod with internet thankz:)

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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