When you compare and contrast the iPhone and iPod Touch, there is little difference between the outside design features of the two, and though under their hood they both share similar robust features, there are some significant differences that you should consider in deciding which one to purchase.
Compare and Contrast: iPhone and iPod Touch Have Similar Features
Both the iPhone and iPod Touch have the following features in common:
“¢ Both share Apple’s 3.0 operating system which features touch technology; cut, copy and pasting; landscape keyboard typing, spotlight search features, and Wi-Fi access, which makes them essentially a computer in the palm of your hand. Touch and accelerometer technology by the way provides for smooth and easy navigation on the devices, enabling users to zoom in and out on images and webpages, and use titling and other hand movements to play games and other similar applications.
“¢ Both include the following default applications: Safari web browser; Calendar, Internet Mail, Address Book; YouTube video player, Calculator, Notes, Photo Browser, Stocks reporting, Weather reporting; Clock, GPS Maps, Voice Memo, Nike + iPod exercise tracking support, and an iPod music player app.
“¢ You can sync both devices to Apple’s iTunes software (for both Mac and Windows PC) to add and remove songs, videos, photos, and other data files. The entire process is fairly automatic, and with an Apple MobileMe account you can sync information to the devices wirelessly.
“¢ The iTunes App Store features 5,000+ applications specifically designed mostly by third party developers to run on both devices.
“¢ Both devices feature voice-control technology to navigate music playback with spoken commands. This is done on the devices themselves or through the remote mic on the earphones that come with the devices. (Note: only the 32GB and 64GB models of iPod Touch come with voice control.)
The third generation iPod Touch comes in three models: 8GB ($199), 32GB ($299), and 64GB ($399). These models can hold from 1,750 to 14,000 songs, 10,000 to 90,000 photos, and up to 30 hours music and 6 hours of video playback time. However, these stats depend a lot on how you use the device and what other data files you have stored on them. Plus, in my average use of both both the iPod Touch and the iPhone 3G, the battery usage isn’t that great. So get accustomed to daily charging.
Of course, the iPod Touch models do not come with a phone or instant messaging. However, there are several third party apps like AIM that enable users to use instant messaging on the touch. And there are a few hacks, such as , for making phone calls on the touch. Though of course you still need a Wi-Fi connection and a remote microphone on say the earphone cord to make the calls.
WiFi But No 3G
The iPod Touch does not require an AT&T phone or WiFi contract to use it, which saves you well over $700 per year. As with the iPhone, the iPod Touch has built-in WiFi capability but it does not have what’s called 3G access, which only comes with the iPhone 3G and 3GS. So basically, if the places you travel to and frequent have WiFi servers, you should be okay with Internet access on the device. For instance, McDonald’s now provides free Wi-Fi connections, as do many colleges and universities. With 3G capability, however, you pretty much have connections to the Internet nearly everywhere AT&T provide the services.
No Camera or Video Cam
The iPod Touch also lacks a camera and video recorder. This has been a huge criticism of the device, and many critics think that a digital camera should have been included with the third generation touch. More than likely the fourth gen will finally get this feature.
iPhone 3G and 3GS
The latest version of the iPhone comes in two models: the iPhone 3G 8GB (from $99), 16GB (from $199) and the 32GB (from $299) The price variances are also based on a required two-year wireless service contract with AT&T, starting at $69.99 per month. AT&T subsidizes the iPhone, which attributes to its lower cost than the iPod Touch. You can purchase an iPhone without an AT&T service contract, but it will cost you between $499 and $699. See rate plans. You will also want to check the availability of AT&T services in your area for the terms of 3G service, signal strength, bandwidth speeds, and phone rates.
Phone and Instant Messaging
Of course the iPhone does include a full service phone and AT&T instant messaging. Rates for messaging are $5 per month for 200 messages, $15 per month for 1500 messages, or $20 per month for unlimited SMS messages. There’s also higher cost family packages. But again, as stated above, there are applications for the iPhone that do instant messaging for free, such as IM+Lite.
The voice technology of the iPhone 3GS also extends to voice dialing so that you can make voice commands to call someone in your list of contacts or to dial a specific number.
Wi-Fi, 3G, and EDGE Connectivity
With the AT&T service plan, each of the iPhone models comes with wireless Internet and network connections. So in places where you get free or paid Wi-Fi connections, your iPhone is automatically connected. If however you are in a location with no Wi-Fi or free Wi-Fi, you can connect to the Internet through AT&T”˜s 3G and EDGE wireless connection services. The 3G connection is about is even faster than traditional Wi-Fi connection speeds, while the EDGE connection is slow as a turtle.
Camera and Video Recorder
Both the iPhone 3G and 3GS include a digital camera. The 3G has a 2 megapixel sensor while the 3GS modal has 3 megapixels, plus autofocusing and photo geotagging, which keeps track of the locations where you shot images using the iPhone”˜s camera. iPhone 3GS also includes built-in video recording, for a clear 30 frames per second capturing.
The 3G iPhone does not include a video recorder; however, there are a few third party applications, such as Qik that Nancy listed in her article The Top 7 Apple iPhone Complaints & Some Simple Solutions, that can be used on the 3G model that provide reasonable video recording capabilities.
Though I can’t vouch for it personally, the iPhone 3GS also has greater performance whereby applications open faster and there’s increased Internet speed. The 3GS also comes with a Compass which “re-orients maps to match the direction you’re facing.”
Advantages and Disadvantages
Perhaps the number one factor in determining which device you should purchase is price. The extra $360-$700 AT&T service fee may be the best reason for not getting the iPhone. If you don’t make many mobile phone calls, the iPod Touch makes for a great mini computer and media player without the monthly service costs of a smartphone.
However, if you’re already paying for a mobile phone service plan, the extra $30 or more a month for 3G access on the iPhone can be very convenient, for it means that in most cities throughout the country you will have Internet access nearly everywhere you go. With the built-in Maps app, 3G networking provides good, but not full fledged, GPS mapping for when you need driving or walking directions.
The additional camera and video recorder may also be worth the extra costs of the iPhone because it means carrying around one or two less devices in order to grab candid camera and video shots. The imaging features on the iPhone also connect with hundreds of additional applications that can’t of course be used with iPod Touch. There are applications, such as the Best Camera App, that really enhance the image making capabilities of the iPhone which Jackson previously showcased in his article The Best Free Alternatives To Top Commercial iPhone Photography Apps.
What’s Your Feedback?
So MUO readers and existing iPhone and iPod Touch users, what suggestions do you have for those considering purchasing one of these devices? Are you a former iPod Touch user who upgraded to the iPhone? Why? Are you an iPhone user who regrets your purchase? Give us your feedback.