Normally with a Mac keynote you don’t get instant gratification. Sure, you can surf right over to the Apple site and pre-order immediately but you won’t get hold of the goodies for weeks. This keynote was different. My iPod Touch feels like a whole new device today. That’s what I call instant gratification! When the iPod Touch was announced Apple made it very clear what the device would and would not have. The Touch was a very shinny iPod, not an iPhone without the phone, and not a PDA (a point I re-itterated strongly in my initial review). Yesterday Steve announced that from now on all new iPod Touches will literally be iPhones without the Phone, and that those of us with old Touches can upgrade for $20 (or just under €18 in Ireland). That’s $20 to turn an iPod into a PDA. Needless to say I grabbed the upgrade as soon as it became available via Apple’s software update system 🙂

[tags]iPod Touch, Apple[/tags]

When I first got my touch I was like a child who’d just been bought the entire candy store. I just loved the device. With this new upgrade I got that same feeling all over again. It was like having a whole new device. All the cool stuff I’ve loved since I got the Touch is all still there, but now I have loads more cool stuff too! The most obvious change is the addition of five applications to the home screen, but there are other enhancements too. The five new apps are Mail, Google Maps, Notes, Weather, and Stocks. Mail and Google Maps in particular are fabulous, and personally I find Notes and Weather useful too. I have no use what so ever for Stocks. Even just those five apps would be worth the $20 but the extra power features under the hood also made a huge difference to me.

The most visually obvious extra feature is the ability to re-arrange the icons on the home screen. As well as simply moving around the icons on the home screen you have you can also create extra home screens which you can flick over and back between. Finally you can also add web bookmarks to any of your home screens for easy access to your favourite websites and web-based apps. However, for me the biggest enhancement was the addition of VPN support. This probably doesn’t make that much of a difference for many people but it’s huge for me. At work we have ubiquitous WiFi but you need to connect to a PPTP VPN before you can get internet access. This meant that I couldn’t get online with my Touch in work before today. I gave it a go first thing this morning and it works flawlessly. If you’re a student or a member of staff in NUI Maynooth you’ll be happy to know that the updated iPod Touch is compatible with NUIMWireless!

With such a great upgrade for just $20 you’d think people would be delighted. No. The consensus on the web seems to be that this is somehow a disgrace. That somehow we were entitled to this for free. I don’t see how that tallies up at all. First, when we bought our iPod Touches Apple delivered exactly what they promised us, so why should we expect a huge upgrade for free? This is not just a little update to fix some bugs, this is a major upgrade that transforms the Touch into a PDA. BTW, iPod Touch users can get the regular 1.1.3 firmware update for free, you only have to pay extra for the extra apps and functionality.

There are also good legal and accounting reasons for Apple to do things this way. People seem to like giving the example of the iPhone which has improved quite a bit over the months since it’s release at no additional cost to buyers. There’s a reason for that, Apple promised iPhone buyers that what they were getting at launch was not the full product. Customers were explicitly told they would be getting more for their money over the course of the year. This was NOT the case with the Touch.

I’m saddened by the crappy attitude I’ve seen in some elements of the Mac community of late. First we had people who felt they were somehow victimised because Apple lowered the price on the iPhone after they’d bought one, and now we have people insisting they have some sort of right to get something for nothing. Get real!

The Touch upgrade is spectacular value for money. If you look at the upgrade as a software purchase, which it is, you’ll see that it’s dirt cheap. There are FTP clients out there that cost more!