Apple today did something that's quite common in the tech industry: They updated existing products, in this case the iPhone and the iPod touch, with increased storage capacity. Normally, this would be a win-win. But there's something important missing from today's announcement that casts a bit of a pall over things. Here are the pros and cons of the new iPhone and iPod touch models.
What happened? Apple today announced new iPhone and iPod touch models, both with more storage capacity than the previous models. On the iPhone front, Apple added a 16 GB model for $499 (in addition to the existing 8 GB model, which costs $399). For the touch, a new 32 GB model (also $499) was added, bolstering the existing line, which includes an 8 GB version ($299) and a 16 GB version ($399).
The Good. More storage is always welcome. Indeed, in my review of the iPod touch, one of primary complaints of the device was that, while the iPod touch is nearly perfect as a portable video device, it's limited storage capacity was a problem: You just can't fit that many videos in 16 GB of storage, especially if you use the Apple-recommended H.264 format.
The Bad. Generally, when Apple (or any other company) raises storage on its portable devices, it basically just replaces the existing models with new versions that have twice the storage of the models they replace. This effectively lowers prices. But that's not what happened here. Instead, Apple simply added new models to each product line, each of which carries a premium $499 price tag. They didn't lower the prices of the existing models at all. So rather than, say, make a 32 GB iPod touch $499 and turn the low-end touch into a 16 GB model at $299, Apple just added expensive new models and kept prices at the same level.
So. Does the absence of an actual price cut make these products any less enticing? Not entirely. In fact, I think it's more important at this time that the iPod touch be given a more acceptable range of storage options than get a lower price. This, along with the recent 1.1.3 firmware update, may trigger a revision of the 3/5 score I gave the iPod touch in my review late last year.