September 6, 2007

iPod Touch: Released due to hacking of iPhone?

Posted in iPod, Mac, Mac Software, Rants at 11:00 am by a11en

So, in talking on the phone (regular cell phone, which I hate, btw), with my brother about all the wonderful possibilities for the iPod Touch, we touched on a number of aspects regarding future devices. We also talked about how Apple set this release up with panache to fit within their tier of products. An earlier commenter, Shawn, brought me a bit back down to earth, chastising me for not seeing the iPod Touch for what it is. True, Shawn, the iPod Touch is just that- an iPod that you can touch the screen of. With the added bonus of Wifi. [Interesting]

And on that note, my brother made an observation that I must share with you. Kudos goes to the guy for a moment of sheer genius. The question we were trying to answer was: “Why not a microphone? Why not bluetooth for keyboard attachment?… etc.” In a flash of brilliance, My Bro, hereafter called “D” (to protect the innocence of little D… yeah right).. said the following: “Dude. They released the iPod Touch because people were hacking the iPhone.” I sat in silence for a few moments… I think D is onto something serious here. It fits. It fits good. It fits really really good. What was everyone and their doggies with webpages screaming for when the iPhone came out? “No Phone.. we just want an iPod.” It was a nice enough device (touch technology getting major kudos here, as well as the sweet flip-screen ability), that people started hacking it. They made it work in Europe, they made it work as an iPod without any darned phone ability. They were taking the device and hacking it in a big big way. Big enough that there were startups thinking about offering their services to hack these devices for everyone.

ATT must have been pissed. I know I would have been. Hell, they probably had the European release scheduled, and then the Asian release… everything planned out. Then, within 2 months of it being in the wild, a crack that allowed other network useage, as well as new applications and bricking the phone for use as a Wifi Browser (albeit a seriously expensive wifi browser)?

So, what does Apple do? They have this device in the works… they were planning to do this. What did people really ask for? An iPod that let’s them surf the internet. Pretty sweet device. I suspect Apple was (is) gearing up to give us more. How do they stop the incessant hacking? They release a device that gives us exactly what we were screaming for. That would cause either (1) the iPhone hacking to take a serious hit in interest, and (2) start a whole new type of hacking on the more popular iPod Touch. All to the benefit of the cellular networks (ATT) that were frustrated they were losing money and customers.

Let’s see if perhaps there isn’t a bit more to support this… let’s actually try and purchase one of these iPod Touches… oh, wait… I see I can order the new Widescreen Nanos… yes, they ship in 1-3 business days… I see that I can do the same with the shuffles and the iPod Classics… yup, ships in 1-3 business days. Hmm… iPod touch? No love… ships on the 28th of this month. That’s 22 days away. Hmm… interesting!! Vary vary interesting….

Looking closer at the iPod Touch… we see that it has practically the same *everything* as the iPhone. Sure, it’s a bit smaller around the edges, the top-plastic seems to be a bit shorter on top… perhaps the button divot is a bit smaller. The screen appears to be the same. My prediction? The first person to crack this cover off and look at the internals is going to find some missing chips inside and a bunch of connectivity not used. This, my friends, is an iPhone without a bunch of stuff inside. Slightly repackaged. I personally think it’s not a new product… I think it’s actually the iPhone. 🙂 That’s my take on this. They pushed this sucker out the door as fast as they could. They didn’t care they burnt some of the iPhone early adopters (oh sure, they paid lipservice to them by not including Mail.app and a chat feature and removed blue-tooth as well as the microphone port). Nope, this was a “hacker-killer.” They want to divert your attention. And, you know what? I think it’s going to work. I personally want to know much much more about the iPod Touch and want hackers to hack it as fast as they can! Give me a terminal and a few other apps, and I’m so there.

🙂 So, Kudos goes to my brother the infamous “D” (yes, he used to do some children’s TV shows back in the day along with the other letters.. “A”, “B”, etc.). I suspect that “D” is onto something here. I suspect this release solved a bit of trouble in Apple… and I suspect this was the device, albeit a bit more cut-down, that was supposed to be released next year.

Will I buy it? I’m counting my pennies. I most likely will. It’s going to be very hard not to buy it before the next Apple hardware release. So, for releasing practically what everyone wanted… serious Kudos go to Apple.

[small whisper says it’d be damned nice to have open development for this platform!]

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6 Comments »

  1. “I suspect this release solved a bit of trouble in Apple… and I suspect this was the device, albeit a bit more cut-down, that was supposed to be released next year.”

    Actually a major new iPod device has been long overdue. The timing for this release fits in with the usual line refreshed before the holiday season.

    I agree that it’s release helps steer some of the worries about hacking away from AT&T. (Though the quest for the ‘unlocked’ phone will continue, but much)

    At a minumum, Apple will issue updates that will thwart hacking on the iPhone while having a more lassie faire attitude towards the iPod touch (in the same manner as they have with AppleTV).

  2. a11en said,

    Shawn-

    I agree with a lot of how you’re thinking here… Although, just the updated Nanos would have been enough of a release for the Christmas season, I believe. In the past, releases were equally as large as the Nano alone. None were like this. The iPod Touch is a new beast. The Nano-only release would have been very much like the Shuffles of last season, as well as the video-ipods of years past.

    It’s a telling tale to me that they can’t ship this device yet. I wonder if they’ll make the 28th date for shipping…

    Hackers in this country will mostly be focused on the iPod Touch now, I feel… and I agree, Apple will sort of be a bit more hands-off on that. The iPod Phone will still appeal to the overseas market, however, we will likely see those releases come soon enough to squash a good deal of the overseas hacking.

    All in all, I think it’s an exciting device. I do wonder, however, if people will be so quick to jump on this device after ticking off some iPhone early adopters after only 2 months… that’s a bit unusual for Apple. I’m seriously wondering if January will have some sort of über-cool addition to the iPod Touch. Perhaps a microphone, or perhaps more apps linked in with iWork suite. It’s an intriguing new world to speculate about. 🙂

    Cheers!

  3. dima said,

    Sanks ! Good article & good site

  4. Tom said,

    Me thinks you have been watching too many Oliver Stone movies… 🙂

    You make a number of valid points but the whole hacker conspiracy thing directing Apple product development policy is a bit much. Quite often companies develop a more complex device first and then later introduce reduced function devices. That pattern is followed here. Perhaps the interested in hacked music only iPhones may have validated the iPod touch features but I doubt it instigated it.

    I don’t see the iPhone hacking hurting Apple any where as much as it may AT&T. Remember, Apple makes money on each phone sold. You have to buy a phone to hack it so Apple still benefits. The only loss to Apple is that they get a piece of the AT&T revenue. iPhone buyers have no reason to be upset about the iPod Touch. Different features. The massive iPhone price drop is what would have annoyed me.

    The mention of WiFi on the iPod touch really caught my attention. I’m not so much into music but having a wireless internet browser would really get my interest. So I hope the iPod Touch is just a stripped down iPhone so the hackers can quickly get iPhone applications running on it.

  5. Kobie said,

    Considering the iPod Touch and iPhone were released within 3 months of each other, I would have to doubt your conspiracy theory. In addition, the iPT has a wealth of hackability in and of itself. To release a device with major security flaws because people were hacking the iPhone seems to be a step backwards.

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