New iPod touch - tablet, or phone?

by Guy J Kewney | posted on 27 July 2009

We know there's a new iPod Touch on the way (September) but could it actually be used as a phone? Or will it be a Tablet computer?

Both prospects are looking possible. The new device (in conventional format) has been leaked, and there are pictures from China where the factory is getting ready to start shipping, which show that the newest iPod Touch has a camera. The same reports indicate a new version of the iPod Nano, too.

But speculation, always frantic when we near a new release date, suggests it will have a microphone, too; and there is also talk of a "giant size" iPod, which might fit into the smart-book sector of the market.

If the iPod touch arrives with a microphone, it doesn't have to be a phone to be useful for talking, because with the WiFi wireless, it should be able to run applications like Skype and Google Voice or other voice-over-IP programs, suggested Arik Hesseldahl

He also suggests that Apple may include a GPS for navigation.

The Tablet launch story flies in the face of all Apple's pre-launch publicity, but when the source is the Financial Times, all the protests from Apple are likely to be ignored. We always expect Apple to deny or conceal forthcoming products, and the rumour is pretty detailed, including a code-name - Cocktail - and a September launch date, with a pre-Xmas shipping date.

The physical description is big: a ten-inch display dimension takes it clear out of the "pocket" market. And it is described as "more of a giant iPod Touch, than a small Macbook" - which means it will run the Touch/iPhone operating system, not the Mac OS.

The FT's report says the new toy is central to a recording deal: "Apple is working with EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group, on a project the company has codenamed “Cocktail”, according to four people familiar with the situation." The deal aims to make downloads more like buying CDs, the report says.

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