If the latest Apple rumor is true, a new iPod Touch should arrive in September. U.K. retailer John Lewis says we can expect an iPhone 4-inspired device with a front-facing camera, video chat, and a gyroscope.
All good stuff, certainly. But like most rumors, the U.K. report is short on specifics. So why not fill in the blanks with a personal wish list for the next-gen iPod Touch? Here are some features I'd like to see:
1) A really good camera. The new iPod touch will feature a 5-megapixel, front-facing camera with a flash, according to John Lewis. That sure sounds a lot like the iPhone 4's rear-facing camera (5MP, LED sensor, 720p HD video at 30 frames per second). If true, that's great news. A more likely scenario, however, is that the touch adds a VGA-quality (640-by-480 pixel) camera like the iPhone 4's second front-facing cam. Another question: Will the iPod Touch be able to shoot videos and photos, or only videos like the iPod Nano?
2) Video chat with non-Apple users. Face it, as long as FaceTime video chat is limited to the Apple faithful--as is the case today--it'll never rise above novelty status. Steve Jobs has vowed to make FaceTime an open industry standard, but that development could take an eternity (or longer) as standards bodies and tech's major players like Google and Microsoft mull their options. And unfortunately Skype for iPhone, which runs on the iPod touch, doesn't support video calls.
3) Retina display: Apple, bring the iPhone 4's glorious 960-by-640-pixel screen to the iPod Touch. Assuming the Touch adds FaceTime, as well as gyroscope for more advanced gaming, Apple's critically-lauded "retina display" would be a nice match.
4) Faster Wi-Fi: Today's iPod Touch supports 802.11b/g wireless, but not the newer 802.11n spec. According to Samsung, 802.11n Wi-Fi throughput on mobile devices could reach up to 35M bps (bits per second). The iPhone 4 supports 802.11n, as do a growing number of laptops and smartphones. It's the Touch's turn.
5) Built-in microphone: If the iPod Touch adds a video camera, an integrated mic would be essential. Currently, the earphones that ship with the 32GB and 64GB models have a mic and a remote. If the Touch adds a video cam, an earphone-based mic won't cut it.
6) Longer battery life: Apple managed to squeeze a larger battery into the iPhone 4, an upgrade that could mean up to 10 hours of Internet use on a Wi-Fi network. The power-hungry iPod touch could use the extra staying power as well.
7) 3G option with iPad-style data plan: I know, I know--this isn't going to happen. A 3G-enabled iPod Touch would encroach too far into iPhone 4 territory. Still, a 3G Touch with an AT&T data plan--200MB for $15/month, or 2GB for $25/month--is high on my wish list. Perhaps when pigs fly.
This story, "Next iPod Touch: 7 Must-Haves" was originally published by PCWorld.