I've been waiting for an 80gb+ iPod with a larger screen since the 80gb iPod video came out in October 2005, shortly after I got the 60gb iPod photo -- which has been full since then. Today Apple presented me with another dilemma:

  • $350 160gb iPod classic
  • $400 16gb iPod touch
  • $400 8gb iPhone (with 2-year contract)

I ruled the 160gb iPod out because I watch a lot of video (mostly from the TiVo) on the subway, and I really want a better screen than the Treo 650's 320x320. Both the iPod touch and the iPhone offer 480x320 -- so twice as many usable pixels as the 320x240 iPod classic or Treo (movies aren't square, so 1/4 of the Treo's pixels are completely unused for video) -- with H.264 support. I expect quality to be three times as good as what I currently watch.

Then it was down to the 16gb touch vs. the 8gb iPhone, for the same purchase price. Fortunately, I spend most of my time at home or on campus, where I have 802.11g available -- EDGE is useful for lunch and walking between the train and home/office, or road trips (less than once per month). If Rockefeller didn't own my Treo 650 and pay for Verizon service, I might have gotten the iPhone, but instead I opted for the 16gb iTouch.

Actually, more than dealing with Rockefeller about the phone, it came down to the fact that replacing my iPod is much easier than replacing my Treo -- I use Plucker a lot, and Vindigo, Web Confidential, TomTom Navigator & Google Mobile Maps not infrequently. The real flaw with the iPod touch compared to my 60gb iPod is storage capacity, and I'm not willing to wait any more for a super-iPod with the large screen and large hard drive. I don't know why Apple won't sell it, but after 2 years it's time to move on. I still keep my music on home and work systems via rsync, and I just decided to bite the bullet and deal with having a subset of my music when I travel.

The reality is that I will listen to / watch the iPod more than I have been doing, because it's currently tethered to a Mac in FireWire Disk Mode most of the time, with my Eudora Folder mounted. I can't take it with me when I walk out without quitting Eudora (which can take a while to close windows and purge the Junk folder), unmounting it from the Desktop, waiting to get the all-clear, and then removing the Dock cable. As a result, I only use the iPod for music when traveling. I briefly tried using a flash drive (first-gen iPod Shuffle) for this purpose, but writing was way too slow.

I've been carrying a single Eudora Folder with me since my PowerBook Duo 230 (33MHz, 640x400 greyscale 1992-1994), which I carried around to have a consistent mailbox, even after the keyboard and screen broke (I used it with an external keyboard and monitor). I switched to carrying a Zip disk (and perfected my backup system -- Zips were notoriously unreliable), briefly to Orb disks, and back to Zip when it became clear that Orbs were even worse. I switched to a portable 10gb hard drive until I got a 10gb iPod. Now I will have to find a new way to keep track of to-do email -- time to try out Eudora 8!

It will be great to escape Apple's broken Palm HotSync support. iPod touch sync should be much more robust, since it uses different versions of the Mac apps, with the same data formats.

I was surprised to notice that the iPod touch's home screen looks different than the iPhone's -- the touch uses a Leopard-style shelf, while the iPhone's is Dashboard-inspired. Likely this will be resolved in the next iPhone update. It's somewhat more puzzling that the iPhone supports Audible formats 1, 2, & 3, while all current iPods support formats 2, 3, & 4