Apple are quite smart really. I think they announced their new range of iPods just in time to capture the imagination of the Christmas market and ensure that they’re actually available (Nintendo take note). And yet again they’ve delivered something with the “I want one of those” factor. Actually, several devices with the “I want one of those” factor, addressing several market segments and budgets. Very few companies can do that. One the downside, they also served up a huge helping of device envy to their existing iPod owners (but as discussed here before, that’s part-and-parcel of investing in technology – life stinks, so hold your nose and get on with it).
An iPhone-lookalike iPod (the iPod touch) was expected, as was the re-vamped nano with added video. Less expected, from what I’d read, was the re-vamp of the more traditional iPod (now re-branded as the iPod classic). Nice new colours for the iPod shuffle, but I really couldn’t care less about that one.
Last week I debated whether to wait for the iPod announcements or get an Archos 605. In the end procrastination resulted in me waiting for the Apple announcements. And to be honest I’m still undecided. The iPod classic wouldn’t be of any benefit to me – personally I think the screen is too small for watching movies, so it would only be a music player, and my existing grey-screen 20 gb iPod is fine for that. So, the iPod touch with it’s 3.5 inch screen and integrated Wi-Fi is the most coveted. However, when you compare it to the Archos 605 the specifications are rather disappointing.
The iPod touch wins hands-down on look-and-feel, style, weight and ‘slim-ness’, and it looks like there’s a few more bits in the box. The Archos 605 wins on screen size (4 inch) and resolution (800 x 480, compared to the touch’s 480 x 320). Battery life for video is roughly equal.
Where the iPod touch falls down is on it’s storage capacity – it will be available in 8 gb and 16 gb models. Not including the 4 gb flash drive model, the Archos 605 starts at 30 gb and goes up to 160 gb. The small capacity, and the fact that storage is on a flash drive, gives the iPod touch that slim advantage. But let’s put this into perspective – currently I have around 9 gb of music on my current iPod, so that’s more than half of the 16 gb capacity gone. An average DVD ripped into the right format will be around 1 gb – ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ (a bum-numbing 2 hours 34 minutes) weighs in at 1.5 gb. ‘Team America’ (1 hour 33 minutes) is 928 mb. Therefore after the music goes on, the 16 gb iPod Touch would have room for 7 DVDs if I’m lucky. Not exactly a broad choice when you’re considering what takes your fancy when sitting in Manchester airport. On the other hand, the 40 gb Archos 605 should comfortably hold 30 DVDs.
Of course, despite all this thought process, I’m no nearer a decision. But if I hang on another year…