Maybe we’ve been spoiled. There have been so many groundbreaking Apple products. Were our expectations too high? I don’t know, but the press event on Wednesday was definitely a letdown. (For the summary of announcements, click here.) Instead of a revolutionary whirlwind of change, we got a whimper, as well as some lingering questions to baffle over.
Why did the Nano get a camcorder and not a still camera? And why didn’t the iPod Touch get any kind of cam at all?
The Krav himself, our own Noah Kravitz, posited two guesses about the iPod Touch: Either the device went without a camera “to not cannibalize iPhone sales. Or, it was delayed due to technical difficulties, and it’s coming soon.” It might be the former, at least according to comments made by Steve Jobs to The New York Times’ David Pogue:
“Originally, we weren’t exactly sure how to market the Touch. Was it an iPhone without the phone? Was it a pocket computer?… what customers told us was, they started to see it as a game machine [with free games in the App Store, and multi-touch interface and the accelerometer].
We started to market it that way, and it just took off. And now what we really see is, it’s the lowest-cost way to the App Store, and that’s the big draw. So what we were focused on is just reducing the price to $199. We don’t need to add new stuff — we need to get the price down where everyone can afford it.”
If you envision an imaginary stand-off between the Krav and Jobsy, Noah’s actual counter-argument would score some points in that debate: “Someone willing to pay $400 for a 64 GB iPod Touch will gladly pay an extra $49 for a 3.2 MP camera with vid capture.” Well, I can’t argue with that. Neither can other experts. Silicon Alley Insider seems to think if Apple released another version with a cam in time for the holiday season, the company could even save face in light of this colossal fail.
But that’s kind of unlikely… or is it?
When asked whether his sick leave hindered the development/production schedule at Apple, Jobs replied: “There are some things that I’m focusing a lot of attention on right now—to polish. No, I don’t think we’re going to miss a beat. We have some really good stuff coming up.”
As for the iPod Nano — well, it’s less of a mystery why it got a camcorder and not a still camera. According to the Apple CEO, the sensors needed for recording vids are very thin and fit right inside the gadget’s slim 0.2-inch profile. Not so with the ones for still cameras, at least those that allow for decent resolution and autofocus tend to be bulkier.
So there you have it. Personally, I’m not sure if I buy these explanations. Knowing that a camera for the iPod Touch was the one feature most fans were clamoring for, and then choosing not to deliver it, means one of two things: Either Apple fell down on the job, or maybe it has something bigger up its sleeve. And since Apple’s no longer participating in Macworld, we may not have to wait until January to find out.