I’ve been lusting for the iPhone for quite some time, but being a Verizon user and it not making sense to change to AT&T, I have been forced to resist. Since there’s currently no guarantee on how long it will be before Verizon gets the iPhone, I recently purchased the iPod Touch (2nd Generation) to see if that would work as a compromise.
I’m not done experimenting with it, but so far the iPod Touch is really slick and gives you a lot of the iPhone experience – until you don’t have wifi available. There are still a lot of great things about it though. Even when you don’t have the wifi you are still left with a fairly useful device that has an MP3 player, movie player, game player, photo viewer, e-reader and more. It’s sort of like a PDA, but with loads of extra capabilities. While you will miss being connected when you don’t have wifi, many of the Apps like NY Times, Twitter apps, Facebook etc., will cache the most recently downloaded information for viewing offline. I have found this to be very, very useful. The sometimes Internet connection may be more or less substantial depending on how often you are in wifi enabled areas.
When you do have a wifi, it’s very much like you have a an iPhone. You can take full advantage of the App Store, which is like a reinvention of the Internet for a mobile phone. You can use all of your Apps, surf the web and access your email from Microsoft Exchange, Gmail and most IMAP and POP mail.
The iPod Touch is missing some other significant things the iPhone has besides the 3G internet. It does not have the camera, GPS, compass, microphone and obviously, the ability to make phone calls. A microphone can be purchased separately though and would be useful if you want to do things like use the popular Shazam app or make Skype calls. The iPod Touch does haves the accelerometer (tilt sensor) and light sensor that the iPhone has.
This article also highlights more ways to use the iPod Touch as an alternative to the iPhone: Forget the iPhone—The iPod Touch is Good Enough.
The verdict on the iPod Touch is that it’s fun, useful and a good iPhone compromise, but instead of quelling my iPhone desire, it actually is making made me want it even more. For now it will work though since personally there are too many benefits for staying with Verizon. It’s not as nice as having the connection all the time, but then again I have the consolation of not being locked into a contract for expensive monthly payments with AT&T.