Rumored new iPod Touch to boost VOIP, multimedia use

Rumors of a new iPod Touch are making the rounds and people are speculating that the new Touch will include a camera, built-in microphone and 64 GB of memory. If this turns out to be true, I’ll be first in line to buy one. I already have an iPod Touch, not an iPhone, because I do not want to pay for AT&T’s lousy service and I do not want to tied down to a long-term contract. For voice calls, I use a prepaid T-Mobile card which I pop into my Nokia phone and top up every two months with $25. I spend $12.50 per month on voice calls.

Here in San Francisco, iPhone users have complained of the slow AT&T EDGE network. AT&T does have 3G in the city, but in the Ferry Building, a popular destination only two blocks from the Financial District, and in many places in the Mission district, all you get is EDGE and it is much too slow. What are people paying for anyway?

New iPod Touch is iPhone minus expensive long-term cellular contract

Andy Abramson points out that a new iPod Touch with microphone and camera would be great news for VOIP and multimedia applications, and for those of us who want an iPhone but don’t want to pay for expensive long-term cellular networks that do not deliver the speed we need to use those applications.

With very fast Wi-Fi in so many places around the world, it’s much easier now to use Skype for voice on the iPod Touch and have a camera to make and edit video clips, and never have to bother with slow cellular connections.

Andy says: “This is awesome news for the likes of Skype and client Truphone and will likely start a flood of “me too” applications from the likes of Cablevision who operates a WiFi hot zone in the New York area, Clearwire and Comcast who are chasing customers in the Portland area with WiMax and elsewhere as the WiFi capability of the iPod touch means its a mobile phone without the mobile phone bill and contract connected to it, something Jeff Belk, the former Senior VP of Strategy at Qualcomm discussed in Unstrung in February of this year . . . [T]his also opens up a whole new world for mobile video production and applications that make it easy to record and capture, along with a voice over, as well as quickly “rough cut” video footage and upload it.”

According to Andy, there are two groups who will take advantage of an iPod Touch with a microphone and camera: pre-teens who can’t afford a cellular contract and travelers who can’t stand roaming charges but need to stay in touch cost effectively.

Outdoor 802.11n networks + iPod Touch = amazing user experience

With many equipment vendors  such as Ruckus Wireless releasing new 802.11n outdoor access points that use beam-forming technology, we can expect better outdoor (and indoor) Wi-Fi coverage at lower cost (see Ken Biba’s article about how 802.11n networks dramatically improve Wi-Fi service). This will also have a big impact on people who have iPhones (and other smartphones). The difference in user experience on Wi-Fi networks versus the experience on 3G/EDGE networks will increase. That will put pressure on AT&T and other cellular operators to upgrade their networks, a very expensive and time-consuming proposition. I don’t see how the cellular carriers can accommodate the increased demand for bandwidth within a short period of time, as even more people buy smartphones over the next year and download more bandwidth-hungry applications on the App Store.

Related articles:

Rumored New Apple iPod Touch Will Be Huge for VoIP, Multimedia (Andy Abramson)

The King is Dead, Long Live the King: 802.11n dramatically improves Wi-Fi outdoors (Ken Biba)

Ruckus Wireless launches outdoor dual-band 802.11n access points

Meraki releases 802.11n outdoor mesh product

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