Despite protestations by Steve Jobs that the evolution of the iPod touch has always been towards gaming, the deconstructionists at iFixit may have found the missing camera link in its latest teardown.
Prior to the Apple event last week, rumors of a camera in the iPod touch had been circulating for months. Some of the most convincing evidence included video of a case and circuit board with a camera. However, shortly before the third generation device was unveiled, new rumors of technical problems with the camera module suggested delayed availability. The Apple Event and Steve Jobs interview with the New York Times supposedly cleared all that up, except maybe not.
According to iFixit, there is space for a nano-style video camera in the iPod touch, but not enough for a still camera like the iPhone. This new information, combined with previous rumors and photos, suggests the strong possibility of a future touch with a camera. As to why Apple did not include a camera in the third generation iPod touch, perhaps technical issues were to blame, or perhaps it was a desire to keep a certain amount of feature distance between the iPod touch and iPhone. That would explain the other big find from iFixit.
It appears the Broadcom chip in the iPod touch supports 802.11n, as well as containing Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and an FM radio module. The techs at iFixit speculate that if antennas were built in, and if the iPhone OS were to support it, one could stream music in a car that was appropriately equipped with Bluetooth. Those are some huge advantages over the iPhone, which only supports 802.11 a/b/g and has no FM radio.
Seeing as the iPhone earns more income for Apple than the touch through revenue sharing, it would be no surprise if the touch was crippled to protect iPhone sales. Disappointing, but not surprising. We’ll likely see all these features in both the touch and the iPhone in the future, and pay for them in another upgrade cycle, too. That’s expected, but wouldn’t it be great if just once Apple created a product that was as technologically advanced as it could be, rather than as it should be to protect the company’s sacred margins?