Apple's Ambitions for the iPod Touch

It's more than a media player. It amounts to a hand-held Macintosh.

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The Touch (left) is more than just a big sibling to the other iPods.
The Touch (left) is more than just a big sibling to the other iPods.

I've thought of the iPod Touch as a bigger version of its media-playing siblings. Apple, it seems, has larger plans. The Touch is more than a video and music player. It's also more than an iPhone without the phone. It's a new "platform" that will carry all kinds of programs to come, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said in a call with analysts yesterday about the company's earnings.

The device is also carrying a lot of Apple's hopes, apparently. Cook said the Touch should become "the very first mainstream WiFi mobile platform." So maybe the Touch is Apple's answer to the Ultra Mobile PCs that are hitting the Windows market.

Pushed by Microsoft, Intel, and Samsung, UMPCs are hand-helds that run full-blown Windows. Their portability is an obvious appeal, but they seem awkward to me. Maybe I'm intimidated at the idea of shrinking a sophisticated computer.

The Touch in many ways is the same thing—running the same operating system as its desktop Macintoshes. But Apple markets it differently. It's just expanding a simple iPod. It's turning a music player into more. Seems friendlier, and something more of us could ease into.