Why an iPod Touch With Cameras Would Be a Serial KillerS

A new iPod touch with the iPhone 4's dual cameras—specifically its awesome 5-megapixel shooter—is more than just another iPod touch. It's a true killer gadget.

A friend of mine is moving to France for a year. Her contract with Verizon is up for renewal. She's not a super dweeb, but she was considering getting a decent Android phone—the Incredible, or Droid X—and simply running it on Wi-Fi, using it as her ultra pocketable computer for music, web browsing, Facebook, email and importantly, an internet-connected camera alongside a cheap pay-as-you-go phone for basic service over there. The Verizon salesperson inexplicably told that wouldn't work at all. I told her it simply wouldn't be very good. What she needs, really, is an iPod touch with the iPhone 4's retina display and dual cameras.

Inexplicably, there's never been a credible iPod touch competitor. The Zune HD doesn't run apps (the handful it's got don't count), so it's limited in what it can do—it's simply a very good music player. Android is still a miserable place to be when it comes to media, and on top of that, all of the Android "tablets" have been thoroughly mediocre. There's nothing out there that's remotely like the iPod touch. And obviously, there's a demand for it, since it's the only iPod whose sales are still growing.

An iPod touch with the iPhone 4's remarkable-for-a-phone camera would be the gadget that's effectively a ninja assassin squad against a whole range of other middling gadgets. A 32GB model would be $300, assuming Apple keeps the same pricing scheme as always. (They will.) A FlipHD is bulkier, shoots the same 720p video, and it's about $150. The average cheapish point-and-shoot is around $150 too, and doesn't shoot photos that are much better in the hands of a normie. An iPod touch with the iPhone 4's excellent camera would replace both of them—with some superior capabilities, like easy uploading to Flickr or Facebook—while doing all of the other things an iPod touch is awesome at for a minimal amount of extra scratch.

The camera app is less flexible than a dedicated camera, this is true. There's no white balance control, or exposure compensation, or other advanced controls you'd find on even middling point-and-shoots. But the people who could replace their point-and-shoot with an iPod touch are the kind of people who didn't mess with that stuff anyway: They point. They shoot. And excellent imaging apps like Hipstamatic and Pano deliver the kinds of effects and fireworks the average person is looking for in their photos. Even I've semi-replaced my S90 with my iPhone 4, for 90 percent of the quick photos I take.

An iPod touch with a camera. It's a powerful proposition. The fact that it can replace a camera makes it that much more powerful of a gadget, that much more of a threat to everything else—because that means it really can replace everything in a manbag or purse but the phone—iPod, camera, notepad, gaming device, the list goes on. And it's everything that's great about the iPhone 4, but without the technological venereal disease that is a two-year AT&T contract. It's approachable, even to people who aren't super tech savvy—they can keep their simple, reliable phone on any carrier and use the iPod touch right along with it. That's a killer gadget.