So, there’s a few good rumors out there, and I think I generally fall in line with Marco Arment. His being the reasoned, logical tea-leaf read, I’l just wildly speculate.
Macrumors links to what they characterize as a dubious claim of an updated iPod Touch with 3G capabilities.
I’d agree this is dubious for a single reason: at that point, I don’t think they’d call it an iPod Touch anymore. Here’s what I think we could see from Apple: no more wifi-only versions of the iPhone or iPad.
At some point, cell network communication chips just don’t cost enough to justify making a separately designed product without them. My theory is that if you want what today is an iPod Touch, you can buy a cheap iPhone. It’ll still be contract free, it’ll still be cheaper – a cheaper, thinner design, that looks like today’s Touch possibly using the last-gen chip instead of the latest-gen. Maybe it doesn’t have a retina display.
And it will have 3G. If you want, you could turn on cell data (voice as well if you want), if you don’t it will still be an iPod Touch.
Carriers could use this model as your cheaper, pre-paid iPhone. Instead of selling the 3Gs, this could be subsidized to cheap-or-free.
Right now, Apple maintains some level of production on three models: the iPod Touch, the 3Gs, and the 4. If you can eliminate one of these lines, still provide a cheap entry-level iPhone that can do double-duty as the Touch – and can become a phone at any time – it seems like it makes sense to do that.
I’ll grant that’s probably crazy. And maybe with LTE on the horizon, you wait until you can do this same thing with LTE instead of 3G. That then also gets rid of your separate Verizon model. On the other hand, maybe you simply use a dual-mode chip.
Just some crazy thoughts from a fanboi.