Update: Damon Kiesow responds at Poynter (see below).
Apple held their fall product announcement event yesterday. The iPod lineup got a complete makeover. The biggest announcement from a journalistic perspective – hands down – was the addition of video/still cameras to the iPod Touch.
The addition of the HD cameras (both front and rear-facing) make it perfect for a journalist on the go who either doesn’t want to pay a monthly surcharge for data rates on a mobile plan, or doesn’t want to switch providers because of Apple’s AT&T exclusivity.
The downside, of course, is that the cost of the iPod Touch went up a bit.
The new features will be useful for students at the University of Missouri and other j-schools who are “required” to purchase one.
Engadget has a hands-on review of the new iPod Touch.
Update with comment: Kiesow notes the paltry quality of the back still camera and lack of GPS on the new iPod Touch:
However, the back still camera is a paltry 960 x 720 pixels (.69 megapixels), which is far less than the 5-megapixel camera included on the iPhone 4. Of some lesser concern, the iPod Touch does not include a GPS radio, so location sensing is handled by identifying the WiFi networks the device can detect. That is not necessarily an issue for actual news gathering, but it does mean you would need an additional device (GPS or cell phone) to meet any location or navigation needs.
These are certainly valid points. I suppose I’m seeing more of an attraction for college journalists who lack the resources to pay for a full-featured iPhone + mobile plan (or young journalists just starting out who would like to eat more than Ramen noodles on a beginning salary). As Damon mentions, the GPS issue is less mission-critical for actual news gathering. And, I imagine the camera will be upgraded in future editions (hopefully).