Not that I’ve been overly interested in the new iPod announcements – my current G3 iPod (40GB), which I bought at the Paris Apple Expo exact 4 years ago, still works fine and still has some empty space. Battery life, even, is still a reasonable 6-7 hours. Can’t see myself buying a new iPod anytime soon; at least not for music.

Announcements like new colors and form factors are therefore not really relevant to me; Starbucks (huh?) and ringtones, meh. What’s interesting is the new iPod touch, despite the somewhat silly name. The base model is essentially an 8GB iPhone, but without the microphone, camera, BlueTooth and phone radio parts – it remains to be seen if they also took the speakers out. It’s also a little smaller in all dimensions, though the screen resolution is the same. At $299 this would cannibalize a significant part of iPhone sales, but this has been neatly counterbalanced by the 8GB iPhone price reduction from $599 to $399. And with the disappearance of the 4GB iPhone this should keep iPhone sales going well as before.

There’s also a $399 model with 16GB. Though Apple didn’t think it necessary to say so, the iPod touch of course is based on the same hardware/platform as the iPhone, running OS X and all. I suppose that all of the recent tricks to install extra applications will work on it. There’s certainly plenty of space for extra icons on the main screen, and the somewhat inexplicable omission of Google Maps will probably be the first thing to be corrected by users.

All this is certainly very positive to Apple stockholders, though the stock fell back to last week’s levels, as usual after announcements. In the long run, the new iPod will probably be seen as the first of the OS X tablets. The next generation should have a 640×480 or 1024×576 screen, and hopefully a built-in GPS device. Indeed, from all accounts, the only thing still holding such a device back is the unavailability of such a touchscreen at a reasonable price.

Finally, there’s no more excuse of “phone network security”; the new iPod should be the hardware part of the (hopefully) upcoming OS X development SDK. I expect that it will be announced at the end of October when Leopard and Xcode 3 come out.