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New iPod gets Wi-Fi iTunes Music Store, YouTube, Web browsing

The new iPod's got Safari, Wi-Fi, YouTube, Web browsing

Googling on the iPod--the stuff of legends. Ina Fried/CNET

This morning, Apple unveiled the iPod Touch, this year's latest must-have gadget that's the first bona fide iPod to have built-in Wi-fi, the Safari Web browser, and the YouTube app iPhone owners have come to love. That's not the most groundbreaking aspect, though--this thing's got a full version of the iTunes Music Store that you'll be able to use for shopping right on the device. You can preview and buy songs that will sync up to your iTunes library when you plug it in back at home. The idea is similar to the Music Gremlin, and the Sandisk Sansa Connect, except you're getting the added benefit of Apple's entire online catalog.

Also groundbreaking is the inclusion of Apple's Safari Web browser, which features the same functionality you get on the iPhone. For enterprising Web app creators, this is huge. The iPhone's somewhat prohibitive price point (even after this morning's $200 price drop) and two-year service agreement with AT&T limited many from purchasing the device. Despite this, the explosion of Web apps that have been built specifically for the device is staggering. Companies have become so enamored with the idea of a special iPhone version of their site, it's becoming nearly as prevalent as building a Facebook app.

Despite the inclusion of YouTube, there are two mysteriously missing apps from the iPod touch. The Google Maps app, and the Mail app, which gives users first party support for popular mail services like Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL mail. Between the two, the mail app is the more important in conjunction with Safari, as users will have to use two separate windows and their favorite Web mail client to actually e-mail someone in Safari. The experience on the iPhone is a little more seamless, with the device simply opening up a new message in mail.

The iPod Touch is shipping later this month in 8 GB and 16 GB capacities at $299 and $399, respectively. More news about it can be found on Crave's live blog post.