Remember when the first-generation iPod Touch came out last year? The poor thing only had 11 Apps, couldn't e-mail, and the advent of movie rentals, games, and the iTunes App store were distant on the horizon. Oh, and 8 gigs would set you back about $300. Slowly, but surely, Apple kept upping the ante by adding more features and offering movie rentals, games, and finally, the App store. Still, the boutique price of the first-gen Touch made it tough to recommend, especially as the up-front price of the iPhone 3G dropped down to $199.
Now, finally, Apple has delivered the iPod Touch we've been waiting for, at a price that makes sense (although I still hope the 8GB version dips to $199 after the holidays). The second-generation iPod Touch is miles away from the device I first saw in September of 2007--the hardware is sexier, the features run rings around the competition, and the open-ended development of the App store can bring nothing but improvements.
No product is perfect, and there are plenty of legitimate reasons to turn your back on the iPod Touch (iTunes headaches, cheaper options, valuing simplicity over features). But I feel confident saying that the second-generation iPod Touch is the best portable media player I've used this year. As proof, I offer you my full review of the second-generation Apple iPod Touch, recipient of CNET's Editors' Choice.