Ars Reviews the 5th Gen iPod: Stiff Competition, Or None At All

So Ars Technica has reviewed the new iPod Touch.

The new iPod touch improves on its predecessor in every way, but at $299 it faces stiff competition.

Android-based alternatives like the Samsung Galaxy Player and the Sony Walkman F exist, but they haven't had the same impact as the touch. Most other companies don't seem interested in fighting Apple for the remains of the dwindling music player market.

I'm having trouble figuring out whether the new iPod is facing stiff competition, or none at all.

All of this is marred by one thing: fifth-generation iPods start at $300. This isn't too bad if you consider its 32GB starting capacity—a Nexus 7, for example, can be had for $200, but the 16GB price is $249 and a 32GB version isn't (yet) available.

I'm not sure it's really a problem that lower capacity devices are available from others at lower prices, especially when it appears that those manufacturers have trouble matching Apple on price and storage capacity. If the 16Gb Nexus is only $50 cheaper and a 32 Gb one doesn't exist, all Apple is losing are the lower margin sales. They'll consistently make that call-- and Apple's huge orders for flash are a big part of what is driving down the price per Gb over time.

If what the Nexus wants to be is an entry level tablet, I think Apple will gladly let them have that market segment.

Pricing issues aside, the new iPod touch is an excellent upgrade over the previous model; it's just too bad to see it priced out of that lucrative $200 "impulse buy" zone.

I'm not really certain there's anything here to support the idea that this is a problem, or that the $200 price point is lucrative. Apparently this would mean slashing the storage to 8Gb, since apparently the Nexus can't hit that price point with any more capacity, either.

What's the incentive? Apple's entire strategy in every market right now is top down. A $200 iPod with less storage doesn't really fit that model.

Is a $200 8Gb Nexus really stiff competition for a 32Gb iPod Touch at $300?