I’ll start off by saying that I firmly believe that this is simply a graphics mistake and not a leak of a future product. That being said, an eagle-eyed reader of iDownloadblog discovered that the iPod touch product image on Apple’s official iTunes site has a clear ’3G’ indicator along with a signal indicator in its status bar.
Now, this seems like a clear cut case of a Photoshop job gone wrong, perhaps the image of the screen was taken from the iPhone and superimposed onto the iPod touch for this graphic. But the possibilities make me downright excited. The 3G logo is unaccompanied by a carrier logo, as is the custom for graphics on Apple’s site, but pop an AT&T or Verizon logo in there and you’re talking the beginnings of a major shift in the way that the carriers do business.
It seems silly that such a minor addition to a device whose sales are fading year-over-year could make any impact on the carrier system, but the implications are downright thrilling. I talked a bit about the ramifications of 3G on an iPod touch in my article on the future of Apple’s mobile devices here, but the gist of it is that services like the upcoming iMessages, along with a contract-free 3G device like the iPad and perhaps a future iPod touch, are a stepping-stone to a data-only device that frees us from the grip of long-term voice contracts.
Yes, this is probably a design glitch, not a product leak, but the possibilities for the future of Apple’s products and even the smartphone industry at large are enough to give you chills.