One of the presumptions about the iPhone and iPod Touch hardware is that the hardware is all essentially the same across the platform. (Ignoring obvious differences like the lack of a phone or camera in the iPod Touch, of course.) But Touch Arcade is reporting that the second-generation iPod Touch has a modestly faster CPU than its predecessors, a 532MHz ARM chip instead of the 412MHz version in the first-generation iPod Touch and the iPhone 3G.
For day-to-day use, this extra 120MHz may not end up making that much of a difference, but Handheld Games CEO Thomas Fessler reports that internal testing at the company reveals that the faster iPod Touch can render about 1,500 polygons on each of their 3D TouchSports Tennis [above] models compared to around 1,000 on the iPhone 3G. Moreover, there are slight differences in rendering speeds across all models, with the original iPhone EDGE running slightly faster than the original iPod Touch.
Details, perhaps, but it indicates an answer to one of my questions about the entire platform: Will Apple ever cut firm generational lines into the platform, removing compatibility for some software on older models, or will they continually make modest upgrades generation by generation? While we've only two generations of the platform to go by, the differences portend the latter will be the path taken by Apple. That's probably better overall, but it also implies that in the future — say, a couple of years from now — there could be iPhone and iPod Touch models with enough additional horsepower that some software, especially games, might have to be written for one generation or another.
2nd Generation iPod Touch Faster than iPhone [TouchArcade.com]