The new Kindle Touch is what I would purchase right now if I were buying my first kindle. I strongly prefer reading on an eink screen (instead of an LCD screen, like what is on the Kindle Fire, the iPad or many computer screens). The touch uses the same 6 inch Pearl screen that the current Kindle uses. So there is not an upgrade to the actual screen, but there is an upgrade to the processor and software, so the page turns are supposed to be faster. At this point, I do not think that faster page turns matter, until the brief flash is eliminated. Page turns are basically instant now.
I will be interested in how the touch screen works. Touch does make sense for kindles. People often try to touch the screen because that is the default interface for smart phones and tablets. Touch also allows you to eliminate the physical keyboard so the Kindle can be smaller. (Although the Touch is only .7 inches shorter and .1 inch narrower, 1 ounce lighter but is .06 inches thicker) The Sony Touch screens originally flopped because it was done with a touch screen overlay that made the screen harder to read. The Nook Touch released earlier this year used a heat system that was under the screen, and I believe that is what is being used here.
Other than the touch screen, and lack of a keyboard, the kindle has basically the same specs as the current kindle. It still supports Audible.com Audiobooks, has external speakers (and a headphone jack).
My main concern is that the Kindle Touch has removed page turn buttons. So you have to touch the screen to change the page. The more a page is touched, the dirtier it will get and the more likely it will be to eventually wear out or break. I would have rather had a touch screen with page turn buttons.
The Kindle Touch will still have a Wifi-Only and a Wifi/3G models. If you are around Wifi and primarily will read at home, I would save the $50 and get the Wifi only. (I personally have the Wifi only model of the current kindle). If you travel very often, do not have Wifi at your home (or are buying it for parents or others and do not want to remotely support Wifi login) then the $50 for lifetime 3G access would be worth it. My sister-in-law is currently in a rural village in Africa and using the Kindle 3G for very basic internet access to communicate with the family (for free).
If you are a person that takes a lot of notes when you read (I do) then you may prefer sticking with the current Kindle with a keyboard. The physical keyboard will probably still be faster to type on than the touch screen keyboard. And the current 3rd Generation Kindle has virtually all the same specs as the new Kindle Touch except for the actual touch screen.
You can pre-order the Kindle Touch at Amazon for delivery on Nov 21st. My guess is that they will start shipping a little bit before that, but Amazon will ship them first to those that order first, so there may be a reason to pre-order. Historically Amazon has run out of Kindles when first released, and because it will be Christmas season, I would not be surprised if these sold out around Christmas.
The $99 price for the Wifi only Kindle Touch (and the $149 for 3G) are for the Special Offers editions. If you do not want any ads on your Kindle, it will be $40 more. I prefer the Special Offers. The ads are not obtrusive (only on the screen saver and the bottom of the home screen and they do not appear in books.) I have a post on my thoughts on the Special Offers editions.
I will have a separate post on the new Basic Kindle later today.