It has been three long years since Apple shipped a new iPod, and while today’s iPod touch release was anticipated, I’m still a bit surprised that Apple is saddling the device with the same tiny screen size and form factor it used in the previous model, which first shipped all the way back in 2012.
Or, as Apple puts it, “the best iPod touch yet.”
Now marketed as “ultra portable,” given how small it is next to modern iPhones, the new iPod touch does of course offer some advantages over its creaky predecessor. Chief among these advantages is the inclusion of Apple’s A8 microprocessor, the same chip it uses in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. This 64-bit chip provides the new iPod touch with support for Metal technology, key for running high-end games. And because the A8 includes pedometer capabilities in its M8 motion coprocessor, you can use the device for fitness tracking, as you can a modern iPhone.
The cameras are also improved, with a new 8 megapixel iSight camera and an improved FaceTime HD camera on the front. Apple says both support slo-mo and burst mode, as well as better noise reduction and improved face detection. The iSight camera also provides time-lapse video and high-resolution panorama capabilities.
For the first time, Apple is offering a 128 GB version of the iPod touch, in addition to 16, 32 and 64 GB versions (as with the previous model). Prices start at $200, with the 32 and 64 GB versions each costing $50 more than the next one down. But the 128 GB version costs $100 more than the 64 GB version and comes in at a healthy $400.
Finally, Apple has refreshed the device color choices: you can now choose between space gray, blue, gold, pink, and silver, and if you purchase directly from Apple you can get a Product red version too. (This was available on the previous model as well.)
Everything else seems to carry over from the previous model, including the form factor and button layout, the tiny 4-inch screen running at 1136 x 640, the Wi-FI and Bluetooth capabilities, the Lightning connector, and the battery life, which is rated at 40 hours for music and 8 hours for video. It does feature fast-charging, though, hitting 80 percent capacity in just 2 hours. It comes with Apple’s junky white ear buds.
The new iPod touch ships with iOS 8.4 and is of course freely upgradeable to iOS 9, which is expected in September.
If the iPod touch had sported the same screen size as the iPhone 6, even at a lower resolution, I might have jumped at this. But I think I can safely skip this one.