Apple Updates iPod touch, Recolors iPod nano and iPod shuffle
For the first time in almost three years, Apple has refreshed its iPod lineup, releasing a new iPod touch with improved specs and changing the colors of the otherwise unchanged iPod nano and iPod shuffle. Despite Apple’s headline proclaiming “5 stunning colors,” all three actually come in six colors: blue, pink, silver, gold, space gray, and (PRODUCT)RED, with the proceeds from the last one going toward fighting AIDS in Africa.
The new sixth-generation iPod touch retains the same form factor and 4-inch Retina display as the previous generation, but now boasts the A8 processor and M8 motion coprocessor used in the iPhone 6. The updated iPod touch also offers a new 8-megapixel iSight camera capable of capturing 1080p and slow-mo video, and an improved FaceTime HD front-facing camera that can take 1.2 megapixel photos and 720p video. Wi-Fi connectivity is also improved, with support for the 802.11ac standard. It appears that
Apple has dropped the peg that enabled users to attach a wrist strap. Battery life remains unchanged at up to 40 hours of music playback and 8 hours of video playback.
The new iPod touch supports Apple Music, and according to Apple’s iPod comparison page, it’s the only iPod to do so; iTunes will not let you sync Apple Music songs to the other iPods. The iPod touch starts at $199 for 16 GB of storage, with 32 GB available for $249, 64 GB for $299, and for the first time, 128 GB for $399 (the 128 GB model is available only directly from Apple). The 128 GB model should mollify some of the people perturbed by last year’s loss of the 160 GB iPod classic model (see “Eulogy for the iPod classic,” 11 September
Other than the new colors, the updated iPod nano is identical to the old model, with only a 16 GB model available for $149. It features a 2.5-inch multi-touch display, Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, an FM radio with 15-minute Live Pause, and Nike+ integration. It offers up to 30 hours of music playback or 3.5 hours of video playback.
The updated iPod shuffle is also identical to its old model, apart from the new colors. It stores only 2 GB worth of music, but costs just $49. It offers VoiceOver support for track identification and navigation, and up to 15 hours of music playback.
It’s particularly nice to see Apple paying some attention to the iPod touch after all this time; it had lagged significantly behind the iPhone and its yearly refreshes. For some audiences, notably younger children, an iPhone is inappropriate, but it was difficult for parents to choose an iPod touch when its processing power had fallen so far behind the iPhone and iPad for games. We aren’t at all surprised to see that the iPod touch retains its smaller form factor, though, since children have smaller hands (and often sharper eyes!) than adults, and reducing the manufacturing changes undoubtedly enables Apple to keep margins high. Given that Apple’s Other Products category, which includes the iPods, Apple TV, Beats Electronics, and
accessories, brought in $1.7 billion in revenue in the last fiscal quarter (see “Apple Makes Even More Money in Q2 2015,” 27 April 2015 — that number is down from $2.7 billion the previous quarter), it’s worth keeping these iPods going, but not worth putting much effort into updating them.
Is it likely that this will be the last product release where the screen doesn't incorporate force touch sensitivity, and the home button does not have a fingerprint sensor? It makes sense that Apple releases it now, before a generation of products built for iOS 9 appears. (I'm chewing over whether to buy one now or wait for Thanksgiving...)
I wouldn't bet on Apple updating the iPod touch in a big way any time soon after this release. They waited three years from the last one.
What I mean is that if this new iPod is the last iOS device that will be released without force touch and touch ID, then starting this Fall all the app developers will be updating their offerings to take advantage of hardware features that this device lacks. This is a great update compared to the outgoing generation, certainly, but will it soon be kind of stranded if it can't support features that become common in 2016?
The iPod is clearly a low priority for Apple. If you want a non-cellular device with all the newer features, I'd recommend waiting for the next iPad mini.
Oh, yeah, you're absolutely right. I suspect Apple sees it as a device for young kids, where the lack of hardware support won't be that noticeable.
Important update to the article: it turns out that you cannot sync Apple Music songs to the iPod nano and iPod shuffle. So be aware of that if you decide to get one of these new iPods.
So only music you've ripped from CDs or bought elsewhere will work with the new baby iPods and older iPods and iTouches? Since Music has replaced iTunes Music, does that mean that if I am forced to get iTunes 12 to go along with iOS 9, all my previously purchased iTunes Music will be deleted from my iPod Nano and iPod Photo?
No, the restriction only applies to tracks you've downloaded from the Apple Music subscription service. Your existing music should sync just fine, including iTunes purchases. It's only the subscription songs that won't transfer.
The 128 GB iPod Touch may mollify those who can afford to replace their iPod classic, but $400 will be a tough nut to crack for some people. Fortunately, for me, my five year old Classic is still going strong (knock on wood).