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New iPod touch Gains A10 Chip and 256 GB Configuration

Apple has announced an update to the iPod touch, the runt of the iOS device family, replacing the previous model’s A8 chip with an A10 Fusion chip and adding a 256 GB configuration for $399. The company claims that the A10 chip provides up to twice the overall performance and up to three times the graphics performance, which combine to enable Group FaceTime and enhanced AR experiences. The new model is available online immediately and will be in stores next week.

There isn’t much else to say—as far as I can tell, everything else stays the same, including the $199 and $299 prices for the 32 GB and 128 GB configurations. The dimensions remain 4.86 by 2.31 by 0.24 inches (123.4 by 58.6 by 6.1 mm), and it sports a 4-inch diagonal screen, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing FaceTime HD camera. In terms of connectivity, it still supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1, along with a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

Frustratingly, the iPod touch could be a much more interesting device. With such svelte dimensions and a 3.1-ounce (88-gram) weight, it’s far more pocketable than any current iPhone, and its $200–$400 price point is affordable. So, two thoughts:

  • What if Apple added the necessary chips and antennas to turn the existing iPod touch into an iPhone? It would undoubtedly add some to the weight and possibly the thickness, and increase the price by maybe $150, but a less expensive iPhone in the iPod touch form factor would be compelling to a lot of people turned off by the size and cost of today’s iPhones.
  • Barring a full iPhone, what if Apple gave the iPod touch just a cellular data modem, as can be added to iPads now? That would likely increase the price by $130 and would require a monthly fee for cell service, but in return, users would gain Internet access anywhere there was a cellular signal. Such an iPod touch wouldn’t support phone calls, of course, but for many people, notably kids, voice and video access through FaceTime, Skype, and the like would be more than sufficient.

Apple never mentions the iPod touch in its earnings calls or breaks out sales numbers, and I never hear it talked about. It has gotten to the point where we mostly say “iPhone and iPad” when talking about iOS devices since it’s awkward to include the iPod touch and unnecessary if few people have one.

So it seems safe to assume that the iPod touch sells in sufficient quantities for Apple to keep updating it occasionally, but not enough that it’s worth investing much development effort. Perhaps some cellular connectivity would turn the iPod touch into more of a profit center.

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Comments About New iPod touch Gains A10 Chip and 256 GB Configuration

Notable Replies

  1. I used an iPod touch (alongside a separate ‘dumb’phone) for many years. While I eventually moved to an iPhone, I’m so glad the iPod touch continues to be supported and updated. It’s a great device for a whole class of people and use cases. And I still miss the design and how thin it was.

  2. Did your dumb phone have cellular Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities? That would seem to be the Holy Grail combination.

  3. No, it didn’t, I just used public WiFi whenever I could. It worked pretty well, though I have probably now got so used to mobile data on my phone that going back would be jarring. I can see why you’d want a mobile data option for the iPod touch (like with the iPad), but I’m not sure that would be possible while still keeping it as thin as it is. There’s a great simplicity to the iPod touch – very thin, and no extra plans/monthly charges to worry about.

    • What if Apple added the necessary chips and antennas to turn the existing iPod touch into an iPhone? It would undoubtedly add some to the weight and possible thickness, and increase the price by maybe $150, but a less expensive iPhone in the iPod touch form factor would be compelling to a lot of people turned off by the size and cost of today’s iPhones.

    Umm, no. That was the iPhone SE which Apple just threw out. Because apparently nobody wants that…

    In all fairness, that wouldn’t really be that exciting either. Essentially it would just be a cheap iPhone. For one, that already exists in the form of older iPhones discounted by either carriers or through Apple refurb. In terms of new cheap devices, when was the last time a) Apple wanted to do something really inexpensive? and b) buyers ended up really liking it? Perhaps the iPod shuffle? But of course that was ~15 years ago and well before current Apple leadership had much say.

    What would be more exciting is to cater to that form factor without requiring it to be super cheap. That would allow for some innovation: create something svelte but with modern day internals & performance, decent camera, and most importantly an edge to edge display (no home button, no bezels). That way we’d get an iPhone the size of an iPod touch, but with the screen the size of an iPhone 8. That would cater to everybody who’s willing to spend actual money on an iPhone, but refuses to carry around a device the size and heft of a cutting board. Now maybe nobody wants that either. Fine. Just FTR, I’m nobody. :wink:

  4. Yeah, I’m note sure how much thickness would be added by the necessary chips and antennas.

    Yeah, I’ve made that argument too. In an ideal iPhone world (for users), Apple would have an inexpensive iPhone and a small iPhone, and they wouldn’t have to be the same device. You know, like in the iPad world, where there’s a cheap iPad, a small iPad mini, and a big/powerful iPad Pro.

  5. The fact that the iPod touch’s new A10 processor is the same as the iPhone 7 bodes well for how long that model will support major iOS updates. It was already looking good on that front after Apple released the 6th Gen 9.7" iPad with it last year.

    It’s too bad they didn’t add Touch ID, it remains the only shipping iOS device without it or Face ID.

  6. Yep, all I want is a modern SE. Faster processor, better cameras. This is the first sign of hope since the remaindering of the existing model.

  7. I hope this isn’t too stupid a question, but would WiFi calling work on the new iPod touch?

  8. No. That requires a cellular connection. VoIP like Skype and FaceTime are fine, but wifi calling requires a cellular carrier’s network and support. Essentially, if there’s no phone no. associated with the device, you won’t be doing wifi calling.

  9. Well, if you had an iPhone as well, Wi-Fi calling would work on the iPod touch, just as it does now on Macs and other non-cellular iOS devices. But it’s kind of not the point, since if you had an iPhone you wouldn’t need the iPod touch.

  10. It looks like the Touch is about the same size as the SE?

    Diane

  11. Indeed.
    iPhone SE: 123.8 mm H, 58.6 mm W, 7.6 mm D, 113 g
    iPod touch (7th gen): 123.4 mm H, 58.6 mm W, 6.1 mm D, 88 g

  12. It’s the depth that is noticeably (and pleasingly) slimmer than the SE. The dimensions @Simon quoted don’t quite do justice to how it feels – significantly thinner, and the rounded edges are more comfortable to hold (for me).

  13. Wouldn’t an updated Touch really be an SE? Which is sorta why I finally abandoned the Touch and switched over to the iPhone 5 when it came out. (I forget how many years ago was that???)

  14. Actually, in addition to the faster CPU and one higher-capacity storage option, the RAM has also been doubled from 1GB to 2GB:

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