Return of iPod touch?

By | 29/05/2019

iPod touch 2015I remember my first iPod – it was iPod classic. I got it in 2008 with MacBook White Early 2008 bought to me by my parents to help me in school times. Later, when I began to earn my own money, I got my first iOS device – it was iPod touch 4th generation. Basically, remove phone module, mobile data module and GPS module and your iPhone will become an iPod touch. I was running on dumbphone + iPod touch combo and it was good, until I got my first smartphone to replace both of them, but that’s another story. Let’s focus on iPod touch.

iPod as music player did a revolution of way how we listen to the music. Its 5 GB capacity was something awesome in that times and Apple itself used slogan “1,000 songs in your pocket”. Your entire music library always with you. Microsoft tried something similar with brand Zune, but it was not successful. In 2011 Microsoft discountinued Zune hardware and in next year were discontinued all Zune services.

iPods were successful, but concurrency does not sleep. Later, consumer smartphones began to rise on the market (though first smartphone is dated to 1992), like Nokia’s phones with Symbian and also “dumbphones” with memory card support and music features were more and more common. Apple was in difficult position – these modern phones began to cut iPods’ market. Apple’s first attempt to integrate mobile phone and music player was Motorola Rokr, a product of partnership between Apple and Motorola, but without significant success. One of limitations was a firmware’s 100 songs limit, though it could handle a 1 GB memory card.

Later, in 2007, Steve Jobs announced brand-new product – an iPhone. A combination of iPod, phone and mobile Internet browser. Later, alongside iPhone, was released a new iPod line – an iPod touch. It was basically an iPhone, but without phone module.

Apple’s priority was iPhone and iPod touch was behind it. In next years, iPhone user base was significantly rising and classic iPods (and iPod touch) started to decline. Also, times and market were changing and new services like Spotify appeared. Music streaming was more and more popular, even Apple itself introduced its service called Apple Music in 2015. iPhones were getting regular updates, while iPods were pushed to corner. Apple did not update iPods touch very often and for a long time, since 2015, iPod touch was not updated. In 2014, iPod classic was discontinued.

Is this the end of an era of iPods?

Maybe not. Apple just updated iPod touch. Old A8 chip was replaced by much faster A10 Fusion SoC from iPhone 7 and storage was raised up to 256 GB. Apple issued iPod touch update just few days before WWDC, but why?

Some rumors say that iOS 13 will drop support for many iOS devices. iPhone 5s introduced in 2013 is still supported by the latest iOS 12 update, but it’s likely to be the last iOS we will see on this old iPhone. Also, iPhone 6 with its A8 chip and 1 GB RAM is likely to be dropped too. Was this the reason why Apple decided to update iPod touch with A10 Fusion SoC? Will be iPhones with A9 SoC (iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE) dropped too? As iPhone 6s owner, I hope no.

Apple says that new iPod touch is up to 2x faster with up to 3x better graphics performance with support for AR games. New iPod touch is not right now available for direct purchase, so we will have to wait for first benchmarks in real world. Also it’s unclear, how many RAM this iPod touch got. Personally I think it will be 2 GB of RAM.

New iPod touch keeps the same form factor, like 4-inch display and headphone jack. It is available in Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Blue, Pink and (PRODUCT)RED finishes, like previous generation of this iPod. Price starts at 199 USD, for highest model with 256 GB of storage Apple charges 399 USD.

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