Yes, the iPod touch still matters to Apple

Apple releases new iPod touch models with the 64-bit A8 processor, up to 128 GB storage and five different colors

Many people have been wondering when and if Apple would finally update the iPod touch. Today the company announced some huge upgrades: An 8 megapixel iSight camera, a 64-bit A8 processor and up to 128 GB of storage. And there are now five different iPod touch color options: Space gray, gold, blue, pink and silver.

All of this is great news for folks that have been waiting for long time to buy a new iPod touch. And yes, there really are folks out there who need or want an iPod touch instead of an iPhone or iPad. But why would anybody opt for an iPod touch instead of an iPhone or iPad? I'll tell you why in this post and I'll explain why the iPod touch is still a very important product for Apple.

The iPod touch is a lower cost gateway to the iOS ecosystem

One of the things that many people seem to forget is that not everybody wants or needs an iPhone or iPad. The iPod touch offers a lower-cost way of accessing Apple's excellent iOS app ecosystem. iOS has many thousands of apps and games that cover virtually every interest and need for users that want a mobile device.

So the iPod touch serves a very valuable purpose by letting folks use iOS and all its apps but at a much lower price point than the iPhone or iPad. This is very important to budget-conscious consumers and also to folks that have kids. After all, who wants to give a young child an expensive iPhone to use when an iPod touch is a much better alternative?

Kids and budget consumers aside, there are also people who simply have no use for an iPhone or iPad. They want a small, handheld device that runs all of the apps available for iOS, but they don't want to pay a monthly cellular bill. And so the iPod touch is literally the perfect device for such users. You get a lot of what the iPhone offers, but without having to pay a monthly bill for cellular service.

The 128 GB iPod touch is finally here!

I've seen many comments online from folks that have been dying for a 128 GB iPod touch, and now it's finally here if you want to order one from Apple's online store. Part of the reason why so many people wanted an iPod touch with more storage is because of the demise of the iPod Classic. Once the classic was discontinued, many people wanted to jump to an iPod touch but found that 64 GB wasn't nearly enough for all of their music.

Some might still find that 128 GB isn't quite enough either, but it's a lot better than previous iPod touch models. And I have no doubt that, sooner or later, we'll see a 256 GB iPod touch hit the market. Probably within the next couple of years.

Speaking of storage, some have wondered why Apple has stuck with 16 GB as the low-end iPod touch. The company has done this partly to make an up-sell to the higher models more attractive, and also to offer an iPod touch that appeals to those who really don't require much in the way of storage.

I actually own an older model 16 GB iPod touch and it's still useful despite the low amount of storage. I use it mainly for a few useful apps and as an e-reader in certain situations. No, I can't have a bazillion songs, videos or apps on my little 16 GB iPod touch but that's okay. It still has value to me and it works very well for what I need it to do.

Eventually, of course, we'll probably see the low end iPod touch (along with the iPhone) move to 32 GB as the base amount of storage. But for now Apple has decided to stick with 16 GB instead of 32 GB, and I think the iPod touch will still be quite appealing to its market.

But what about a larger screen iPod touch?

One thing that I found disappointing was that Apple is not offering larger screen options for the new iPod touch. You won't be able to buy a 4.7-inch iPod touch or a 5.5-inch iPod touch.

Perhaps Apple felt that offering larger-screen iPod touch models might cannibalize iPhone or iPad sales too much? I'm really not sure but that seems unlikely to me since Apple has never shied away from cannibalizing its own products.

Apple might simply have decided that offering a larger screen (or Touch ID) might be including a little too much in one update or it might have increased the cost beyond what Apple felt would be acceptable for the iPod touch. I suspect that the larger screen sizes will eventually happen, but for now the 4-inch models are the only ones available for iPod touch users.

So much for the rumors about the iPod touch being discontinued by Apple

I'm very glad that Apple has finally updated the iPod touch line. I have been reading comments and rumors that the company no longer cared about the iPod touch. And, of course, all of that was a bunch of baloney as we can see from today's update.

I suspect that it has taken Apple so long to upgrade the iPod touch because the company has had its hands full with the Apple Watch, larger screen iPhones, Apple Music, etc. So the iPod touch was put on the back burner for a while, until Apple was able to focus on it.

So far the buzz about the new iPod touch seems quite positive over in the Apple subreddit. Here's a sampling of comments from Apple redditors:

Minhvn: "A8 chip in the new iPod Touch, did not expect that at all!"

Rockybb: "It uses the A8 chip with the resolution of the older 4" screen. Right now this $200 iPod Touch could be the snappiest iOS product of them all, and almost definitely the fastest "small" handheld device available. I am actually seriously tempted to have this instead of an iPhone since I love the feeling of the iPod Touch and its smaller size but I'll need some sort of wireless LTE/3G router in my bag all the time.

edit: it also has what looks to be the the same 8MP shooter as the iPad Air 2's. That's a really decent camera for a low priced mobile device. Given what we know about the quality of sound, casing, and the display from the previous iPod Touch, this looks like the best bang for buck offered by Apple right now and the best small form factor device."

Rm20010: "Colour me surprised - they didn't skimp on the CPU this time, other than a likely downclock from the 1.4 GHz on the iPhone 6/6 Plus if following tradition from previous iPod touches. Looks like they're keeping the same 5/5S resolution so the GPU should in theory age nicely."

Chronixx: "A8 chip huh? Well it's clear it will not be updated for a good while after this, good thing they went ahead and gave it the best available right now."

Brigadier: "Would not surprise me if this is the last or next-to-last iPod touch they ever make, so it makes sense to "future proof" it. The iPod Touch is a good idea to give people a less expensive way to be introduced to and learn to use iOS, but smartphones are becoming so ubiquitous that I don't see a high end smart media player like this remaining in the mix for too much longer. I could see them selling it for another 3-4 years perhaps, in this same form and just dropping the price. MAYBE it will get one last revision after that, but it's hard to imagine it going beyond that."

Gondlon: "No touch ID though, no idea why they didnt update that."

Ashdown: "Cost."

Pgig: "It's a $199 device. Keep in mind an iPhone 5c is $450, it has the same screen/camera, a plastic body, a chip that's 2 generations older and no Touch ID either.

We're lucky enough the iPod touch has the same chip as the fastest iPhone without a price hike (that doesn't usually happen). I wouldn't have imagined a new iPod with both an A8 chip and Touch ID for less than $299 (which would still be a great price considering a 5s with a slower chip will cost you twice that)."

Aledclar: "Apple pretty much future proofed the iPod touch other than the RAM. This will be a good device for at least a few years. Digging the new back too without the camera loop. Those colors are nice too!"

More at Reddit

As you can tell from the comments, most people seem quite pleased with the new iPod touch, particularly since Apple included the A8 processor and up to 128 GB of storage. So the iPod touch is alive and well again, and I think it's going to make some Apple customers very happy indeed.

Did you miss a post? Check the Eye On Apple home page to get caught up with the latest news, discussions and rumors about Apple.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

Drexel and announce Analytics 50 award winners
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies