The rumor mill has been buzzing that Apple is gearing up to release a new iPod Touch this fall to celebrate 20 years since the iPod lineup launched. That may not sound too exciting for many, especially since most people own smartphones that can do more or less the same thing as an iPod Touch, but with the bonus of a cellular modem. However, I think it's a great idea for Apple to launch a new model. And even though I'm an Android kinda guy, a new iPod Touch is something that I've wanted for years.
I'll start by saying that I've never owned an iPhone and probably never will. That said, I've owned quite a few iPod Touch models, up until the 6th-generation, which was released in 2015. As the iPhone and iPad exploded, the iPod line waned in relevance, especially since most of the line was dropped in 2017, leaving the iPod Touch to fend for itself. And even then, any updated versions only received hand-me-down chipsets from previous iPhones. The current iPod Touch (7th Gen) model released in 2019 and featured a chip from the iPhone 7 released three years prior. The design has remained largely unchanged since 2012.
But that might change with the upcoming iPod Touch. It's rumored that Apple is planning a big redesign for the device, complete with smaller bezels, a new chip, and no notch. As a result, it would look more or less like the cross between an iPhone 12 and an iPad Pro. If that's true, take my money now. But given how little attention the iPod Touch gets, is it really worth releasing a new model?
Gene Munster, an analyst at Loup Ventures, seems to think so. The iPod Touch may not be the hot ticket that it may have once been, but it remains a viable option for families. "The iPod Touch still exists as largely as a kids device for entertainment and wifi contact," Munster says. He adds that it's also a good way for parents to save money by not purchasing a data plan like they would with an iPhone or even an iPad.
Releasing a new iPod Touch could also make sense in the grander scheme of things, even if it doesn't make much financial sense. According to Munster, the line is expected to bring in only $500 million in revenue this year or "1/3 of a percentage of overall revenue." That's compared to the hundreds of billions that the iPhone brings in annually. However, the iPod Touch represents yet another avenue for customers to tap into the company's various subscription services through Apple One. Sure, the company has its tablet devices like the new iPad Pro (2021), but their size means they lack a certain portability that it found in devices like an iPhone or iPod Touch. And while the iPod doesn't have its own cellular modem, it's often easy enough to tether your phone connection or download media for offline listening or viewing.
Not only that, but it's also a good way for devoted Android users like myself to get their hands on an inexpensive iOS device without the full financial commitment that normally comes with buying an iPhone. After all, it's always good to know how that other side is doing, and it could be helpful when apps like Clubhouse launch first on iOS before reaching Android much later. Additionally, I have always liked the idea of having a separate device on hand to carry some of the burden that my daily driver would normally endure. That way, I can preserve battery life on my smartphone for when I actually need it.
The iPod went from a music-centric device to an entertainment device, and Apple should highlight that if they are indeed releasing a new one. If Apple can bring a good device to the table with plenty of storage, a decent camera, and maybe even a headphone jack (wishful thinking, I know), then the company could breathe a bit of much-needed life back into the iPod.
The current model starts at 32GB, which, even in 2019, was a paltry amount of storage for storing apps, music, and photos. The new iPod Touch should have at least 128GB, a figure that's found on even some of the best cheap Android phones. The camera may not be the main focus for a device like this, but it should still come with at least one decent sensor and some of the new software chops found in Apple's latest iPhones. Oh, and it needs a bigger screen. The 4-inch display just isn't cutting it in this new decade when streaming video services are all the rage. I played with the 7th Gen model not too long ago, and I couldn't believe how small it was. It felt oddly unwieldy, and I can't imagine watching videos or playing games on such a small screen nowadays.
It would be nice to have a headphone jack so that the company could really lean into the new Lossless Audio in Apple Music, but we all know how stubborn Apple can be.
Of course, more serious audiophiles can always spring for a Sony Walkman if a dedicated music player is what you're looking for, but many of them are overpriced and out of reach. Besides, at this point, the Apple iPod touch has become much more than a music player. People may not be clamoring for the next iPod Touch, but it's still an important device for the company, families, and even Android users like myself. After all, the iPod lineup helped the company grow into what it is today. It would be a shame if Apple didn't celebrate that.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.