Behold, Another iPod Touch

Illustration for article titled Behold, Another iPod Touch
Screenshot: Apple

This is it, iPod fans, the upgrade you’ve been waiting for. After four long years, Apple is refreshing its iPod touch with—get excited—a slightly less-old processor.

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The new touch—which was rumor back before Apple’s streaming event in March, when analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasted a new iPod touch arriving this yearwill be powered by Apple’s A10 Fusion chip, support Group FaceTime and augmented reality, and starts at $200. It’ll also come in a new 256GB option, and Apple’s release not-so-casually mentions all the incremental upgrades makes it a solid choice for its upcoming Apple Arcade service. That said, you’re still stuck with a 4-inch display, and it won’t support Touch ID and Face ID—although the spec sheet reveals you do get a friendly little headphone jack. No dice on those USB-C rumors though.

While the iPod touch is much cheaper than a full-fledged phone—at most it’ll set you back $400 for the 256GB version—it still raises a few questions for Apple. Like, why not just make a cheaper phone? And, in 2019, who is this really for?

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Coincidence the marketing plugs Apple Arcade? Methinks not.
Coincidence the marketing plugs Apple Arcade? Methinks not.
Image: Apple

The obvious answer: children. Its appeal is as a cheap standalone video and mobile gaming device that you can over to a small child without worrying that every drop, spill, or accident becomes a thousand-dollar penalty. Weary parents get a few hours of quiet, while Apple effectively gets a gateway drug for younger users.

Still, in 2019 it’s sort of difficult to find a compelling reason for anyone with a functioning smartphone to get onboard with the touch. Even when it comes to kids, all you’re really getting is the illusion of greater parental control. Wifi exists, and the only thing really separating an iPod touch from say, an iPhone 7, is its inability to connect to data networks between destinations. You might just end up with a horde of tiny wifi zombies who can still get up to plenty of mischief once they find an internet connection.

To be fair, back in the day, getting an iPod touch for Christmas is what finally convinced my broke college self to shell out for a smartphone. Ostensibly, it could be a cheap way to lure Android users into Apple’s clutches via Arcade, News+, and Apple Music, or as some sort of coffee-table remote control device. But again... why not just get an iPad or, you know, a smartphone?

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So, Apple, hear me out: Just bring back a music-only iPod with a good old click wheel.

Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.

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DISCUSSION

And, in 2019, who is this really for?

For people like me, in their 30's who has never owned a cell phone for personal use, i do have a pay-as-you-go that stays in my car, and who hopes to never own a cell phone.

Get off your phones, enjoy the world, when out with people dont be checking your phone all the time. What is with people going out into the world only to try and get out of it by retreating into their phone.

You dont need to be connected all the time. Have some attention spans again, enjoy the world and company around you.

Our constant connectivity has decreased the amount of meaningful interaction we have with each other.