5th-generation iPod touch
Colour choices; great compact camera alternative; high tech features thanks to A5 chip
Is there a market for iPods when so many people own iPhones; an unlocked iPhone 4 might be an alternative option worth considering
$329 (32GB); $439 (64GB)
Apple has announced a new iPod touch line. Our UK counterparts got their hands on a display model for a short period after its launch, providing their initial thoughts. We will provide a detailled review when we receive the device.
The iPhone 5 wasn’t the only Apple product to get an update at Apple’s iPhone 5 launch event on Thursday and it wasn’t the only product that we got our hands on. Here’s our hands on review of the iPod touch.
Our iPod touch review is based upon our hands-on testing on the iPod touch that we were able to use at the press event, as well as in-depth analysis of known specifications and features. We will update it when we get a review model to assess.
Our initial reaction to the news was to question why Apple is introducing new iPod models, given that in the era of the iPhone the need for a dedicated music player is debatable. But that would be wrong, not everyone has an iPhone. Also, the iPods are hardly dead in the water, in the third quarter of 2012 Apple sold 6.751 million iPods, sure it’s a decline on the previous year, and even the previous quarter, but it’s still a significant number.
If you still doubt the importance of the iPod, look at the popularity of the iPod touch as a gaming device. According to Apple it is the world’s most popular game player, which is also debatable. Though it tells us something about the likely market for the device. For youngsters whose parents “aren’t made of money” opting for iPod touch is an obvious choice when the iPhone isn’t in the running. With the iPod touch comes access to over 175,000 game and entertainment apps, every teenagers dream.
And because all teenagers want to express their individuality Apple has given the iPod touch a touch of colour. Customers can choose from pink, yellow, blue, white & silver, black & slate. We can see these being a popular addition to letters to Santa this year, and tears when 13 year old Sadie gets a yellow iPod touch, rather than her preferred pink.
The iPod touch hasn’t just had a make over though. It gains the same 4in Retina display as the iPhone 5. This widescreen display means our biggest wish for the iPod touch (and iPhone 5) has been granted. It is finally possible to watch widescreen movies and TV without the device shrinking the picture into a letterbox shape with black bars above and below.
Like the iPhone 5, in order to gain the 4in screen the device has had to grow a little, but while it is now longer, in every other dimension it is smaller than before. The iPod touch is just 6.1mm thick and weighs just 88g.
We didn’t have a 4th generation iPod touch with us to do a side-by-side comparison but the new iPod touch was comfortable to hold, unlike the iPhone 5 it did strike us as being longer when in our hand, perhaps because it is so much slimmer. We also liked the feel of the new anodized aluminium case.
The iPod touch may gain the iPhone 5’s screen but it doesn’t gain the new A6 processor. The iPod touch does, however, gain an A5 chip, one generation up from last years A4-equipped iPod touch.
Thanks to the faster processor the new iPod touch can run Siri. Although the jury is out on whether Siri is any better equipped to understand us in its latest iteration. The press room was too noisy to test it at the event last night, when we said “Hello Siri” it’s answer was “I don’t understand: I”.
The iPod touch also gains a 5MP iSight camera on the back for taking snaps. While the camera doesn’t match the resolution of the iPhone 5 camera, it is an improvement on the previous model, which had support for recording 720p video and 960 x 720 still photos. The new camera is capable of recording 1080p video. Like the iPhone 5, the iPod touch camera gains a sapphire crystal lens cover which Apple claims promises clearer and sharper images. The images we took in the low light of the after-keynote press-room seemed to offer better clarity and more detail than the equivalent pictures taken with our iPhone 4S. The front camera, used for FaceTime is also improved.
Another feature that the iPod touch gains alongside the iPhone 5 is Panorama photography. As we said in our hands on with the iPhone 5, Panorama is fun, but not completely intuitive to use. We also don’t think it should concern professional level panorama software as it’s good, but not that good.
Despite all this extra functionality the iPod touch offers 40 hours of music playback and up to eight hours of video playback, according to Apple. When we get a chance to run some tests on the iPod touch when it launches in October we will find out how accurate this claim is.
The one more thing with the iPod touch is the Loop accessory, a wrist strap that attaches to the back and turns your iPod touch into a camera with photo editing functionality, which brings us to another market for the iPod touch: why buy a compact camera when you can buy a iPod touch with all that photo taking and editing capability, and the bonus of being able to play music, watch video and surf the web when on WiFi.
The new iPod touch is available in two models: a 32GB model for $329 and a 64GB model costing $439. Apple started taking pre-orders on Friday with the device available in October.