Apple has rejigged its iPod Touch lineup to offer a cheaper version of the "iPhone without a phone."
The new iPod Touch is remarkably similar to the old iPod Touch, but it differs in three key ways.
First, the high-resolution rear-facing iSight camera is gone, which means that you lose a good camera (although the front-facing FaceTime camera remains).
Secondly, it is only offered with 16GB of storage, which is half that of the base iPod Touch. If you want to carry a lot of media with you, this is not for you.
The final (and some might claim, most important) change is what's printed on the price tag. The regular iPod Touch retails for a hefty $299, but the new cut-down iPod Touch is $70 cheaper at $229.
There are a few other changes too, such as the lanyard being absent from the new design, and the new model coming only in a grey/black color scheme, compared to the spectrum of colors that the full-priced iPod Touch is offered in.
This is quite an aggressive price cut for Apple. Getting rid of the camera and 16GB or storage cuts, at most, $20 from the overall bill of materials. Assuming that the overall bill of materials for the iPod Touch has fallen slightly since its introduction in October 2012, Apple must be swallowing around $45 of the price cut in the form of reduced revenues.
When the fifth-generation iPod Touch was released last year, I gasped at the $299 price tag of the 32GB model (I won't tell you what happened when I saw the $399 sticker on the 64GB version). The iPad mini starting at $329 made the iPod Touch seem more than a "Touch" expensive.
This price drop should give people looking for an iPhone without a phone another reason to look at the iPod Touch.
While much of Apple's success can be traced back to the introduction of the iPod over a decade ago, the once-popular media player is experiencing a slump in sales that it is unlikely to recover from, and I think that the best that tweaking the price is going to do is give the aging brand a short-lived boost.