The iPod touch is a gateway drug

The iPod touch is a gateway drug

Summary: Don't write off the iPod touch as just a kid's toy, it's a powerful tool and a great way to jump into the Apple fray. But beware of Apple's fabled halo effect, it's very difficult to buy only one.

TOPICS: Apple, 4G, iOS


iPod touch 5th generation is a gateway drug - Jason O'Grady

I'm stuck in a carrier contract and won't be buying an iPhone 5, at least not right away. But I did place a pre-order for the next best thing, an iPod touch. (Note: the new iPod touch isn't shipping until October and this is only a preview).

The fifth-generation iPod touch carries the torch of its forebearers, it's basically an iPhone 5 without the cellular radios and antennas and their associated fees and contracts. While marketed mostly to kids, teens and students, the newest iPod touch is a powerful iOS device that gets you into the Apple ecosystem for a relatively reasonable $299 (for the 32GB model) or $399 (for the 64GB).

Don't be too hasty to write off the iPod touch. 

Clearly the iPod touch isn't for someone that already has an iPhone 5. It isn't design for someone that already has an iPad either, for another $100 you can get an iPad 2 (or for $200 more, an iPad 3). But it's great for someone who already owns another smartphone and wants to use apps, games, music and movies from the iTunes App Store.

During the iPhone 5 announcement event Apple divulged that the iPod touch is the world’s most popular music player and the world’s most popular game player. I know several people that don't own an iPhone for one reason or other (like having a work-issued phone) but who love their iPod touch. At the end of the day, it's also a great iPod, as in for playing music. A good friend of mine uses his "iTouch" solely for listening to music in his car and prefers the touch to its tiny brethen for its multitouch screen and large album art. 

Then there's the crowd that are locked into a carrier contract and who are loathe to pay the $450+ "upgrade" fee to upgrade to Apple's latest iPhone. Perhaps I'm getting a little jaded and cynical, but the iPhone 5 isn't the same kind of "gotta have it" upgrade that previous iPhones were (then again, neither was the iPhone 4S). For now I'm keeping my trusty, Siri-less iPhone 4 a little longer and coveting an iPod touch. 

iPhone-lite: The iPod touch (fifth generation) has a lot in common with the iPhone 5, including its large 4-inch Retina Display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 1080p front-facing camera, and great battery life (40h audio, 10h video) and it includes Siri.

What's missing: Most notably the A6 processor from the iPhone 5 (the iPod touch includes an A5). As I mentioned above, the iPod touch forgoes cellular and LTE hardware, the rear camera is only 5MP (compared to the iPhone's 8MP) and video battery life is slightly less (8h of video).

If you already have an older iPhone, the new iPod touch is a great device. 

iPod touch fifth generation with lanyard - Jason O'Grady

The new iPod touch loop (pictured above) is a stroke of genius -- and thankfully included in the price of the unit. It's a glorified wrist strap/lanyard designed to protect your investment from less coordinated, game-playing offspring and the dreaded photographic fumble. It should have been included in the iPhone 5, but I suspect that Apple couldn't afford the extra miligrams or nanometers it would have added. 

Unlike the iPhone 5, the new iPod touch isn't shiping until "October" so it remains to be seen how it will measure up to its spec sheet, but if it's anything like its big-brother it should exceed expectations. I suspect that a lot of people will buy the new 'touch as their first foray into Apple-dom and a whole other group will use it to pass the time until their contracts expire. And make no mistake about it, the new 5g iPod touch will be a big hit for the holidays

The only question that remains: which color? 

What's your take on the new iPod touch?

Topics: Apple, 4G, iOS

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  • Gateway drug indeed

    That's how I got started back in 2007! Bought one to take on a trip to Australia with me. When I returned 6 weeks later I sold it to a friend of mine and got my first iPhone (iPhone 3) and haven't looked back since! LOL!
  • Super-iPod or Super-Portable-iPad?

    I wonder if we won't see a shift in branding when the Assumed October iPad arrives. (If it does...) It looks like it could be a classic Apple three tier line: small, medium, and premium, with the iPod Touch being the lowest priced and smallest one.
  • It all starts with the Shuffle

    Part of Apple's brilliance in the consumer arena is that they provide ways for consumers to clip into the Apple ecosystem at whatever level they can afford (or whatever level is age-appropriate) and then grow with the products as their needs arise. I think you can also argue that, from another direction, AppleTV is a gateway drug. It does a great job, far better than the worthless DLNA, of getting your music from iTunes to your home theater. Apple locked people up with music, an area that Microsoft has completely fumbled, and then extend people into other areas. Now, if Microsoft did that, the Department of Justice would cry foul, but that is just more evidence that our antitrust laws need to be repealed.
  • A gateway... to nausea.

    I decided to give the iOS "ecosystem" a try when I was deciding about a portable media player.
    I endured an iPod touch foran year and an half, and was so sickened by its limitation, closedness and obsolescence compard even to entry-level Android handsets that I sold it at a substantial loss.
    And now I can say "Apple? No thanks, I'm thinking differently"...
  • IP Phone?

    I'm curious... is there an IP Phone app for iOS? Can it be used with the iPd touch? That would make it a great device for overseas travel. You'd still be able to call home from any WiFi hotspot, but wouldn't have to worry about nightmarish overseas data roaming charges.
    • There's VoIP apps like Skype

      I own a 2nd Gen iPod Touch and has been using Skype for a few years now on it.
    • Hundreds of VOIP apps

      There are lots of VOIP apps. Some are free, some require you purchase 'credits' in the app that equate to minutes, some are a one-time fee, etc. Used with a bluetooth headset, it can work remarkably well, IMHO. You'll just need to do some research to find the best one that suits you needs (e.g. not all do 3-way calls, some don't do incoming calls, some might be free but limited in who you can call, some don't do international calls, etc., etc.)
    • Data-only and pre-paid plans

      BTW- I forgot to mention, there are data-only plans for the iPhone (they have to exist by law, I think, for the deaf.) So you could, for example, get somebody's old 4S that they don't want any more and either simply use it as a iPod Touch, or get a data-only plan (or pre-paid for that matter) and use VOIP over 4G/3G. You could also SIM unlock the phone and put in any number of third party SIM cards that come with free minutes. Some of those cards are even free (check Amazon)! I'm not sure why you couldn't, say, get a dozen of those cards and just use them up one by one without paying a cent. I suppose it might be annoying if your in-coming phone # was changing after each SIM swap... Lastly, if you already have a data-only plan for, like, your computer, you can add an iPhone or iPad to the account for data-only as a bundle and save some money that way.
  • Completely Agree

    Actually to the point where it makes a lot of sense to own an iPod for all the fun stuff (including web browsing through WiFi, Skype and so on) and a cheapo phone to be just a phone.

    And if that cheapo phone also does 3G tethering then Bob's your uncle.
    Han CNX
  • So True

    This is true. I don't like Apple, but I have two iPods (an older non-Touch and an older iPod Touch). I use them both for all my music, and I have some Japanese learning applications on the iPod Touch, but my phone and tablet are Android-based (and will always be).

    My co-workers laughed at me because I thought Microsoft's big announcement would be an iPod Touch competitor rather than the Microsoft Surface. Really, they got rid of the Zune, and as far as I can tell, there's no reasonable iPod Touch competitor out there now.

    Where is Google's or Microsoft's equivalent gateway "drug"? Does't exist. If you ask me, that's a problem because I'd much rather have an Android-based iPod Touch equivalent device than buy another iPod Touch.

    No. My phone using Google Music isn't the same. I can't get decent 3G or LTE connectivity while at work. I need local storage.
    • Android-based iPod Touch equivalent

      there is an android based iPod touch equivalent. It's made by samsung.

      But unfortunately just like the rest of the android ecosystem, It sucks due to the fact that it's on an old version lol namely gingerbread. Itouch is way better :)
  • Does it include Siri

    If it does, then I might consider upgrading from my third gen iPod Touch to it or maybe an iPad.
    • iPod Touch 5th Gen does have Siri

      I pre-ordered one, and hope to have it before I travel in late October. I checked the specs and it does include Siri.
  • A wrist strap is genius?

    "The new iPod touch loop (pictured above) is a stroke of genius"

    Glad we aren't exaggerating or anything.
    • wow... pathetic troll

      Almost every article about apple i see you have tons of troll comments.... what a loser.. for someone who hates apple soooo much you seem to be pretty obsessed with them even going so far as to put steve jobs in devils horns as your picture lmao.. how about just sticking to your precious "open" android and leaving us to our "closed" monopoly..
  • Iphone camera

    For that price I would have thought we could the same camera as the iphone,I won't bite at that price!
  • Ipod Touch 5G is not as same iPhone 5, you forgot the CPU !

    Jason, You are saying that 'iPod Touch 5G is same as iPhone 5 except the Radios' which could be very misleading. As iPod Touch 5G is having just A5 Processor, and iPhone 5 has an very advanced A6. Unlike previous gen iPod touch's which had same cpu specs of the iPhone's, the iPod Touch 5G has just A5 and not even A5X which means it is 2 generations behind the current iPhone . So please correct your article to add the CPU differences.
    • Also iPod touches traditionally have radically inferior screens

      Any idea if Apple continues to cut corners on the iPod Touch in order to keep profit margins up?
      • Yep

        That battery life is a figment of the imagination of Apple's marketing team.
        Alan Smithie
    • Updated

      Completely forgot to mention CPU difference and I updated the post appropriately.
      Jason D. O'Grady