Apple refreshes iPod touch to be more like an iPhone 6

After three years of the fifth-generation iPod touch, Apple has refreshed its portable music player for a new generation of iOS users. It's like an iPhone without the phone.

If you want an iPhone but don't want or need the cellular voice function -- nor the monthly plan that comes with one -- the newest iPod touch might be a good option. After three years with barely an update, Apple launched the sixth-generation iPod touch on Wednesday.

Rumors of new iPods were whispered last week, suggesting a faster, 64-bit chip inside the iPod touch along with more storage and an improvement over the 5 megapixel camera.

Sure enough, Apple delivered just that, using its A8 chip in the new iPod touch; the same silicon that powers the iPhone 6; that's a big leap. The processor upgrade coincides with Apple's earlier plans to move all iOS apps to 64-bit compatibility; without a hardware refresh, older iPod touches would eventually lose their ability to run iOS apps.


The camera sensor also gets a boost to an 8 megapixel sensor (with both burst and slo-mo image capture) and you can now buy an iPod touch with 128 GB of storage, although that will set you back $399. The starting price of $199 still gets you 16 GB of storage, while a 32 GB model is priced at $249 and the 64 GB model costs $299.

There's another new feature in the iPod touch that came from the iPhone too: The M8 motion sensor chip to track steps, movement and elevation. Wi-Fi is upgraded to the faster 802.11ac standard. There's still no GPS, however, and the screen is unchanged: It's four-inches diagonally with an 1136 x 640 resolution. The new iPod touch models will initially ship with iOS 8.4, which have Apple Music pre-installed.

Apple also gave older iPods a new coat of paint, adding a darker blue and pink color option for the iPod touch as well as the Nano and Shuffle devices.

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Although the iPod product line has seen decreased sales over the years, I still think a new iPod touch could introduce a younger generation to both iOS and the new Apple Music streaming service.

Think of kids that aren't yet ready for a phone, for example.

If they're that young, Facetime and Skype might be good enough for basic voice or video communication needs with the family. And it could hook them in to Apple's ecosystem so that upgrades become iPhones, iPads and eventually Macs.

Even though I think that's a target audience, I could easily see iPod touch sales rise due to people that don't yet use iOS and want a lower entry point to give it a try. I used to supplement my Android phone usage with an iPod touch, for example.

Will you be ordering a new iPod touch?