The iPod touch is a gateway drug

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.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor


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?

Editorial standards