Apple on Tuesday finally updated its iPod Touch.
The upgrade brings the new iPod Touch inline with features found in the iPhone 6. The updated Touch gets an 8-megapixel camera, an upgrade from the prior model’s 5-megapixel shooter. The Touch also gets the same 64-bit processor, allowing it to run faster and handle better graphics for games, as well as the “M” chip for motion tracking. It still, however, retains the smaller four-inch display.
The iPod, first launched in October 2001, is what started Apple’s major comeback and established its reputation as an innovator. But the popular music player has lost much of its appeal now that users can access music on their smartphones or on their Apple Watches.
Sales of the iPod have fallen since reaching a peak of 54.83 million units in fiscal 2008. In the last fiscal year, Apple sold only 14.4 million iPods. The company no longer breaks out iPod sales but instead lumps the device in with “other products” such as the Apple Watch and the Apple TV.
The base 16 gigabyte model of the iPod Touch will sell for $199, the 32 GB for $249, the 64 GB version costs $299 and 128 GB version for $399. That’s unchanged from before, aside from the addition of the 128 GB model.
The new iPod Touch will also come loaded with the latest version of Apple’s iOS software, which includes Apple Music.
While the iPod isn’t close to being one of Apple’s big money-makers, it remains an option as a lower-priced, simpler device for games, media and music. Apple in the past also has offered free iPods as part of back-to-school bundles for students and teachers. While iPod sales have been declining in recent years, the device continues to bring in billions of dollars in revenue for Apple.
The most popular iPod in recent years has been the iPod Touch, which resembles an iPhone, minus the cellular connection. It lacks many features found in newer iPhones, including a TouchID fingerprint sensor, a bigger screen and an updated processor that supports more intensive apps and gaming.
Apple a year ago cut the price on the iPod Touch line, gave it a new rear-facing camera, and added four new color selections — pink, yellow, blue, and (PRODUCT) red in a minor product refresh. Previously, the iPod Touch ranged from $229 to $399, featured only a front-facing camera, and was available in only silver and space gray. Meanwhile, Apple discontinued the iPod Classic, with its traditional clickwheel, in September when it showed off its new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones and its first wearable, the Apple Watch.
Up to Tuesday, Apple offered three different versions of the iPod with various capabilities, prices and storage capacities. Its cheapest music player, the iPod Shuffle, contained only 2GB of storage and cost $49. The iPod Nano came with 16GB of flash memory for $149. Both models came in eight color, but neither worked with Apple’s new music service, Apple Music, that launched in late June.
Apple didn’t change the iPod Nano and Shuffle, but changed out the color options. All three devices will come in six color options: silver, gold (which replaces yellow), space gray, pink, blue and (PRODUCT) Red for AIDS awareness.
The last significant iPod Shuffle update happened in September 2010, though the company changed up the device’s colors in September 2012. October 2012 marked the last iPod Nano update, as well as the last big hardware update for the iPod Touch, Apple’s touch-screen music player that resembles the iPhone. The company released a 16GB iPod Touch in May 2013, but it lacked a rear camera and a “loop strap” and only came in two colors. That hobbled 16GB model was replaced in June 2014, with Apple adding the camera back in, introducing more colors and cutting the pricing.
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