Following a recent discovery of hidden graphics assets inside iTunes 12.2 which have hinted at an imminent iPod refresh, Apple on Wednesday quietly refreshed its dedicated music player family with a press release and a website update.
The headline new model is a much improved sixth-generation iPod touch, “the best iPod touch yet.”
It now features the Apple-designed 64-bit A8 processor, essentially the same chip that powers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and runs Apple’s M8 motion coprocessor. Apple really went all out with the iPod touch: there’s three times faster Wi-Fi 802.11ac and also an improved FaceTime HD camera with an updated sensor and burst mode for even better selfies.
But the good news doesn’t stop here: the back-facing iSight camera has received a substantial upgrade, going from five to eight megapixels with slo-mo and burst mode, 1080p video capture at 30FPS, cinematic video stabilization and more.
The screen size has remained the same, measuring four inches diagonally, and there’s no Touch ID. The device runs iOS 8.4 with the all-new Music app and Apple Music integration. As for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, they have received a minor refresh with new color options available.
“iPod touch gives customers around the world access to Apple Music, the App Store and iOS, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, starting at just $199,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone, iPod and iOS Product Marketing.
“With big advancements like the A8 chip and the 8 megapixel iSight camera, customers can experience next-level gameplay, take even more beautiful photos and enjoy their favorite music, TV shows and movies.”
The 64-bit A8 processor is indeed a major upgrade: the chip allows the sixth-generation iPod touch to run latest Metal-optimized games and graphics-heavy applications with ease. Even better, the A8 processor supports Apple’s upcoming iOS 9 operating system upgrade and will no doubt run a few future iOS releases as well.
Apple claims the A8 processor inside the new iPod touch is six times faster than its predecessor and 10 times faster in graphics performance.
The inclusion of the M8 motion coprocessor for steps and elevation tracking is also a smart move on Apple’s part as it helps the iPod touch support modern health and fitness applications in the App Store, without taking a toll on its battery.
Its eight-megapixel camera is now on par with the latest iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 devices in terms of pixel count. On the downside, Apple appears to have removed the Loop wristband from the corner of the new iPod touch.
As shown on the image above, the new iPod touches still start at $199 for the 16GB version, with the 32GB/64GB editions fetching $249/$299. Also, a new model with 128 gigabytes of storage is now available for $399.
The iPod touch received its last minor refresh in June 2014 when the 32/64GB models received a price drop to $249/$299 and a new $199 16GB model got introduced. The previous-generation iPod touch with the A5 processor and a five megapixel camera released back in October 2012 so this hardware refresh is way overdue.
As for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, these music players have received a minor cosmetic change and are now available in new darker blue and pink colors. In addition, the iPod touch, iPod shuffle and iPod nano are now available in gold, too.
The full lineup of six new iPod colors now includes silver, space gray, red, bright pink, deep blue and gold.
The refreshed music players are available starting today from Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. The 128GB iPod touch is available exclusively through Apple and all models are available in PRODUCT(RED).