iPod Touch

Remember iPods? They were these totally excellent, wildly overpriced hard drives on which you could conveniently store, catalog, access, and listen to music in MP3 form, thus accelerating the music industry’s demise? They were pretty popular for a while, until iPhones came along, more or less making the trusty ol’ iPod obsolete for everyone except BlackBerry users. (In fact, iPod sales have been plummeting for years now at a rate that makes album sales look stable.) So how will Apple revive its rapidly fading cash cow? Why, by remaking it in the mold of the iPhone, naturally.

At a press conference today (at which the iPod was decidedly not the primary order of business), Apple reps unveiled the new iPod specs, which include (on the iTouch model): “a brilliant 4-inch Retina display; a 5 megapixel iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording; Apple’s A5 chip; Siri, the intelligent assistant; and iOS 6, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system.” (Yes, iPods will now feature Siri: a function widely unused if not outright detested on iPhones worldwide!) That’s not all: New iPods will be slimmed down and offered in a host of previously unavailable colors. How does any of this enhance the music-listening experience offered by “the world’s most popular and beloved music player”? Why, not in the least! But it does make an attractive iPhone surrogate for anyone locked into long-term contracts with T-Mobile.

In fact, the only hardware development that seems even remotely music-related is the addition of new Apple EarPods, replacing the long-derided, music-destroying earbuds, “featuring a breakthrough design for a more natural fit, increased durability, and an incredible acoustic quality typically reserved for higher-end earphones.”

On the software end, Apple will also launch an updated iTunes in October, featuring: “a completely redesigned player, seamless integration with iCloud, and a stunning new look.”

FWIW, among the new iPods, the most storage offered will be 64GB (on the Touch; $399 retail), which is a laughable fraction of the 160GB offered by the Siri-less iPod Classic ($249 retail) — a model that wasn’t mentioned at all during today’s press event or in any of Apple’s new press materials. Instead, Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said: “Music lovers may have a difficult time deciding between the reinvented iPod Nano, the thinnest iPod ever, and the all-new iPod Touch with its stunning 4-inch Retina display, 5 megapixel iSight camera and ultra-thin design — both in beautiful new colors.” I’m not sure what music lovers he’s hanging out with, but nobody I know will be stuck at the Apple Store, forced to flip a coin between those two options.

You can read more about the new iPods here and the new iTunes here.

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Comments (41)
  1. Apple really rustled the author’s jimmies it seems.

    • I should probably disclose that I’m actually a big fan of Apple products to the point of being a low-level Apple snob. But I’m deeply frustrated by the way in which they have marginalized music on their music-playing devices. (It reminds me very much, in fact, of the way MTV marginalized music as a part of their programming as they saw increased revenues in more structured programs.) Realistically the profit margin in MP3 players is dwindling rapidly, but as a music lover with a vast library, I want a product that suits my needs (which Apple seems to have lost interest in producing). Can’t blame ‘em for focusing on the bottom line, I just hope a suitable alternative eventually finds its way to market.

      • YUP, yup all around.

      • You probably want an Android device. It does everything an iphone does (and in many cases, has been doing it before iphone) and more. The new iphone 5 will definitely sell a ton because of the hype and the mysteriously loyal fanboy/girl base, despite being an inferior product to several
        Android phones from this year. Android and the phone manufacturers that use the (free and OPEN SOURCE) OS don’t market themselves as much or as well as the super corporate patent troll that is Apple but they just sit back and innovate – something Apple hasn’t done in a while.

        To be clear – I’m not a blanket Apple hater, I’ve owned ipods and iphones back in the day when they truly were the best options available. It’s just a little disheartening to see how many consumers in this society are sucker sheep for marketing and insist on buying something that’s overpriced because of it’s supposed cache instead of going for the best thing out there, which is actually less expensive.

        It’s really interesting/disappointing to me that a lot of people i know who are supposedly into progressive ideals like shared resources for the sake of innovation and battling corporations that infringe upon civil rights and fair business practices use Apple products. Apple is a major culprit of those things and currently, their best tactic for being competitive in an environment where they’re being challenged by great products with real innovation is to bring them to court with frivolous claims. If I had a dollar for every Occupy participant with iphones, I’d have a bag full of cash to go with my head full of surprise.

      • Do you like how Apple locks you into their world of proprietary formats and accessories? You actually like that you can’t just treat an Apple product like a hard drive and simply drag/drop whatever you want from/to whatever device you want? It doesn’t bother you that so many things in the Apple world require an up-sell, when other comparable players in the market offer it for free? Can someone please explain to me why anyone would want to be a “low-level Apple snob”? Does it feel good being submissive to a company that dictates that files you own work in their ecosystem and not in others’?

        Anyone that perpetuates the myth that “Apple products are better for graphic design, audio production, video production, etc.” is simply mistaken, diluted or lying. That is not true anymore. At one time, yes it was. The only thing I can say that may support that would be music-making apps in iOS compared to Android OS because Android is still working on an audio latency issue…but in regard to real music production in DAWs like Logic, Cubase, Pro Tools, DP, etc…there are PCs that outperform Mac. In regard to video – yes, Final Cut has some cool functionality but the basic issues with having to render clips within the project for minor and major tweaks is unacceptable when you can use a number of comparable or better apps on a PC. Baffling.

        I’m done for now. Thanks for letting me rant a bit. This rant is encoded with DRM and will not work in other forums unless you pay for it to be converted.

  2. 64 gigs is as big as it gets? man, i hope my classic doesn’t shit out on me.

  3. Mhmmm, still no FLAC support; low impedance. BUT OHEMMGEEE NEWWW COLURRZZZ

    • If you’re looking for lossless support on an Apple MP3 player, just convert your FLAC files to AIFF or ALAC. Same difference really. I definitely wouldn’t consider anything other than the 160GB Classic though.

      • The whole thing just seems stubborn of them to make people use apple lossless. Just support the universal codec, I shouldn’t have to go out of my way to convert more of my things into the “apple universe” chic-fascistic cyber future.

        • Very true my friend. I just started compiling my music collection in lossless format after going with 320kbps CBR for the longest time due to hard drive restrictions. So once I realized iTunes didn’t recognize FLAC files (which is just as, if not more fucking ridiculous as iPod’s not recognizing FLAC), I just decided to convert and store them as AIFF files.

  4. This REALLY pisses me off. I love my iPod Classic becasue of it’s storage capacity, but I’m getting dangerously close to filling it up. I’ve been keeping my ear to the Apple rail for years expecting a larger capacity iPod to come on the market just in time to save my music file grubbing ass. I don’t give two shits about those other features.

  5. Michael_  |   Posted on Sep 12th, 2012 +5

    So, should I be stacking up on iPod shuffles? Those things are the best for anyone who likes to listen to music while staying active (although newer models inability to let you arrange the order of albums and songs kind of sucks, but the voiceover technology at least helps.) Having to strap on the other models is just too clunky and doesn’t offer ease of access to switch songs.

    • My brother swears by the (now) last generation iPod Nano when he runs. He wears it like a watch with a 3rd party wristband and listens with a bluetooth sports headset. Some of the wristbands are actually quite nice looking and often my bro will just wear the Nano as a wristwatch and no one is the wiser. There may be some good deals now that they’ve been discontinued.

  6. I am increasingly frustrating by dwindling storage capacities of music-playing devices. As far as phones go, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is available in a 32gb model with the capacity for a 64gb micro sd card (about 70 bucks one eBay). Realistically you’d use maybe 5gb for the phone stuff leaving ~90gb, which is significantly more than the new iPod. I just would’ve thought that a new iPod of ALL things would offer some increased capacity.

    I’m not someone with an enormous collection but I’ve got probably 120gb worth that I’d like to have on hand optimally, and I cbf’d buying an iPod classic in 2012.

    ^ petulant first world problems

  7. A large portion of the dip in iPod sales is likely caused by the iPhone cannibalising their sales, so I doubt they’re that concerned by the ‘rapidly fading cash cow’. Apart from peeps using other smartphones as PMPs that is…

    The iPod Touch is clearly marketed as a gaming device, but I agree – where’s the love for the Classic (and my personal fave, the Shuffle)?

    • There’s obviously some degree of concern or else they wouldn’t bother with any redesign elements. Of course I’m sure they don’t anticipate reversing the trend, but keeping the iPod brand vital and visible has definite value to them. The Classic is still the best product they make for the music-focused audience but it hasn’t been updated in what four years (and then only to expand storage from 140GB to 160GB or something)? It’s frustrating because Apple’s major leaps in the market started with the iPod, and the iPod started as a device for serious music lovers whose MP3 libraries had started to evolve past their CD libraries. There’s definitely real advances to be made to portable music-listening devices — FLAC support, seriously increased storage capacity, advanced archiving systems, better interface with Spotify, Bandcamp, Pandora, etc., maybe even satellite radio capabilities. But Apple is courting the gamer and casual markets. Again, that’s where the money is, so they should by all means chase it — but I do hope SOMEONE recognizes the hole here and fills it. At the moment, all my tech is Apple: MacBooks at work and home, iPad, iPhone, iPod. I’m dedicated to the brand. But if Sony (for example) snuck in with the Walkman2K13 and gave me everything I wanted in a music-listening device, I’d have to in this case give them my business.

    • My iPod Classic 80GB began randomly pausing during songs which is a frustrating nightmare. My phone has ~16GB storage which is sufficient in some cases, but mostly a hassle.

      I am interested in replacing my iPod, but with the prices still hovering around $250, it doesn’t feel worth it. The price of memory has reduced dramatically since I bought my 80GB (around 2007?). Paying $250 for 160GB of storage and playback seems a bit ridiculous to me. The “EarPods” cant be that good.

  8. I have a Sansa Clip Player that I bought for $30 at Best Buy. It holds about 8 GB. On Newegg.com I can buy a 64 GB Sandisk micro SD card for $54 that fits into the player and expands the storage space to a little under 72GB. I can store more music than that Ipod Touch and save $316 (not including tax of course). No it doesn’t have a touch screen or an annoying voice response function. It plays music. Y’know, the whole reason why you would buy a music player in the first place.

  9. I came here to similarly bitch about the lack of storage increases across the iPod line, especially in the Classic model. I understand that flash memory is still fairly expensive at higher capacities, but it seems silly to me that they haven’t thrown a bigger HDD in the Classic since the 160GB version first came out in 2007. My library is double that size and I know I can’t be the only one.

    As a remedy for this problem I’ve subscribed to Spotify, which—barring some glaring exceptions—has most of my library available. When using the iPhone app in a bad service area or on a plane, I can still access a ton of songs and comedy records via offline playlists. That combined with some of the missing albums loaded into my phone has kept me from using my iPod at all in the last couple months. It’s not my ideal solution, but it’s been working well enough.

    Nevertheless: Apple, give us a better product.

  10. Well you all forget something, most of people in the world don’t care about having 2000 albums with themselves all the time. They prefer a cool design, enough storage to listen to their last ten favorite albums, a little space for the last How I Met Your Mother and Breaking Bad episodes to watch on the plane, and a video camera, coz, u know, without a camera it wouldn’t really be a good mp3 Player, right ?

  11. while you all finger each other over what your favorite ipod color is, read this


  12. This is great news. Every time I ask my old ipod “is that rain?” it just does nothing. Now I’ll know, finally allowing me to leave the house. Thanx Siri, ur a lifesaver.

  13. I can adapt to limited storage space; I can use the storage and backup I have on other computers. What I cannot tolerate is being tethered to iTunes. A 5-pound 11-inch Android tablet would be less cumbersome than having to deal with that monstrous piece of software.

  14. I don’t want to listen to music on my fucking phone, sort it out someone!

  15. Ya i would be very sad if they discontinued the 160gb classic

  16. 160GB = “up to 40000 songs”? Funny that, ever since the beginning of mp3 players, after all these years, they still count in 4 minute 128k files.

  17. People listen to music on their iPhones, you say? I happen to be one of those broke people who sprung for the 8 GB iPhone 4 when it got cheap ($99). I can’t store much music on that thing and with the battery always draining, I tend to use a little 2nd gen iPod shuffle. It serves its one purpose and it’s a lot less bulky.

  18. I’m glad that I’m not the only one despairing over the lack of a larger-than-160GB iPod. I’ve been waiting for years! I want to carry around my entire music collection, everywhere I go, but I’m well over 160GB. If they doubled the capacity of the iPod classic, I’d run right down to the Apple store and get myself a new iPod. Are you listening, Apple? Oh yeah, I have an iPhone as well, without a single MP3 on it. Not interested in listening to music on my phone…

  19. I’m still waiting for the Apple iBlaster that I can just carry on my shoulder as I rollerblade.

  20. Apple = Evil Empire. This is the same company that snatched LaLa right from our music loving hands,

  21. shit sucks. mic doesnt work with macbook pro at all. got 3 different headphones and tried everything. really stupid product thus far

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