If you thought the iPod touch was dead, think again. Apple refreshed the least memorable iOS device this week, with a current processor and better camera. Curious how it compares to the iPhone 6? Read on.
By today's standards, the new iPod touch is a pretty shrimpy mobile device. The iPhone 6, which is already smaller than many flagship smartphones, comes out 12 percent taller and 14 percent wider than the Touch.
Like its predecessor, the new iPod touch is an incredibly thin device. At just 6.1 mm (0.24-inch) thick, it's 12 percent thinner than the already-svelte iPhone.
The 6th-gen iPod touch is also quite the featherweight: it's 32 percent lighter than the iPhone 6.
No plastic here: the iPod touch has an aluminum build – and also loses the loop button (for attaching a lanyard) that we saw in the 5th-generation model.
Continuing what Apple started with the 5th-generation iPod touch, this 6th-gen version gives you plenty of colors to choose from.
Pixel density is the same on both devices.
The iPod touch likely has the exact same display panel we saw in the 5th-generation iPod touch – not to mention the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c. In addition to resolution, it also has the same 800:1 contrast ratio that we saw in those devices, a downgrade from the iPhone 6's 1,400:1 ratio.
IPS panels are par for the course with iOS devices.
Here's another cost-cutting measure, as there's no Touch ID for the new iPod touch. In fact, this is the first new iOS device without a Touch ID sensor that Apple has launched since late 2013.
Riddle me this, Batman: when is an iPhone not an iPhone? When it has no cellular radios, that's when!
In that case, it becomes a Wi-Fi only iPhone – or as Apple prefers to call it, an iPod touch.
The 6th-generation iPod touch has an extra 32 GB storage tier that the latest iPhone doesn't offer, in addition to the same 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB tiers you'll find on the iPhone 6.
With no Touch ID (and likely no NFC chip), the new iPod touch doesn't support the company's mobile payment service, Apple Pay.
Apple didn't list the iPod touch's battery capacity, but iFixit's teardown confirms a 1,043 mAh battery. Apple is estimating up to 8 hours for video playback, and up to 40 hours for music playback.
We'll have more on the iPod touch's battery life in our upcoming full review.
The iPod touch's photo quality won't be on par with the iPhone's (see the next two categories), but the iPod touch does match the resolution of both of the iPhone 6's cameras.
Camera aperture (rear)
The iPod touch's rear camera has the same aperture as the iPhone 5 and 5c. With identical megapixels and aperture, we think there's a strong chance that it has the exact same rear camera found in those two phones.
Dual LED flash
Like those two phones from 2012 and 2013, the iPod touch also lacks the Dual LED ("True Tone") flash found in newer iPhones. It does have a flash; it's just a single LED, which will make your flash shots look more like, well, flash shots.
The new iPod touch matches the iPhone 6 with 1 GB of RAM – confirmed by a benchmark we ran on our review unit.
Performance is great on the new iPod touch, as it gets the same A8 system-on-a-chip found in the iPhone 6. This is great for iOS gaming on the new Touch, something it was already known for. The new model should be able to handle many of the latest games for years to come.
The new Touch's A8 is, however, clocked a bit lower than the one on the iPhone.
The iPod touch runs iOS 8, and with that 64-bit A8 chip, it's probably safe to say that the new iPod touch will be running the latest version of iOS for the foreseeable future.
Apple released the new iPod touch this week, while we're likely about two months away from the next iPhone (which, if Apple sticks with its naming convention, should be called the iPhone 6s).
Clearly the iPhone is a far superior device (as it always has been), but the iPod touch is a much cheaper one – great for giving to small children who aren't ready to own a smartphone, or perhaps Android phone owners who want access to the App Store's gaming library.
This, of course, is the iPhone 6's full retail price. If you sign a two-year contract or agree to an installment plan, you'll pay around US$200 (or less) upfront for the iPhone, but you'll end up paying at least its full retail price over the course of your agreement.