Mobile Technology

Apple iPod touch (6th-generation): Early impressions

Apple iPod touch (6th-generati...
Gizmag takes an initial look at Apple's latest iPod touch
Gizmag takes an initial look at Apple's latest iPod touch
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The aluminum 6th-generation iPod touch
1/5
The aluminum 6th-generation iPod touch
Confirmed processor speed and RAM specs in the new iPod touch
2/5
Confirmed processor speed and RAM specs in the new iPod touch
The new Touch is just 6.1 mm (0.24-inch) thick
3/5
The new Touch is just 6.1 mm (0.24-inch) thick
If you know someone who doesn't own a smartphone (especially those that are too young to), the iPod touch is a solid Wi-Fi only alternative
4/5
If you know someone who doesn't own a smartphone (especially those that are too young to), the iPod touch is a solid Wi-Fi only alternative
Gizmag takes an initial look at Apple's latest iPod touch
5/5
Gizmag takes an initial look at Apple's latest iPod touch
View gallery - 5 images

Yesterday Apple released a new iPod touch – the first since 2012 – and we have one of them in-house. Read on for our early impressions.

Reviewing an iPod touch in 2015 is a strange proposition. Most people already have smartphones, often with a better camera and bigger screen than you'll find on the new Touch, so there isn't a dire need for a device that's basically a mid-ranged iPhone minus the phone part.

But if you have young children who aren't ready to own a phone, or maybe if you have an Android phone but want to play the occasional iOS game or try out Apple Music, then the iPod touch is one of your best bets (in addition to an iPad mini).

Looking at the new iPod touch from that perspective, it fits the bill just fine.

If you know someone who doesn't own a smartphone (especially those that are too young to), the iPod touch is a solid Wi-Fi only alternative
If you know someone who doesn't own a smartphone (especially those that are too young to), the iPod touch is a solid Wi-Fi only alternative

We've grown used to smartphones with 5-inch and larger screens, so, at first glance, the new iPod touch looks teeny-weeny (it has the same 4-inch display found on the iPhones 5, 5s and 5c). We suppose that's yet another way that it can be a good fit for little hands.

It's an incredibly light device – 32 percent lighter than the iPhone 6 (and the same weight as the 5th-generation iPod touch). With no cellular radio to worry about, Apple has always managed to make the iPod touch a light/thin showcase piece. Its build also often serves as a preview for the next-generation iPhone, so perhaps we can look forward to a device that feels this insanely feathery in the iPhone 7.

The new Touch is just 6.1 mm (0.24-inch) thick
The new Touch is just 6.1 mm (0.24-inch) thick

There's no Touch ID, which both looks and feels strange to us. Apple hasn't released a non-Touch ID iOS device since late 2013, so this is clearly a step backwards. It's also a stark reminder that the iPod touch is Apple's lowest-priority mobile device.

We confirmed, via the GeekBench app, that the new Touch has 1 GB of RAM, and its Apple A8 system-on-a-chip is clocked at 1.13 GHz (that's about 19 percent slower than the iPhone 6's clock speed, using the same processor):

Confirmed processor speed and RAM specs in the new iPod touch
Confirmed processor speed and RAM specs in the new iPod touch

The Touch doesn't feel slow at all though; it's plenty zippy for everything we've thrown at it so far. And an A8-running iPod touch is an enormous step forward from the Apple A5 chip found in its predecessor (the A5 was a 2011 chip, already a year and a half old when the last Touch released).

We'll have more on camera quality and battery life in our full review, but the early pics we've snapped have looked about like we'd expect: good, but trailing noticeably behind the best 2014-15 smartphone cameras. Expect iPhone 5/5c types of shots (and with identical specs, this could potentially be the same camera found in those two).

The aluminum 6th-generation iPod touch
The aluminum 6th-generation iPod touch

You probably don't need an iPod touch in 2015, but if you're a parent or another person who does find the need, then the 6th-generation model looks like a solid upgrade. It's a significant downgrade from the latest iPhones, but that's always been the case with the Touch. For a Wi-Fi only portable media player, it does what it needs to do – no more, no less.

The new 6th-generation iPod touch is available now, starting at US$200.

Product page: Apple

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8 comments
JIMV
Does the thing play high resolution files as my phone does? Does it have a usb-out slot? If not its old time tech crammed into a high price.
danmar
I still have my 2nd gen Touch. I've been trying to justify buying a new one for more than a year without success. :-) I like the simplicity of this gadget. Buying a Touch is probably interesting for someone who's happy with his non-Apple phone but would like a fun iOS device. Even though many apps I am interested in don't work on my old Touch I don't think I'll get a new one because of that. I would more likely get an iPad or Surface 3.
HappyPhil
I still have my 4th gen iPod Touch and love to use it occasionally because it still has the fun and magical iOS 6 interface. When I look at and use my iPod Touch, I am assured that my memory isn't romantically enhancing the elegance of iOS 6 compared to the Android like interface of my iPhone with iOS 8.4. Nothing wrong with my memory, iOS 6 is fun and iOS 8.4 is not.
Wonder if one can special order the new iPod Touch with iOS 6?
Kevin Ritchey
I have a handful of MP3 players that cost $1.73 each. You know which one I'm talking about. It's a piece of crap but has a USB port and a micro-SD slot. It plays MP3s in a fashion similar to a $200 + Apple device. I could supply my daughter's whole grade at school with players for less than the cost of (1) Apple. "Nuff said.
crimendelsiglo
i have a gen6 ipod does it have fm radio ? i can't find it i find many many many canned radio "stations" but haven't tracked down fm
the way i read it, it does, but ....
MattDennis
I wish they'd stuff the cellular stuff into this. I'd trade my iPhone 6 for one in a heartbeat, I hate the 4.7" screen.
CynOppenheimmer
Either the touch gen 5 (June 2014 upgraded model) or newer gen 6 is comparable to the 7.9 inch iPad mini 4. The only practical difference being the different screen sizes, which lend theirselves to different apps, in which case the two sizes can be said to complement each other. They're both equally great for consuming media, the Touch being a pocketable version of the mini, in which case they're both probably over-powered. Yet, neither is a workhorse, for which you still need your desktop PC. Anyone who owns the June 2014 upgraded gen 5 Touch does not need to upgrade to the gen 6 - there is nothing noticeable to be gained.
berlugana
I own an iPhone5 16GB, and was much disappointed when Apple issued the iPhone6 and 6S, because I would hate having such a big iPhone. It's just too large for my pocket. Besides, I take many pictures when I travel, and my 16GB showed too little for picture storage abroad when away from my computer. The reason for me to get an iPod touch 6th gen 128GB was extensive picture storage (much less expensive than the larger storage levels available in the newer iPhones) and also some better specifications than my iPhone5, all in a nice pocketable format. In addition, the iPod touch camera has improved specifications for video (slow motion), and is quite useful for travel pictures. To me, this iPod is like an iPhone6 without GSM, (but that can be provided by my iPhone5), and much less bulky.