Apple refreshes iPod touch with A8 chip, cheapest iOS device to run Apple Music

iPod touch
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Apple quietly introduced a revamped iPod touch which it describes “the best iPod touch yet.” The tech giant also unveiled a new lineup of colours for all iPod models including space grey, silver, gold, pink and blue.

The new iPod touch packs a new 8MP iSight camera and improved 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera for selfies. It retains the 4-inch Retina display from the previous generation but now gets the Apple A8 chip, the same chip that powers the iPhone 6. Like on the iPhone 6, the A8 comes with the M8 motion co-processor that enables better fitness tracking features and more.

This is the biggest iPod touch update since 2012, after mostly been ignored with Apple’s continued focus on the iPhone. The iPod is now a device that Apple lumps in the “Other Products” category along with the Apple Watch . I remember days when an iPod product release was backed by a “Special Event” keynote. So much has changed. Most people don’t want a separate media player anymore.

This trend has everything to do with how advanced smartphones have become in recent years, replacing single-purpose devices like the iPod. Perhaps the success of Apple’s very own iPhone itself has something to do with the faltering interest and sales of the once champion portable media device.

Still, the iPod touch isn’t something to be ignored. Not for Apple at least. With the newly launched Apple Music service, the iPod touch is now the cheapest, and most accessible iOS device to support the new music streaming service.

Starting from US$199, it’s a fraction of the price of an iPhone 6, and yet features similar underpinnings (minus cellular of course) that makes it a fantastic device for gaming, videos and now music streaming with Apple Music.

Since the beginning, the iPod touch has become a much loved device for mobile gaming, thanks wholly to the A series chip, now made better with the 64-bit A8 chip. The App Store’s rich selection of 1.5 million apps across 24 categories includes a plethora of immersive games, so there’s plenty of choice.

Apple Music is available on the iPod touch through the Music app – free for 3-months as a trial, then a US$9.99/month membership fee kicks in. A family plan is available for US$14.99, for up to six family members.

The new iPod touch runs iOS 8 and starts at RM799 (US$199) for the 16GB model, RM979 (US$249) for 32GB and RM1,179 (US$299) for 64GB. For the first time ever, Apple is making available a 128GB model, for RM1,599 (US$399).

iPod shuffle
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In addition to the all-touch iPod, Apple also refreshed the 16GB iPod nano and 2GB iPod shuffle priced at RM589 (US$219) and RM189 (US$75) respectively.

All new iPods come in silver, gold, space grey, pink, blue and (PRODUCT)RED. All are available from the Apple Online Store.

While the focus is on the money-making iPhone 6, the stealth-like importance of the iPod family cannot be underestimated. The iPod touch is now the cheapest way to listen to Apple Music, and the iPod family remains the quickest, most affordable way into the Apple ecosystem.

Will Apple Music revive interest in the iPod touch? And can the iPod touch help grow Apple Music? We’ll see.

Source and images: Apple PR

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