Apple's $199 iPod touch just got a tune-up, bringing some of the features of its music player in line with the iPhone 6 and giving it a processor that can meet the demands of future software.
The latest iPod touch, announced July 15, has an A8 chip built on 64-bit architecture inside. That's the same processor that powers the iPhone 6, and it gives the new touch quite a boost over its predecessor. Apple says the CPU is six times faster than the processor powering the last iPod touch generation, released nearly three years ago.
Graphic performance is 10 times better, Apple says, and the new iPod touch also supports Metal, Apple's technology for delivering console-style graphics on mobile devices. That's not an insignificant addition — besides its roots as a music player, the iPod touch has emerged as a fairly powerful mobile gaming device. The addition of metal support and an improved processor mean that it will be able to play the kinds of sophisticated mobile games app makers are cranking out these days.
There's more to the new iPod touch than a souped-up processor. Apple also improved the rear-facing camera, with an 8-megapixel iSight camera replacing the 5-MP camera on the previous model. The new camera can shoot HD video at 120 frames per second in 720p. It also supports time-lapse video and burst mode. The front-facing FaceTime camera has the same 1.2-MP resolution as before, but a new image sensor adds support for burst mode.
Internally, the new iPod touch adds support for 802.11ac on top of the a, b, g and n flavors of wireless that the old model offered. And the new iPod touch upgrades Bluetooth support to Bluetooth 4.1.
The latest iPod touch hasn't changed its look very much from the last generation. It still comes with a 4-inch, 1136 x 640-pixel display in a 4.86 x 2.31 x 0.24-inch form factor. Apple is rolling out a new array of colors: You can get the iPod touch in space gray, gold, silver, pink and blue. Apple also offers a red iPod touch, affiliated with the Product Red brand.
The iPod nano and shuffle lines remain unchanged in terms of features, though Apple has added the same colors as the iPod touch for those music players.
The iPod touch, which hasn't been refreshed in several years, starts at $199 for a 16GB model. In addition to the 32GB ($249) and 64GB ($299) capacities, Apple has expanded the iPod touch lineup to include a $399 128GB model.