Boasting only a faster processor, Apple hopes new iPod Touch will lure AR gamers

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With no fanfare whatsoever, Apple just announced the latest version of its iPod Touch, a product it hasn’t updated since 2015. You’d be hard-pressed to tell that anything has changed, though, judging from the exterior. From what we can see from the press release images, the new iPod Touch — now in its seventh generation — looks identical to the previous two iterations, right down to the headphone jack, a feature that Apple has been stripping from its other iOS devices.

What’s new is on the inside: With an Apple A10 Fusion chip, the new iPod Touch is twice as fast as its predecessor and sports three times better graphics performance. That last stat is key because Apple is positioning the new device as a gateway to AR and specifically AR gaming. With its beefed-up interior components, it’s also the first iPod Touch that can do group FaceTime calls.

iPod Touch 2019
Apple

But with the exception of its improved computational power, this is essentially still an iPod Touch from years gone by. Apple made no mention of improvements to the screen, the cameras, or its Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios. There is a bright spot for those who found themselves routinely running out of room on previous models: The new iPod Touch is now available with up to 256GB of onboard storage.

Available to order right now on Apple.com, the new iPod Touch comes in space gray, gold, silver, pink, blue, and red, pricing is set at $199 for the 32GB model, $299 for the 128GB model, and $399 for the 256GB version.

We’re probably not alone in feeling underwhelmed by this announcement. iPhones have evolved considerably since 2015, adding features like OLED screens, dual cameras, FaceID, water-resistant construction, and much more. To see a new iPod Touch emerge with none of these improvements, yet at the same price as before, can only be perceived as Apple doing the bare minimum to keep this aging product relevant. Its strategy is clear: Give the iPod Touch just enough of a processing spec bump that it can participate in Apple’s new AR-focused gaming strategy, and hope that this proves desirable enough to drive sales.

Is it enough? Will buyers be satisfied that a brand-new device has camera hardware and software from over four years ago? The iPod Touch, much like the iPhone itself, has always been about more than just the apps, so it’s disappointing to see Apple all but abandon the other aspects of what has long been the most affordable way to use iOS.

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