back to article Dead device walking: Apple iPod Touch 6th generation

The iPod is dead. The sales figures say so. The absence of updates to the range says so. The lack of concern about the absence of updates to the range says so. There are neither ‘Shock – new iPod!’ stories, nor are there “shock – no new iPod!” stories. It’s inert. It has ceased to be. The only thing it’s shuffling is off this …

  1. Archaon
    Coat

    Surely...

    ...the most powerful and flexible pocket computer you can buy is an iPhone (not mentioning Android/WinPho lest it devolve into war).

    You know, the iPhone that is not only more powerful but does all that other stuff as well as make calls? Ok so bigger and more expensive sure, but you would agree that makes the iPhone the more powerful and flexible "pocket computer", yes?

    Just saying.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Surely...

      So, may I dare ask, if you control your iHome using that iPhone, how exactly that will work out when you, while making that call on the "most flexible" pocket computer walk out through the door.

      One of the key issues in IoT and taking over the home is to be able to do it via more than one route. You have to make the featureset pervasive across a lot of devices.

      The primary controller in Apple's strategy quite clearly is the Apple TV. However, it is not enough. Not everyone will take it. There have to be alternatives and the iPad is a perfect candidate - it has the applicable radio set including BT low power, it can interface to sensors and it can run the UI. It is also relatively cheap so if you become dependent on the gadget aspect you may end up shelling some money for that just to have a backup controller.

      1. Archaon

        Re: Surely...

        I was making a comment on how the author made that statement about it being the best "pocket computer" and then spent the next page saying why it's different (i.e. inferior in some areas) to the iPhone.

        Not sure where IoT came into that? But as you say there is potential to use devices like this for IoT. Although I say like this because I really do hope that your idea of the future of IoT is not to have remote controls cost £160 a pop. *

        * See, I can take people out of context and go off on a separate tangent as well.

    2. PleebSmash
      Holmes

      Re: Surely...

      iPhone = NSA tracking device

      iPod touch = maybe not much of a tracking device especially if Internet access is turned off

      1. oolor
        Black Helicopters

        Re: NSA tracking device

        Shhh!

        Also happens to be a great tool for app and mobile safari testing for those devs (web sites and apps more than native, testing there would warrant using all possible devices) not wanting to purchase iPhone. In this role as a gateway device, it could be brilliant even if it lacks the profit margin of new kit.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Iphone Fail

      No card slot, no sale.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Iphone Fail

        "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

      2. M.Zaccone

        Re: Iphone Fail

        No click wheel, no sale.

    4. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: Surely...

      "Don't call me Shirley."

      THE duh!-obvious POINT of an iPod is that children in the roughly 4-15 age group want into the iOS ecosystem, and they're too young for an iPhone (due to the cost, monthly expense, and possibility of unlimited extraordinary costs). An iPad Mini is another option, but usually an iPod is first on the list, iPad second.

      This is so duh-obvious that anyone that failed to imagine this 'children' market segment needs to move out of Mom's have, find a willing partner, and start making kidiots.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    It's surely time for Apple to drop the iPod name and rebrand this device as the iPad Nano.

    Solved!

    1. PleebSmash
      Devil

      Too bad we can't get a new square iPad nano, put a wristband on it, and wear it as a cheap Apple Watch

      1. Philip Lewis

        Lunatik

        It's been done. Worked OK too (I have one still). I think they stopped selling the nano-5 watch band now though

    2. VinceH

      I was going to be slightly sillier and suggest the iPad Minimini, but it's the same joke, really, so you've just beaten me to the punch by suggesting Nano. Have an upvote, you git. ;)

      1. VinceH
        Joke

        To the person who didn't like my suggestion - don't you realise that the next one again could have been the iPad Do-do-dodo-do?

        (Hey, El Reg, as well as a 'joke alert' icon, can we have a 'really, really bad joke alert' icon?)

  3. Nigel Whitfield.

    Tempting for devs?

    I have users of a site I run asking for an iOS app. I already created an Android one, which was simple enough, as that's what I use for my own phone.

    One of the things holding back doing an iOS one is not having a suitable device, and not wanting to spend hundreds of pounds on a phone that will just sit on my desk and never be used to make calls.

    I do have an older iPod Touch, but it wont go past iOS 6. So, this is a fairly attractive option. Ok, I can't use it to test apps that rely on some of the missing features, but for the basics, it should be sufficient.

    And I wonder if, in part, that's one reason why Apple is continuing to make the iPod Touch - as an affordable device for developers.

    1. Salts

      Re: Tempting for devs?

      "And I wonder if, in part, that's one reason why Apple is continuing to make the iPod Touch - as an affordable device for developers."

      Good point, it is also a cheap and good data collection tool, QR codes for events, stock control, time and attendance etc.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tempting for devs?

      I take it you have a Mac already? That's the thing that stopped me.

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: Tempting for devs?

        I do, though there are ways round that....

        I've been doing some tests with B4i, which is a dialect of Basic that runs under Windows, and can create an app for iOS. If you have a Mac, you can use that to do the final build with XCode, but there's also a hosted build service you can use instead (which I do, as my Mac is still on Snow Leopard).

        You can then use a service like MacInCloud to do the final upload to the Apple Store.

        You can find out more about it (and the Android equivalent) at B4x.com.

        Doubtless some purists would be horrified at this approach, but it does work; I've knocked up a couple of fairly reasonable apps using B4A, because at my time of life, I'm buggered if I'm going to start dicking around with Java. Or Objective C.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Tempting for devs?

      It's not just tempting for devs. It's a posh Nintendo DS.

    4. john devoy

      Re: Tempting for devs?

      It gives you a 'cheap' entry point for dev work; it also gives you full access to the IOS app/game ecosystem but allows you to keep your old phone which is very likely to be a hell of a lot cheaper than an iphone contract.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Tempting for devs?

        >allows you to keep your old phone which is very likely to be a hell of a lot cheaper than an iphone contract.

        You know you don't need to buy a contract for iphones right?

        If you're looking for a teenager, why not get the (old model?) iphone and they can pick up a sim card later when they have a job to pay for it?

        16G? Yeah right, what's the point of that? Ignoring my music collection which is larger than that, these things are going to be filled with selfie stills and videos in no time at all.

        Most powerful? I haven't investigated it, but I find that... unlikely.

        I'm all for a good comparison review, but unnecessary embiggening is unbecoming.

    5. Phil Endecott

      Re: Tempting for devs?

      The fact that it has a different screen size from most of your users makes it less attractive as a development target.

      But having thr same processor is a good thing. This is exactly the opposite of the last iPod, which had the same screen size but a different processor than the corresponding phone.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tempting for devs?

      >> One of the things holding back doing an iOS one is not having a suitable device, and not wanting to spend hundreds of pounds on a phone that will just sit on my desk and never be used to make calls.

      I don't know what kind of app you make, but if you don't need a lot of real-world performance data (e.g. to hit framerate targets for a 3-D game) you'd probably be just fine developing against the iOS Simulator that comes with XCode and runs on Macs.

      I've been developing iOS apps since 2008 and the number of times I've run into a bug with actual hardware that doesn't repro in the simulator is vanishingly small.

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: Tempting for devs?

        Yes, true, I could use the emulator, if I were using XCode, but as mentioned, I'm experimenting with B4i, which uses a real device for debugging.

        One reason for that is that I'm still using a 2008 pre-unibody Macbook Pro, as it does everything I need to do, day to day (principally, writing words, and counting them so that I can send an invoice to El Reg).

        Of course, upgrading to the latest OS X (and hence XCode - the current version won't run on Snow Leopard) is free, but also likely to set off a horrible cascade of other upgrades. If, for example, I find I can no longer run my perfectly adequate Dreamweaver CS4, or Office 2008, that's a pile of monthly subs I have to fork out for.

        I'm putting that off for as long as I can, and using the hosted build part of B4i to generate the iOS packages for me.

        Obviously, this isn't a typical situation, and you're right that many people may be able to test most stuff with the emulator, certainly for casual apps. But I think even when you can, a lot of people will prefer having a real device in their hand.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tempting for devs?

          >> Yes, true, I could use the emulator, if I were using XCode, but as mentioned, I'm experimenting with B4i, which uses a real device for debugging.

          Yes, I read your description above. It sounds like it outputs an XCode project though, so it seems like you could also use XCode for debugging...?

          Minor quibble: the iOS Simulator is a "simulator," not an emulator. That is, the apps it runs are built for x86 and run against iOS libraries that are also built for x86. No emulation is done anywhere in the stack, which makes it about a million times smaller and faster than the Android emulator.

          >> Of course, upgrading to the latest OS X (and hence XCode - the current version won't run on Snow Leopard) is free, but also likely to set off a horrible cascade of other upgrades.

          It would be very easy to clone your laptop's drive to an external drive using a program like SuperDuper!, then try updating, and if it doesn't work, you can restore your machine from the cloned drive.

          I expect everything would work nicely though. Updating OS X usually isn't the exercise in masochism that you get with updating Windows.

          >> Obviously, this isn't a typical situation, and you're right that many people may be able to test most stuff with the emulator, certainly for casual apps. But I think even when you can, a lot of people will prefer having a real device in their hand.

          Certainly true when developing Android apps because the Android emulator is so big and slow. But the iOS Simulator is really very nice to use. When developing my apps, I can go for days using the Simulator and not bothering to install builds on my devices.

    7. Thorne
      Childcatcher

      Re: Tempting for devs?

      It's tempting for kids also. Has all the abilities of the phone (more or less) without having to fork out for a monthly phone contract.

  4. AJames

    Cheapest entry level to iOS

    If there's one good reason to keep the iPod Touch around, it's because it's the cheapest entry-level iOS device. If you want to be able to use all those great iOS apps without paying for an iPhone or iPad, this is the way.

    Of course there are a few significant drawbacks: the battery lifespan sucks: it will be practically dead in 2 years, and it's non-replaceable. And contrary to the comments made in this article, the sound quality of the iPod Touch also sucks (all recent models). It is distinctly worse than classic iPod models and the few remaining competing music players. I'm no snob about barely-audible differences in audio quality, but the iPod Touch is worse than it should be.

    1. Slap

      Re: Cheapest entry level to iOS

      I would have agreed with you at the time Apple first switched to Cirrus DACs. They sounded very tizzy and artificial comapred to the Wolfson DACs in the classic models. However Cirrus have got their act together and the current generation of iToys leave the classic iPod in the dust in terms of sound quality.

      I've played off an iPod touch 5 Gen against an older classic 120GB. The touch sounded clear, precise in both treble and bass regions, the midrage was beautifully rendered. By comparison the classic sounded flabby in the bass, treble was really rolled off, and the midrange was just muddy. I guess that's what people refer to when they mention the Wolfson DAC warmth. I used Beyer Dynamic DT1350 and Sennheiser HD25 headphones to compare the two.

      In fact there are quite a number of portable sound enthusiasts (I won't refer to them as audiophiles as I find the term insulting, and they're not fools) that rate the iPod 5th gen and iPhone 6 as some of the best sounding media players out there. I'm sure the iPod 6th gen will continue that trend.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Cheapest entry level to iOS

      Fairly decent iPhone 5 are available for less than £150 used, the 5S just a little bit more.

      Used is always the cheapest way. Of course used iPod touch are even cheaper. I've got 3 in a drawer that used to belong to the kids, they've got a 10 minute battery life now but something is stopping me from binning them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cheapest entry level to iOS

      >>Of course there are a few significant drawbacks: the battery lifespan sucks: it will be practically dead in 2 years, and it's non-replaceable.

      I haven't checked specifically but if Apple will replace an iPhone battery for $79, I imagine they'd do the same for an iPod touch battery.

      Also, I don't know why you think the battery would be dead in 2 years. I've had two iPod touches and their batteries were fine after four years of light use each, when is when I sold them. I assume they worked well long after that.

      I suspect that if your batteries die quickly in devices like this, it's probably due to exposure to heat. These devices are very easy to leave in a car with the windows closed or in the direct sunlight and then forget about. Moreso than a phone that you would carry around all the time.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Cheapest entry level to iOS

        iPod touche is a much tougher battery replacement than a phone. The iPhone is easy, uses screws, takes less than 5 minutes and about £20. The iPod touché needs a heat gun to unstick glue.

  5. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Most powerful pocket computer

    " most powerful and flexible pocket computer you can buy."

    That would be one of the Android phones or tablets, particularly one with a Broadcom wifi chip. No inflexible locked down Apple store limiting what apps you can get, and with the Broadcom wifi chip, it'll even do raw packet capture and packet injection for all that fun wifi hacking.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Hurumphhh

    I still want the 160G iPod Classic back!

    Bastards!

    1. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      Re: Hurumphhh

      Hanging onto my classic here. Give me a nano with a clickwheel and 256GB (I'd hope for 1TB but would settle for 256) and I might consider upgrading.

      1. Julian Bond

        Re: Hurumphhh

        Yup, me too. So if not from Apple, where can I get a portable music player with >256Gb, good battery life and a quality output stage for not too much money?

        I don't want apps or a big screen or connectivity, just want to play and carry large quantities of music.

  7. FitForNothing

    Bring back the original shape of the nano with a clickwheel and I'll buy. I've yet to find any other device better for exercising with. Touch screen doesn't cut it, modern smartphones are too large, recent ipod too fiddly.

  8. GarryC

    Well I just want an audio player - that's why I liked the original iPods, and I'm so glad that I got a 160gb Classic just before they dissapeared. And it's totaly full of legit music - or it was until they changed the law again.

    I don't want to use my phone - as the battery runs down so quick I don't want to waste it on playing music. And I can't get it all on there.

    So what do I do once the iPod dissapears and my Classic fails to work?

    I'm kinda sad that I ditched my cassette walkman now.

    1. @brykins

      I want something to play my downloaded Spotify playlists on, that isn't my phone! My phone lasts me all day with my normal use, but if I were to be playing music then it'd be dead by lunchtime. I need something the size of the iPod Nano but that can take my Spotify with me - there's nothing that can do that.

      Why doesn't Spotify make a device with a little square screen and WiFi and 16Gb of storage and price it at £99/$99 just for those of us that want a music player?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Page 2 of The Reg's iPod review...

    Page 2 of The Reg's iPod review I cannot read because twice it's loaded up an add for a stupid Gary birds clone and the last time tried reloading the page it fired up the AppStore. Sort it out would you.

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Page 2 of The Reg's iPod review...

      This has happened before and came down to a problem with iOS, the app store and a certain sequence of actions at the user end.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Page 2 of The Reg's iPod review...

      'add' = addition

      'ad' = advertisement

  10. Bob Camp

    Where's the market?

    Teens and adults typically want a smartphone. The iPod is now relegated to children under the age of 12 (or so) whose parents don't actually want to pay $600 plus service just so little Johnny can play games in waiting rooms and restaurants.

    However, since cell phone contracts get renewed every two years, there are tons of old smartphones out there. When Mom get her new iPhone, she just gives Johnny her old iPhone without service. I suppose if Mom broke her old iPhone, then maybe she'd be interested in an iPod. But I don't see a lot of customers for this product today.

    And for the price of an iPod, you can get a Moto G 2nd Generation phone, unlocked, without service, for cheaper. Then when Johnny grows up into John, you can just get him service for his existing device. There is no Android version of an iPod, because there are smartphones and even some tablets out there that are cheaper. Heck, even a used Moto X is only $150 on eBay.

    1. mevets Bronze badge

      Re: Where's the market?

      When Johnny grows up to be john, the Moto G (or any other device) will look like it was smashed by a steam roller.... at least if the teens I know are representative of normal. I cracked my 3GS so I could be a cool dad.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Still a valid product

    It sounds crazy at first but it is a good idea.

    We use an Iphone for a credit card scanning device called coiny... we used to use a cheap android but I got complaints it was slow authenticating the transactions...

    As we cant financially justify a second iphone, this would make an ideal solution as a second or backup device.

  12. Cody

    use an iflash

    Surely you buy the cheapest and then get a 64G i-flash for storage? Since these are fairly cheap now, buy two or three and put all the media you want on them. Wouldn't that be very effective alternative to the Cowon series? Maybe this is why Apple doesn't have a card slot - no real need for one any more.

  13. dsuden

    Not just for kids!

    I can understand why people who need a costly monthly cellular bill for their iPhones due to their larger need for mobile communication have difficulty understanding why anyone would need an iPod Touch. But it's a mistake to think this device is just for kids. I'm self-employed, work at home, and do most of my phone calling there. For the few times I need a cell phone, I use a Tracfone, which costs me just a few dollars a month. I have an iPod Touch 5th gen I use a LOT, for quick Internet and e-mail access, podcasts, movie playback, music, and especially, spontaneous photography. I've taken some great pictures with it, and it's so lightweight and thin that I can carry it around without even feeling it in my pocket. We have Wi-Fi access both indoors and out...and when my wife and I are out in the garden, we're constantly calling on Siri to answer gardening questions. We call my iPod touch "The Oracle" because we can quickly get the answer to just about anything. :-) I've been wishing and hoping for one with an improved camera since I got this one in 2012, and I'm excited to get the 6th Gen!

  14. Frederick Tennant

    Apple missed an opportunity here.

    With people now spending good money on headphones today, and people wanting hi quality music they could have improved the sound chips on their iPods and by adding digital optical output. (this is on their laptops and Airport Express devices already. That would stop all the "Audio" buffs in their tracks and created a new market.

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