The new iteration of iPod touch is undoubtedly the most significant upgrade since the debut of the Apple’s media player in 2007. Perhaps Apple has to come up with something to confront Samsung big-screen Galaxy Player and Sony Android-based Walkman. Quite a few features found on the new iPhone 5 have made their way into the revamped iPod touch. For starter, there’s a 4″ Retina display with IPS; Siri pre-installed (with iOS 6), a voice assistant only found on iPhone 4S & 5 to date; new Lighting interface; and 802.11n with 5Ghz band support.
The new iPod touch’s iSight camera also gets a major overhaul. It’s now a 5MP backside illuminated CMOS sensor coupled with 5-element f/2.4 auto-focus lens and a hybrid IR filter. The lens is protected by sapphire crystal, the same as iPhone 5. There’s even video stabilization; 1080p video recording as well as a panoramic photo mode. You can expect the iPod’s photo quality to rival that of iPhone 4S. Lastly, for iChat fans, iPod touch features FaceTime HD camera on the front for 720p video conferencing.
It’s actually interesting to see that Apple has devoted so much effort into touch as both iPad and iPhone have been cannibalizing iPod sales for the past few years. Everything on iPod touch looks refined, from the durable 6mm thin aluminum enclosure with rounded edges to 6 vibrant color choices (product RED included) and color-matching wrist straps, which Apple calls it a “loop”. Last but not least, the touch comes with a pair of new headphones – EarPods. All these treatments are a sharp contrast to previous model and make sure iPhone doesn’t steal all the thunder.
While everything looks fine, one may notice something isn’t right during a quick check of the video playback specs. The new iPod touch apparently cannot handle 1080p playback; its capability is actually limited to H.264 video up to 720p, 30fps, Main Profile level 3.1 with stereo audio up to 160kbps. This is despite the fact that the PMP is powered by a dual-core A5. There’s one last thing – the 8-pin Lightning port. Granted, it’s not micro-USB but at least with Lightning, it doesn’t matter which way up the cable goes. The new interface presumably will support USB 3.0 and likely Thunderbolt when the time is right. But with Apple pushing iCloud to the forefront on iOS devices, it remains a question how useful a high-speed PC / Mac interface is to users. The new iPod touch 5th generation will hit retail in October at $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB.