Text and photos by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
The iPod Touch has become the Swiss knife of tech gadgets. Now with a larger screen, bigger starting storage (32GB), a workable 5 megapixel camera and all the benefits of iOS 6 (Siri, Maps, iMessage, FaceTime) the iPod Touch has truly evolved.
Not only is it a legit iPhone without the Phone (and free of monthly voice and data plans), the iPod Touch is a triple threat device that skirts the genres of mobile gaming, smart cameras and pocket computer while remaining as an outstanding media playback and communications device.
The iPod Touch embraces Apple's newfound love for diamond-cut, jewel-like design. This year's version is crafted from colourful stainless steel yet polished and buffed to an incredible degree.
Much of the design language used here can also be seen in the iPad mini which receives very similar engineering and design treatment. The iPod Touch also gets the new Apple EarBuds which are a marked improvement over previous free earbuds in terms of fit and sound quality.
A new 5-inch Retina Display places the iPod Touch in the ballpark of the iPhone 5. And while the iPod Touch doesn't have that killer new A6 processor or the 1GB of RAM, it still enjoys the larger Retina Display which for games, videos and taking photos is a definite plus.
Apple has slimmed down the iPod Touch considerably and it is crazy light as well. This is a hint at where the iPhone is going in a year or two, once Apple can shrink the radios enough to make a device that can fit under most doors. You know they're going to do it too.
More attention has been given to the rear camera which is similar to that of the iPhone 4. 5 megapixels is nothing to be ashamed of and while the optics could have been better (i.e. as good as the iPhone 's), the iPod Touch will do a decent job for most snapshots and for Instagram-type photos.
This is made even better by added stabilization features and this can be tested with the new Panorama feature which works like a charm.
Apple seems to want users to think of the iPod Touch as a camera, they even designed leather straps for it and created a neat latch that hides until it is needed. The only thing missing really is a dedicated camera button which is probably anathema to Apple's less-is-more design language (but you can always use the Volume Up key to shoo photos in landscape mode).
The iPod Touch inherits the iPhone 4′s 5 megapixel camera, the very same one cited by image sharing website Flickr as the most popular digital camera based on user photo submissions.
Having this camera on an even more portable device means that fans of popular photo-sharing apps like Instagram and even serious photographers jonesing for simple yet versatile point-and-shoot have a very good option with the iPod Touch. Just check out some of the features of the 5 megapixel shooter.
- 5-megapixel iSight camera
- Tap to focus video or still images
- Backside illumination
- Hybrid IR filter
- Five-element lens
- LED flash
- ƒ/2.4 aperture
- Face detection
- HD video recording (1080p) up to 30 frames per second with audio
- FaceTime HD camera with 1.2MP photos and HD video (720p) up to 30 frames per second
- Video stabilization
- Tap to control exposure for video or stills
- Photo and video geotagging over Wi-Fi
The iPod Touch lacks optical zoom but even this is a solvable shortcoming seeing as case makers and companies like Olloclip are certain to be devising clever ways to enhance the camera functionality.
Compared to the previous iPod Touch, the new version is less generic looking and more outgoing. A palette of bright colours now replaces the much reviled chrome rear case of previous iPod Touches which would get scratched the moment they were removed from the box. As such, you no longer need to rush off and buy a $35 case to protect the iPod Touch.
Which begs the question, which would you rather get? A $299 32GB iPod Touch or a $329 16GB iPad mini. The answer is another question; do you want an iPhone without the Phone or a smaller iPad? Do you need 4G-LTE data? If yes, than the iPad mini is the only game in town. If you want a device for your pocket, then the iPod Touch is the option.
The iPod Touch is a mature product, one that may not be as popular as it once was, but which still gives users the breadth and scope of the Apple app and services ecosystem. This version has been improved in every possible way except the price.
Rating: 4 out of 5