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Next Gen iPod Touch Only Getting Small Upgrade: This Is Not A Tragedy

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By all accounts, the iPhone 5 that’s due to be officially announced in October will have plenty of new features and design elements to entice current owners and draw even more consumers into the Apple fold. The same might not be true for the iPod Touch. According to sources for MacRumors and TechCrunch, the iPod Touch isn’t going to get a significant upgrade this time around.

That’s not such a big surprise, though, is it? After all, the Touch doesn’t need everything a phone might. Plus, Apple needs to keep costs down. The iPhone has the advantage of carrier subsidies to keep prices as what consumers consider a “reasonable” level. No such advantage for the Touch.

Plus, an iPod doesn’t need a dual-core chip, NFC, or even an 8MP camera. In the last update Apple integrated the features that are most useful in a PMP/PDA and left the rest to the side.

iPod Touch

TechCrunch would have us believe that the reason Apple isn’t giving the iPod Touch a major upgrade is that iPod sales were down 20% according to this summer’s earnings call, which must mean that the entire MP3 market is shrinking. Or: Not. Maybe it means that most of the consumer base already has an iPod and doesn’t need another just because a new one exists.

I often hear from tech writers that MP3 players are dead and no one wants them because “everyone” has a smartphone. I never get tired of rolling my eyes at statements like this.

This attitude ignores several key factors, like the fact that millions of people don’t want or need a smartphone or simply can’t afford one. They might have the budget for a $199 device, but not the budget for a $30 – $60/month data charge that they’re stuck with for 2 years. If they buy a smartphone on a prepaid plan, then they’ll need a lot more money at the outset since those phones aren’t subsidized.

It also ignores that, while smartphones may play music just fine, doing so drains the battery. With all the stuff your phone does while it’s just sitting in your pocket, adding music playback means needing to charge it more often. Plus, most smartphones aren’t designed for music playback, so you don’t get easy access physical buttons, either.

One major demographic for MP3 players is kids and teens. Some parents are opting to give their kids smartphones, but many more are giving them simpler models that don’t cost much. I can see giving my 8-year-old niece and iPod Touch, but not an iPhone. And with the right apps, the Touch can mimic phone functions — including making calls and sending texts while on Wi-Fi — sans the expensive bill. Mom and dad can control and monitor it better, too.

The Touch can fulfill all of these needs without a major upgrade. Just because a device doesn’t need constant updates doesn’t mean it’s dead or no longer wanted. You just don’t mess with perfection.

K. T. is a lover of technology, gadgets, and all things geek. She has the enviable job of playing with evaluating mobile tech and apps all day. Follow K. T. on Twitter @KTBradford, on Google+ and Tumblr or email her via her website, KTBradford.com.

25 Comments

  1. Brandino 19

    09/21/2011 at 10:35 pm

    I agree, but the sales WILL NOT be good if there are no changes made.

  2. Riste Kocev

    09/21/2011 at 11:01 pm

  3. CLC

    09/21/2011 at 11:41 pm

    Still needs GPS for maps…… very annoying.

    I also like using the camera. It’s what I always carry with me. Better photos would have been so nice. At the very least, the ability to focus would have been a boon…..

    Ah well, I’m not looking to upgrade yet anyway.

  4. Guest

    09/22/2011 at 5:28 am

    It is still obviously BETTER if there are more upgrades. For instance, I’m sure many people would love to see a better camera on the new model. That’s all I’m hoping for, in fact. If the camera is still bad then I’ll go buy a 4th gen.

  5. Big Don

    09/22/2011 at 5:53 am

    You forgot one big key item in the decline of iPod sales, everyone of the billions of ipads sold has all the functions of am iPod.

  6. Anonymous

    09/22/2011 at 7:02 am

    Extremely disappointed if this is the case. I’ve a gen2 touch and find it most useful with net based apps at wifi hotspots. Being able to easily access information on the ‘net is a big plus and not releasing a 3g touch like a cutdown ipad2 3g is a big mistake IMO. Who buys the touch just as an MP3 player alone? Leaving the higher spec and capabilities to the iPhone alone is misguided. Like the comment above, I’ll just buy a gen4 if gen5 turns out to be no more than a white case…

  7. alex_dis

    09/22/2011 at 12:58 pm

    Surely they could have stretched to a 128GB model?? What about ‘Classic’ owners like me who are waiting for a higher capacity Touch to replace their older models? 

  8. Jim Barr

    09/22/2011 at 2:21 pm

    The iPod Touch is not simply an MP3 player–it has evolved into a full-blown PDA. (In fact, it is what Palm could have been had they not given up on the PDA market.) My iPod Touch 4g meets my expectations, but its camera could certainly be improved. No its camera doesn’t need to be 8MP, but how about 1 or 2 MP? And GPS should definitely be added. Apple’s obsession with thin is noble, but it has come at the cost of several missing iPod Touch features.

  9. Jim Barr

    09/22/2011 at 2:21 pm

    The iPod Touch is not simply an MP3 player–it has evolved into a full-blown PDA. (In fact, it is what Palm could have been had they not given up on the PDA market.) My iPod Touch 4g meets my expectations, but its camera could certainly be improved. No its camera doesn’t need to be 8MP, but how about 1 or 2 MP? And GPS should definitely be added. Apple’s obsession with thin is noble, but it has come at the cost of several missing iPod Touch features.

  10. Riste Kocev

    09/22/2011 at 8:22 pm

     It’s what I always carry with me. Better photos would have been so nice.   download-mobile-software.blogspot.com

  11. Riste Kocev

    09/22/2011 at 8:22 pm

     It’s what I always carry with me. Better photos would have been so nice.   download-mobile-software.blogspot.com

  12. Riste Kocev

    09/22/2011 at 8:24 pm

    is good ,aj lake   download-mobile-software.blogspot.com  

  13. Riste Kocev

    09/22/2011 at 8:24 pm

    is good ,aj lake   download-mobile-software.blogspot.com  

  14. Juniorramos

    09/23/2011 at 4:36 am

    wow minor changes -_- im just gonna buy the 4th gen

  15. Relytgninroht

    09/23/2011 at 3:53 pm

    If it does see minor upgrades, they’ll likely be to the internals: RAM, CPU, and the camera. They could even upgrade the speaker quality too. They aren’t going to leave it gimped compared to the iPhone and iPad though. If they did, then the new iPod touch wouldn’t be able to run half of the apps developed for iOS 5. It’s probably going to be an update like the 3rd gen was. It got a better CPU, GPU, and twice as much RAM.

  16. Jean123457

    09/25/2011 at 8:47 am

    It needs 3G. It needs a 8 megapixel camera. 

  17. Zzwarg

    09/26/2011 at 2:39 am

    If they offer voice and monthly data, like the iPad, from a carrier, one could get a free number from google and apple’s texting app, and he/she would have a smart phone for $30 a month instead of $95. That’s what I’m hoping for. I think all those cases they claim are for the new iPhone are actually for the new iPod touch

  18. Saniakh1

    10/03/2011 at 12:00 am

    Hi its really very nice blog,very useful information –Mobiles

  19. Allucardsin

    10/07/2011 at 8:39 am

    Behold i am one of those consumers that wanted a new ipod touch with the new camera and a5 chip to play games better man and 128gb of memory i dont wanna do all this on my phone and cut into my talk time. i use ipod’s a lot for a lot apps music videos and i talk and text quite often theirs no battery on a iphone yet that can support my habits. and space is a huge issue with me and the current touch i need a 100gb for my music library and 10gb for my apps that i have and i need the extra space left for recording videos of events and such so I NEED the new touch and i’m sure theirs many other consumers with my case and are waiting and wanting a fully update ipod touch im seriously not investing in the same thing over again. this must be met someday and soon hopefully

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