Audio

New iPod touch features more storage space and formats

You will be forgiven for thinking that Apple has given up on the iPod touch music player, which has not been refreshed for four years - an eternity in tech terms.

However, a week before its annual developer conference last month, Apple updated the iPod touch with a faster A10 Fusion chip and the M10 motion co-processor found in the iPhone 7.

The music player's maximum storage space was also increased to 256GB, up from 128GB for the previous model.

This refresh essentially takes the iPod touch up to speed with the upcoming iOS 13, slated to be released around September, as iOS 13 does not support the earlier sixth-generation iPod touch.

The new iPod touch also sports more upgrades, including support for Hi-Res Audio codec Flac and the Apple Lossless format, to cater to audiophiles who have scorned the iPod touch for years.

Design-wise, the seventh-generation iPod touch looks exactly the same as its immediate predecessor.

  • FOR 

    • Cheapest iOS device 

    • Slim and lightweight 

    • More storage space 

    • Supports Hi-Res Audio such as Flac and Apple Lossless 

  • AGAINST 

    • Same dated design 

    • No Touch ID 

    • Same cameras as its predecessor 

  • SPECS 

    PRICE: From $299 (64GB) to $639 (256GB, version tested) 

    PROCESSOR: A10 Fusion 

    DISPLAY: 4 inches (1,136 x 640 pixels) 

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 

    WEIGHT: 88g 

  • RATING 

    FEATURES: 3/5 

    DESIGN: 4/5 

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5 

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5 

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5 

    OVERALL: 4/5

Available in six colours - space grey, red, gold, pink, blue and silver (version tested) - it still looks like a mini iPhone 5 and features a 4-inch Retina display, weighs a mere 88g and measures only 6.1mm thick.

It still has a 3.5mm headphone jack and comes with wired EarPods earphones. The music player has Bluetooth too, so you can use it with the latest wireless AirPods 2 earphones, which I used for most of this review.

The new iPod touch also features the same 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera found in the sixth-generation version.

As a portable music device, I can understand the lack of camera upgrades. However, I am disappointed that the new iPod touch has no Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

While I am not expecting the iPhone X series' Face ID facial recognition, a Touch ID home button would be most welcomed as it gets irritating to keep keying in a passcode each time you switch the device on.

Also, there is no cellular option for the new iPod touch. This is a good thing if you are getting the device for your child, so he will not accidentally gobble up mobile data while surfing online with it.

But if you have subscribed to music streaming services such as Apple Music or Spotify, listening to tunes on the go will be tough if there are no Wi-Fi networks, unless you tether the iPod touch to your smartphone.

Personally, I prefer to download my music onto the device so I can listen to my favourite tunes even when I am on a flight.

But what if you want to play games on the new iPod touch? In GeekBench 4 benchmarking tests, it scored 2,661 (single-core) and 4,485 (multi-core) points.

In contrast, the iPhone 7, which features the same processor, fared better with 3,364 (single-core) and 5,314 (multi-core) points.

During actual use, the iPod touch feels zippy and responsive. It can handle triple-A iOS games such as The Elder Scrolls: Blades and PUBG Mobile without any issue.

It can also handle augmented reality (AR) apps like Measure and AR games such as Pokemon Go without a hitch.

The battery life of this iPod touch is rated by Apple at 40 hours of music playback or eight hours of video playback.

I found that the device's battery dropped to 40 per cent after playing music on it for about two hours a day and gaming for about two hours, over three days.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2019, with the headline 'New iPod touch features more storage space and formats'. Print Edition | Subscribe