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New Apple iPod touch: An Overview

New iPod touch

The iPod touch has been the most popular iPod for Apple. In fact, it has been the most popular product for Apple, a title that was previously held by the nano. People seem to have taken very well to the touch, a device that offered them all the iOS goodness of the iPhone without the phone (and contract). It has been a huge success as a gaming platform too, selling more than the number of handheld consoles that Nintendo and Sony sell combined, with 50 percent of worldwide market share. So how can you make something so great even better?

Well, the first thing that Apple probably has in mind when making newer versions of existing products is how they can make it smaller. The older iPod touch was impossibly thin. They just couldn’t make it any thinner. But that’s what we think. To prove us wrong, Apple has done just that. Not only did they make it thinner they also added in more stuff to it, including two cameras, one of which records in HD!

The older iPod touch was 8.5mm ‘thick’, while the new one is just 7.2mm. When you look at that figure and what all Apple has added in the new touch, you realize that Apple’s engineers are a different breed of people, capable of bending the laws of physics in a way that a common man cannot even comprehend (nor can the engineers of other companies for that matter).

There are five major additions to the new touch. First is the Retina display, which debuted on the iPhone 4. It’s 960 x 640 pixels, which is four times the resolution of the older iPod touch displays and since the size has remained unchanged at 3.5-inches, it has an amazing pixel density of 326 ppi, which is the highest for any mobile device, so high that you cannot see individual pixels with the naked eye.

The second addition is the A4 chip, same as the one found on the iPhone 4. Rumored to be clocked at around 1GHz, the new chip will make the iPod touch much faster and will also significantly improve the gaming experience as now the developers can make more detailed and high quality games knowing that the processor is fast enough to handle them.

Another thing that will make gaming better is the addition of a gyroscope, which is the third important addition. The three-axis gyroscope will make motion based gaming a lot more precise, while adding new ways to control the games.

The next important feature is the addition of a front video camera. It can record videos and images in VGA resolution. With it you can make FaceTime calls with people using the new iPod touch as well the iPhone 4.

The last major addition is the camera on the back of the device. With it the new iPod touch can record videos in 720p resolution at up to 30 frames per second and also take pictures in 960 x 720 resolution. Just like on the iPhone 4 the rear camera can be used during a FaceTime call to show the person on the other side what you are looking at. You can geo-tag the images using Wi-Fi. Whether the camera on the back supports autofocus or not is not mentioned. However, my guess is, it doesn’t. But for such a thin device, it is a miracle they managed to put in a camera capable of recording HD videos.

Visually, you will notice that the back is now completely flat and not curved as on the older model. Also, the tiny spot on the top left, which was the Wi-Fi antenna, has now disappeared and one wonders where Apple could have relocated it. I guess we will have to wait for iFixit’s teardown for that. Apart from that the new touch is identical to the older model.

The battery life on the new model is rated at 40 hours for audio and 7 hours for video, which is longer by 10 for audio and 1 hour for video than the older model. This, despite the thinner size and added battery-consuming features. It’s sorcery, I tell you!

The new iPod touch will be sold in three capacities; 8GB, 32GB and 64GB models, and unlike the previous generation, this time it seems they all will get the same hardware. They will be priced at Rs. 15,400, Rs. 19,900 and Rs. 25,900 respectively.

The Good:

  • It’s impossibly thin
  • Retina display
  • A4 processor
  • 3-axis gyroscope
  • Front VGA camera for FaceTime
  • Rear camera for recording HD videos and stills
  • Improved battery life, despite all the above additions and size reduction!
  • There is still a loudspeaker somewhere in there
  • Did I mention how thin it is?

The Bad:

  • Only 256MB of RAM
  • Display does not use an IPS panel like the iPhone 4
  • 64GB is still the maximum limit
  • An FM radio would have been nice
  • No autofocus for the rear camera, and low resolution still image capture

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