iPod touch (4th generation) news at Apple
To end the round of analysis of the new iPods, today it is the turn of the new iPod touch . In this case, I preferred to take my time to test it thoroughly and day by day, and this new iPod touch deserves it. Spectacular from all four sides, it is impossible for this new Apple product to go unnoticed.
Before we start, a thought. Since the iPhone OS was announced with the first iPhone in January 2007 (how far that seems to go, right?) until the brand new iOS 4.2, it seems that Apple shows us ONE iOS device. The iPad, the iPhone and the iPod touch could easily be considered as the same product that in the case of the iPad, the iPhone and the iPod touch, boosts a feature to differentiate themselves.
Just as the iPhone meets today’s almost mandatory need for a smartphone, the iPad does the same to cover the ultra-portable computer segment (whose market seems to be easily snacking). The former for functionality and the latter for size, but what stands out in Apple’s new iPod?
iPod touch, a stunning design away from iPhone 4
It happens often with Apple products, it’s happened a thousand times: You see a picture of the company’s latest gadget and it doesn’t look like much… until you have it in front of you. The new iPod touch is something light and thin, which should border on embarrassing any similar product from the competition.
It’s amazing how Apple has managed to condense all the features present in the new device into such a (repeat) surprisingly small space. In fact, it’s smaller (in size) than iPhone 4, keeping the exact same screen:
But where the new iPod touch wins by a landslide is in the extreme thinness of the device. If you’ve ever picked up an iPhone 4, you’ll know that it’s as thick as any upper-middle-range smartphone, even though it’s quite heavy. Taking an iPod touch for the first time is a completely different feeling:
As you can see in the photo, not only does it completely deviate from the design of iPhone 4, it’s also half the thickness of it. Very similar in appearance to the previous iPod touch, this new model maintains its lightness: holding it in your hand is a complete joy, taking into account the new screen and the new features it incorporates.
The worst part of this extremely thin design? The buttons, no doubt. The edges with that sharp curve on the back makes the buttons (which, by the way, are not metallic like on iPhone 4) very difficult to reach by our fingers, since they are not “flat” accessible. There’s no major problem with this as soon as you get used to it, but it’s something that catches your eye the first time you use it.
iPod touch, box contents
Once again, Apple’s meticulous packaging means there’s barely room in the box for the iPod touch itself, the dock connector cable, earphones, and the guides, quick reference manual, and typical chamomile stickers.
The USB charger that is included with iPhone 4 is missing, very useful for when we take the device away from home on a trip and we don’t have a computer nearby. The model that comes with the Apple phone is the long one, which takes up a minimum amount of space and might have forced the iPod touch case to be a little thicker.
The included headphones are not the ones with a microphone either, but the usual ones included in the rest of the iPod range, without any kind of button to control the music playback. However, this iPod touch already has a built-in microphone and speakers, all designed to take advantage of the new FaceTime feature, of course. We can also use the headphones with microphone if we buy them separately and they are fully functional with this product (remote buttons included).
Retina Display and FaceTime do make a difference
Having an iPod touch in your hand for the first time is impressive, but the feeling is even greater when you turn on the product and see the new Retina Display applied to an iPod for the first time: Totally spectacular. The combination of lightness, thinness and the level of definition of the graphics will leave more than one person open-mouthed. Identical, on the other hand, to the one we already enjoy on iPhone 4.
However, it is with FaceTime that we begin to see why Apple has bet so much on this technology, and which tells us that it will not go unnoticed in its future product range (personally, I do not hesitate to see FaceTime on the next iPad). The incorporation of a front VGA camera for videoconferencing and a rear camera for recording high-definition video is undoubtedly a success in a product as versatile as this one.
It works just like it does on an iPhone 4, with exactly the same interface and connection mode. Obviously, on the iPod touch we don’t have a “FaceTime” button in the middle of a call, but we do have one inside each contact’s tab (on the iPhone 4 as well). Simply by pressing it (and if we’re connected to a Wi-Fi network), we can start the video conference:
Left, R2D2 testing FaceTime from the new iPod touch with Mr.Potato Optimus Prime, on an iPhone 4, right
On iPod touch, FaceTime contacts are connected to each other using the email address. This is a well thought-out method because the email address, like the phone number, is something that uniquely identifies each person. The first time we use it, FaceTime’s own “application” will guide us in setting our email address as caller ID. Later, simply by pressing the FaceTime button on the contact’s tab, iOS will automatically take care of establishing the communication, without any further intervention on our part.
An excellent video camera, a regular photo cameraExample of an image taken outdoors with the new iPod touch. Click on it to view the photo in its original resolution.
Another new feature is the addition of a rear camera with the ability to record HD video, just like the one in iPhone 4. However, and probably due to the tiny space available on the device, the camera has a resolution of 960×720 px, compared to 1936×2592 px on iPhone 4.
In my tests, the video recording is virtually identical to that of an iPhone, with the same HD 720p capture capability. However, it’s in the photos that the iPod touch is a little loose: the low resolution and the little space for the optics make the photos improvable. Above, I’ve put a photo taken with the iPod touch that you can press to see it in the original resolution, without processing.
It is clear that the camera is added in the new iPod more as a small extra than as something key within the product idea. Even though it doesn’t have the same quality as an iPhone 4, it will serve us to capture some specific moment right with the music player we have with us. And also, keep in mind that recording HD videos, in such a light and thin product, is a good surprise (and idea).
Improved battery to support the new extras
In these two weeks in which I have had the opportunity to test the iPod touch to the fullest, I have been able to verify the improvement in the battery that Apple has made in the new model: I wouldn’t know if it is only hardware, software or a combination of both but it is praiseworthy that a multitouch device with Retina Display allows as many hours of operation as the new iPod touch.
The official specifications are that it supports 40 hours of audio and 7 hours of video. On my charges, the iPod touch spent almost two days playing music non-stop, and it perfectly allows you to watch 3 or 4 movies without any charge between them. Of course, this depends on the use we give it, the brightness of the screen, if we have it connected to the Wi-Fi or Blutooth network… In any case, the battery increase is remarkable and (I repeat again) especially in a device as thin as this one.
Personally, I think that the new Apple A4 chip included in this model has made iPod touch gain more autonomy thanks to its power management: There is no doubt that Apple has made an effort to design a processor thought for iOS and this A4 is a great starting point. In the absence of (yet) new battery technology, all that’s left is to make the current ones bigger and have hardware that manages them efficiently. Apple has done a great job here.
The most spectacular iPod in existence (to date)
Despite the fact that many of us have great memories of the first iPod models, it is clear (and you only have to touch one to know it) that this is the most spectacular iPod Apple has ever made… at the moment.
The design, the new hardware features, the operating system, the fabulous display and a quite attractive price, make this new Apple player a sure seller, just like its predecessors. And beyond what is considered at this moment, it opens the way to a new generation of touch iPods with spectacular features.
Así es el nuevo iPod nano, Así es el nuevo iPod shuffle
Recommended for all those who do not want an iPhone 4 but do not want to give up its most important features: I recommend that you try out one of these new iPod touches live. And when you do, any other portable player will be a thing of the past.