PHOENIX - Remember when the iPod was Apple’s crown jewel? Those days are gone. It’s been replaced in popularity and prominence by the iPhone and iPad. Nonetheless, the new iPod touch (5th generation) is easily the best yet. Read on to find out what I love and what I wish was different.
For most people, the easiest way to explain the iPod is that it’s basically an iPhone without the phone. The specs are a bit different and the back housing is a bit different but at the end of the day, it operates like an iPhone without the phone functionality. Want an iPhone but don’t need a new phone? Get an iPod.
The iPod is similar in many ways to the newest iPhone, the iPhone 5. It uses the same 4” retina screen. The device itself is the exact same size except for its thickness. The iPod is slightly thinner than the iPhone 5. It has the standard glass front face with the iconic center button under the screen. The back is made out of a very nice colored aluminum. The demo device I reviewed is blue. It looks great and feels nice in your hand. It comes in a variety of colors.
The new iPod has a 5 megapixel camera on the back and a 1.2 megapixel camera on the front that is capable of shooting HD video and making Facetime HD calls. The rear camera takes GREAT pictures and shoots great video. It’s comparable (perhaps exactly the same) as the camera previously used on the iPhone 4. Sure, it would be nice to have 8 megapixels (like the 4s and 5) but I’m not convinced it would make that much of a difference. It’s a good camera. The built-in LED flash does the job. It takes decent pictures in the dark but isn’t quite what you might expect from a “real” point and shoot pocket camera.
I think the iPod is almost a point and shoot replacement. Unless you need a physical zoom, this thing could replace most barebones point and shoot cameras. At the same time, you get the bonus of a ga-zillion cool apps that make the camera do so much more!
The new iPod also runs the latest version of iOS, iOS 6. It has a bunch of cool improvements including great Facebook and Twitter integration, Siri and a very slick panorama mode in the camera. There have been many public complaints about the new Maps app that replaces the previous Google Maps app. Since the iPod requires Wi-Fi your use of Maps will probably be limited anyhow. It’s something you should think about, though.
iOS 6 is a big upgrade and there are plenty of reviews specifically related to the OS . I won’t go in depth here. I will say that it’s the iOS you know and love but with more goodies baked in.
Quirky but cool
Apple did something that seems a bit outside of Apple’s realm, they added a lanyard. There is a slick little “button” on the back that pops out when pressed. You can slide in the included lanyard or buy additional colors. Apple calls it the “loop.” Ok, whatever! It’s a lanyard. It’s a nice touch and makes the new iPod touch even more like a pocket camera.
Apple also redesigned the earbuds calling the new ones, EarPods. They are much better than traditional earbuds but won’t blow your mind. I’m glad Apple took the initiative to re-invent the earbud and I think it was worth it. Audiophiles will still go out and drop another $100 on their own set of headphones.
The 5th generation iPod touch is easily the best iPod yet. The screen is amazing, it feels thin and slick in your hand and it snaps great pictures. The iPod’s biggest problem is trying to figure out where it fits in, in a world filled with smartphones. I don’t have the answer to that question but I can say it’s a great pocket camera, great pocket video game console and a great little app machine. $299 for the 32GB model means buying an iPod touch won’t be cheap but you get what you pay for. The iPod touch is available right now.
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