Apple introduces new 16GB iPod touch

Apple on Thursday quietly updated its iPod line with a new iPod touch.

The new model has a couple of changes from the existing iPods — its storage capacity is 16GB and only comes in Black. This new version is also missing the rear-facing camera. The iPod still comes with a front-facing camera.

Without the rear camera, Apple describes the new iPod as having an “ultraslim design, 4-inch Retina display, dual-core A5 chip.”

Sounds like the perfect portable game machine to me.

  • Andrew

    that was weird to wake up to.

  • Kabukiman

    “Sounds like the perfect portable game machine to me.”


    • Yea I’d rather play my 3DS XL for a portable gaming system – quality is so much better than iOS games

  • Jeff Jackson

    I wonder why Apple doesn’t package it with an Apple TV for $79 more to make it the ultimate home gaming system…

    • because they would probably be loosing money at that point or breaking even.

      • qka

        Or the might lose some loose change.

  • @ChristoDeluxe

    I think the removal of the camera is a really bad idea. I suspect Apple sells the majority of iPod touch devices to kids, and taking photos is a key use case.

    • Scruff0

      It still has the front facing camera.

    • DrewBear2

      People who need the rear camera can still buy the $299 / 32 GB version. I suspect most young kids do not use the rear camera.

      • Dave Thorup

        If you don’t think kids use the rear camera then I suggest you watch Apple’s latest advertisement, Photos Every Day:

        I can assue you that kids most certainly do use the camera.

        • DrewBear2

          I suspected my comment would need elaboration. I was thinking of kids younger than 8 or 9 yrs. old and I did not mean ALL kids in that age range. Of course some kids will use the camera if it’s there, but the average younger kid will probably not gravitate to the camera for the bulk of their iPod touch use.

          My nephews and niece (9-13 yrs. old) spend at least 200 min. on games for every minute they use the camera. If they had to use their own birthday money to buy a new iPod touch, I think they would all choose the cheaper version.

          Of course we’re mostly talking about parents who are more budget minded. A decent percentage of Apple’s customers will probably pay the extra $70 for double the storage and the rear camera. But more importantly for Apple, the $229 unit will attract a much larger customer base.

          • Dave Thorup

            Apple already had the 4G iPod Touch priced at $199. So for people that were eyeing the entry level iPod Touch they now have to shell out $30 more and don’t get a rear camera. That sounds like a downgrade to me.

          • DrewBear2

            But they also get a larger screen, new chassis, faster processor, Siri, etc. And for at least a year or so, Apple will still stock the 4th-generation iPod touch in the clearance/refurbished store for $129. Consumers who still want the camera and don’t care about the larger screen and faster processor can save even more money. I don’t see any downgrade for anyone here.

          • nick s

            The front-facing camera on the 5G is better than the rear-facing camera on the 4G. 960×720 is really not very good.

          • Odi Kosmatos

            Have you seen how many “kids cameras” there are on the market? (Like V-Tech brand’s). My 5-year old loved his iPod touch taking photos and videos. Sad to see that go.

    • This is to replace the old gen iPod Touch that was being sold for $199.

      This is still allowing for a lower priced alternative to exist with some trade-offs.

      I wonder if a lot of people were completely happy with the $199 old gen iPod Touch and this is a way to raise the ARPU (see asymco)

  • It’s a dedicated portable Facetime device.

  • Odi Kosmatos

    The removal of the camera is scary. There are a lot of signals from that move:

    1) The device is less general-purpose. It is moving back to music-player roots.

    2) An important sensor has been removed. App developers can no longer rely on cameras on all iOS devices.

    3) What if this happened on the iPad mini, too, for whatever same underlying reason it happened to the touch?

    4) Even if Jim is right and it is a move to make a cheaper portable game machine, the lack of camera is puzzling. They kept the front camera, means they still want the Facetime use case etc.

    No, I’m puzzled by this move.

    • mdelvecchio

      1) wait — does it no longer download and run apps, or am i missing something?

      2) one line of code to check this.

      3) nothing? i have never, ever, used the back cameras on my tablets. it’s completely tool-ish. i have used the front cameras for facetime occasionally.

      4) why would the lack of camera be puzzling on a portable gaming gizmo? maybe im showing my age but none of my portables had cameras…not a problem since the use-case is, you know, playing games.

      • Odi Kosmatos

        Regarding point 2, it’s not that it is hard to check for, it is that it fragments iOS devices. Except for the first iPad, developers could rely on features like the camera being everywhere.

        Have you ever heard of Vine or Instagram? Kiss that use-case goodbye.

        Why put cameras on iOS devices and then a few years later start removing them. That is what I am saying.

        • Moeskido

          Perhaps Apple’s research indicated there’s a consumer segment that doesn’t take a lot of pictures, but who’d want a cheaper iPod touch for other purposes.

          Or, Apple could merely be extending the price umbrella to shut out any possible competition for less-enabled devices.

          • Odi Kosmatos


            Side note: On Twitter someone told me that this is because we’ll be wearing the camera on our foreheads. LOL!

        • erickwong

          Nope, the iPod touch also lacked a camera for the first three generations. Any developer who isn’t already checking for a camera is doing it wrong. However, I think this is the first to have one camera but not both.

    • tylernol

      not puzzling at all. This device is targeted towards children who want to play games,do not have a cell contract, and do not take photos of their meals at fancy restaurants.

    • sloanie

      Why scary? I can count on one finger the times I’ve used the back camera on my iPad.

      I’ll agree that it’s a little bit of a strange move. Maybe a tradeoff to get a 4″ 16gb version within the desired margin.

      • Dave Thorup

        But how many times have you used the back camera on your iPhone? The iPod touch is an excellent device to completely replace a standard point & shoot camera. To remove the back camera on it is extremely puzzling.

        If you’re on a budget and had the choice of an iPod Touch with camera or a standard point & shoot camera most people would probably choose the iPod as it can do much more than a camera can. It’s really a device that could destroy the point & shoot camera market if Apple were to heavily market it as a P&S camera replacement.

        So to remove one of its best features is a really stupid move in my opinion.

        • Sebastian Paul

          As DigitizedSociety already mentioned, this versions is probably meant to replace the 4th Gen iPod Touch.

          That one has a back camera that is actually too bad to use it as a camera, so there’s no loss if a sucessor simply removed it.

          By replacing the 4th Gen iPod Touch with this new version of the 5th Gen, they will be able to raise the price of the entry model a bit and can get rid of having to manufacture the lower quality 3.5″ retina displays they are using in the 4th Gen iPod Touch, with only two types of mobile displays left, the higher quality 3.5″ retina display and the 4.0″ display that is shared by the iPhone 5 and 5th Gen iPod Touch.

          If you just want a cheap device to play games, get the cameraless version of the 5th Gen iPod Touch, if you want one that also replaces basic P&S cameras, get the a bit more expensive one.

          • Dave Thorup

            Actually, no, the camera on the 4th Gen iPod Touch is not “too bad to use it as a camera.” I gave a 4th Gen iPod to a friend who uses the camera all the time, especially for Instagram, Photo Stream as well as for video. Yes, the image quality for pictures isn’t nearly as good as the 5th Gen iPod Touch or any recent iPhone, but it is certainly passable. And the image quality for video (720p) is actually pretty good – better than the iPhone 3Gs.

            I understand that Apple would want to get rid of the 4th Gen to reduce manufacturing complexity but leaving an intro iPod Touch without a camera, even a bad camera, makes it far less desirable. They’d be better off putting the 4th Gen iPod’s camera in this version rather than selling one without a rear camera at all.

            With the explosion of photo apps and sharing pictures via Instagram, Photo Stream, Facebook & Twitter, I really couldn’t recommend an iPod Touch without a camera to anyone.

          • Sebastian Paul

            It would have cost Apple quite a bit more if they had added some kind of back camera to all the 16GB 5th Gen iPod Touch.

            But we can expect that they did their homework and got numbers on how many people were using their 4th Gen iPod Touch to take pictures and found out that it’s not reasonable to increase the manufacturing cost and/or price of the cheaper 5th Gen for every unit shipped, when only a smaller number of people actually use it to take pictures.

            The iPod Touch has become the handheld game console from Apple, if you just want to listen to some music, you get the cheaper iPod Nano or iPod Shuffle – or some other way to listen to your music, there are thousands of devices capable of music playback.

            Even some regular cell phones have better cameras than the 4th Gen iPod Touch and those who earn enough money to buy the (still quite expensive) iPod Touch will have a cell phone that is at least capable of taking O-K pictures, so there’s no need for having a worse camera on their handheld console.

            Apple probably thought they will do it either right or not at all.

            16GB 5th Gen with good camera can’t be sold for 229$, because the manufacturing costs are too high.

            4th Gen iPod Touch will be discontinued , so they need an iPod Touch they can sell for ~200$ in the future.

            5th Gen with 4th Gen camera? Picture quality is just bad and Apple is very concerned with what non-users perceive as the quality of Apple products.

            If a non-user sees a great picture that was taken with an iPhone, he might want to buy one to replace their cheaper Android smartphone AND their P&S camera.

            If he sees the pixelated mess that an iPod Touch 4th Gen captures, he might refrain from buying an iPod Touch.

            Getting rid of the 4th Gen camera also means less bad photos taken with a device by Apple, something that is “good” for the company.

          • sloanie

            Interesting. From this perspective, it makes the camera a significant part of the value of the 32/64gb versions. (rather than feeling like you’re paying $70 just for a paltry 16gb more storage). In this case, it just becomes a little strange that the 16gb version used to have a camera. Eventually people will get used to the lineup and it won’t seem as strange.

          • Dave Thorup

            I’m not going to address your many straw-man arguments (“it would have cost Apple quite a bit more”, “we can expect that they did their homework”, “manufacturing costs are too high”, etc.) because they’re pointless and can’t be proven or disproven.

            I’m approaching this form a product review standpoint – compare the $199 16GB 4th Gen iPod Touch to the $229 16GB 5th Gen. In that view, what has been upgraded? The 5th Gen has a slightly better screen, a faster processor, no rear camera and costs $30 more. And from that perspective I view it as a significant downgrade to remove the rear camera. Given a choice I’d take the 4G iPod over the 5G and no camera.

            The camera in the original iPhone was pretty bad too. And if Apple had introduced the iPhone 3G with no camera because they thought it would be better to have no camera than a crappy camera (the iPhone 3G used the same camera as the original iPhone) then the iPhone 3G would have been crucified in reviews. This 16GB 5G iPod Touch deserves to be crucified for the lack of rear camera. We expect our devices to get faster, smaller and often cheeper (or at least the same price) when they are upgraded. We don’t expect valuable features to be removed.

            Lastly, the one straw-man that I will address is your assertion that people who buy an iPod Touch will already have a cell phone capable of taking OK pictures. That’s just simply not the case for a large portion of the market. One of the appealing things about the iPod Touch has always been that it’s pretty much an iPhone without the phone. And one of the significant “features” that phones have is a monthly bill. There are a lot of people that want all of the features of the iPhone – music, videos, apps, games, camera, web browsing, FaceTime, iMessage, etc. – but without the monthly bill. For example, kids & teenagers whose parents can’t afford a phone for them, or people in developing nations that can’t afford a monthly cell phone bill, but can enjoy a one-time $199 purchase (now increased to $229) to get most of the features. I gifted a 4G iPod Touch to such an individual and I wouldn’t even consider gifting a camera-less 5G iPod Touch to anyone. I’d find a 4G version or spend the extra money to get one with a camera. But that’s just me.

            The bottom line is that Apple is charging more while removing a valuable feature. Ultimately the market will decide how successful that strategy will be.

          • Sebastian Paul

            You’re joking, right?

            Saying that the camera in the first iPhone was bad and imagining that Apple could have removed the camera due to the “Either good or not at all” statement i made is ridiculous.

            That was SIX YEARS AGO!

            People in 2020 will also say that the camera of the iPhone 5 was really bad (Because they will have 30MP-nightvision-lightfield-3D-cameras with 8K recording).

            The iPhone 2G camera was OK at its time and then you also have to remember that the first version of something Apple releases is often basically an experiment.

            The iPad 2 is the first really future-proof iPad, the iPad 4 is the first really good retina-iPad, the iPhone 3G is the first one with ALL the features a smartphone needed and it’s very likely that the 3GS was the first iPhone developed AFTER they realized that the iPhone will be more than a niche, with the 3G already in developement before the iPhone turned out to be a success.

            And the 3GS’ camera is really good for 2009.

            1. The US is special in regards to mobile phones and monthly bills.

            If you want just a mobile phone, you can get basic Android smartphones for less than 100€ in Europe (or dumbphones for 20-50 (the ones for 50 are the ones with OK cameras) Euros) and go with a prepaid contract. There are many contract for less than 20€ per month with unlimited minutes, unlimited text messages and included internet traffic that should be enough for regular users.

            If you can live with less minutes and included text messages, you will pay less or even get basic internet for free with 9c per minute/text.

            1. If you spend the extra money for the 32GB version with a camera = happy Apple. If you get a 4th Gen one instead = unhappy person who received it as a gift.

            The 4th Gen iPod Touch has reached the end of its lifetime, a lot of games have problems running due to the low RAM of that device (the 3GS has a lower resolution, so it can work better with only 256 megs of RAM) and this problem probably would get worse with iOS 7.

            That’s why Apple will stop selling the iPod Touch 4th Gen by the time they release iOS 7, which won’t run on that device.

            You’d be gifting a device that has a crappy camera, which can’t run future versions of iOS and many games requiring either iOS 7 or 512 megs of RAM instead of a future-proof device without a camera.

          • Dave
            1. If you don’t like the camera analogy then take any other significant feature. What major feature has Apple removed from the iPhone over the years? None? Why not? Probably because it wouldn’t go over well in the market. What they’ve done is iterate, iterate, iterate. Every year – faster, higher quality, more features. And always at the same price points. Why should we expect less from the iPod Touch? They’ve removed a significant feature from the entry level iPod Touch and I’m calling them out for it.

            2. Why the hell are you talking about Android now? That’s off topic, irrelevant and not worth addressing.

            3. I’m not disputing that the 4G iPod Touch has reached it’s end of life, but that’s irrelevant. You’re also focusing too much on the iPod Touch as only a gaming device. The iPod Touch is a multipurpose device capable of far more than just games: photography, taking videos, iMessage, FaceTime, music, streaming videos, Maps, web browsing and 100s of thousands of other apps, a good percentage of which are photography related. Apple’s now made any apps that use the rear camera useless for the entry level iPod Touch. I say that sucks.

            Again, the bottom line is that Apple is charging more while removing a valuable feature. Ultimately the market will decide how successful that strategy will be.

        • sloanie

          My only thought is, again, margins. They’d rather sell the 32gb model as a point and shoot replacement.

          I agree, though. Strange way to fragment / segment the iPod Touch lineup.

  • Strange that the rear camera, but not the front was removed. I’d think that the rear one would be the camera with the greater utility.

    Then again, maybe since it’s the better camera its the greater cost savings (but then why bother with ANY camera?). Or maybe they want to maintain incentive to buy the 32GB version with the camera (price differential).

    I suspect this could signal the end of the iPod mini, as this is moving towards its price point.

    • sloanie

      You mean the Nano? Haven’t seen a new mini in years 😛

      • nano, mini, shuffle, iSuppository. Whatever. 🙂

  • sloanie

    Ah, damn. I was hoping that this “quietly introduced new iPod Touch” would be a 128gb model. Maybe it’ll never happen. Or maybe it’ll happen after the iPhone gets there. I realize I’m in that small minority that wants to store a large library of music locally. Since my iPod classic died I’ve been making do with a 64gb iPhone.

    • khakionion

      Even as an iTunes Match user, I’d get a lot of use out of a 128GB model. I download a lot of music for trips with spotty internet access, or international trips.

      • sloanie

        I like the idea of iTunes Match, but it requires me to use lossy files for listening. Not the worst thing in the world, but not quite where I’d like it to be. Glad to hear even some iTunes Match users would want that amount of storage.

        In my mind, more storage means less having to spend time deleting and downloading music. (As it is, if I DID have iTunes match… I’d have to do some deleting to listen to anything different than what’s on my device.)

  • ac_mire

    So I mean have you never ever actually played a videogame or…?

  • Dennis Madrid

    This replaces the $199 iPod Touch with the 3.5″ screen that was carried over from last year. Basically Apple cut what they could (i.e. camera, capacity) in order to try and meet the price-point with a device that has an A5 chip and 4″ screen (and possibly more RAM, I don’t know that information). The upside is they’ve simplified their lineup and set a new minimum standard for performance. It’s probably related to whatever new features and requirements iOS 7 will have come WWDC; they don’t want to be selling any device that can’t offer every new feature of iOS. Also as an aside an iPod Touch like this has additional appeal as a remote for an AppleTV in addition to it being a gaming device as Jim pointed out.

  • sloanie

    Still thinking about this– intrigued by the suggestion that Apple is intentionally introducing some feature disparity into the iPod Touch lineup to create tiers within the lineup without having the low tier by “last year’s model” (or in this case, a model that was more than 2 years old).

    Want a camera and one of six colors? Pay $70 for those upgrades.

    Makes the 32GB seem more like its worth the extra money over the 16GB without the latter seeming so outdated. (Certainly cost / margin must have been a factor in choosing not to sell the 16gb in the upgraded style / size / specs previously, no?)

  • My 7-year olds got a couple of kid cameras from relatives, but they always go back to using the iPhone 3Gs or 4 we kept after upgrading. Rear camera is a must-have feature. I don’t hear iPod owners wishing that their now-previous gen iPods were thinner or lighter.

    • DrewBear2

      The rear camera is still available for those people who “must have” it. $299 for the 32 GB 5th-gen. or $129-149 for a refurbished 4th-gen.

      People can disagree with Apple’s product strategy and pricing. But historically the folks at Apple have gotten this kind of thing right much more often than not.

      • “But historically the folks at Apple have gotten this kind of thing right much more often than not.” You’re right on that one.

  • Joshen Zu Xian

    still cant bring it into the army base where i work with me… cos it still has that camera in the front.. sigh…

    • Joshen Zu Xian

      and to top it off, the 3rd Gen Itouch is a ticking time bomb, I never know when they will stop support for it… already it is becoming harder and harder to find on the market …

  • Lala

    Apple shouldn’t of taken off the rear camera. It is hell without one.

  • Ibnu

    if it can play a instagram?

  • Lauryn

    Taking out the front facing camera is a bad idea. And they didn’t add a loop to it and the panarama?!?! Come on Apple you are not broke everyone buys your stuff. Can’t you just add a few things in!! Apple if you are smart you would add it because instagram is in these days. Most pics are the mirror selfies. Some people like me get mad at that kind of stuff. If you want to make more money add the special features. Trust me.