Apple to demote the iPod, but here’s one reason to get one…

Mark Gurman, writing for 9to5mac:

Apple is preparing to make significant changes to its stores to simplify the experience by relocating iPod stock to accessory shelves and removing iPad-based Smart Signs, according to several Apple Retail managers briefed today on the plans. Apple will begin rolling out these notable changes overnight on Tuesday of next week to stores in the United States so that customers who begin coming in on Wednesday see the refreshed look.

Makes sense. The iPod touch is no longer the sales driver it used to be. But…

From this Wired article by Joseph Cox, entitled The Most Secure Way to Communicate:

the iPod Touch is a pretty simple option for staying private. With the right software, you can message people over mobile instant-message apps or make encrypted voice calls.

All it takes is making sure that the model is Wi-Fi only, scrupulously keeping it updated, following a few vital steps to lock it down, and, finally, installing an encrypted communications app. After that, you’ll be able to exchange seriously secure messages.

Phones, by design, constantly call out to the nearest (or strongest) cell towers to tell the network where to route calls and data. This, of course, leaves a paper trail, and those location records are available to any government agency with a warrant or, in the case of more authoritarian regimes, simply for the taking.

This means phone calls or text messages are not the best option for secure communication. The iPod Touch eliminates this problem because it doesn’t use a SIM card or a baseband. There are no phone records associated with it, providing a significant privacy advantage over the iPhone and other phones, and making it less of a tracking device in your pocket.

Seems to me, Apple has a marketing opportunity here. On the other hand, that would likely lead to calls of fear mongering. But still, the iPod touch as a secure comm device is an interesting use case.

  • Evan Hildreth

    The same use case applies to the iPad, though. Granted, it’s not as portable, but Apple also shows no signs of demoting WiFi-only iPads.

    • JohnDoey

      You can get a 4G-connected iPad and make secure calls also. Secure calls are a feature of iOS devices. The iPod touch is the worst of the devices for calls. Even worse than an iPad mini (even though it is bigger) because you can get a 4G connection.

  • JohnDoey

    Wi-Fi is not as secure as 4G, so this is terrible, terrible advice. What we call “Wi-Fi” is actually about 5 different kinds of wireless network, each with different encryption, most of which are old, most of which have been hacked. And there is no such thing as an open, unencrypted 4G base station, while there are many such Wi-Fi base stations, and you are going to attach to one every once in a while when there is no other option even though you know you are not supposed to, because your iPod touch has no 4G data connection and will be offline more than it is online.

    Also, it is much easier for a malicious hacker to setup a Wi-Fi base station and entrap you than to set up a 4G cell. Or they can hack into the Wi-Fi in public places much easier than hacking a 4G cell.

    Further, out-of-the-box, an iPhone has end-to-end encrypted iMessage texting and end-to-end encrypted FaceTime audio video calling THAT IS ALREADY WORKING WITH YOUR PHONE NUMBER. That means you are not likely to fall back to unencrypted calls because they are easier. There is nothing easier than iMessage and FaceTime. The encrypted calls are exactly the same as unencrypted calls, except you have to only call iPhones. However, that is not actually a problem, because ANDROID HAS NO SECURITY ANYWAY. So you cannot call Android phones and have a secure conversation. The recipient’s phone could easily be totally owned by a hacker. Even if they have an app that promises encrypted, secure calls, the calls will not be secure if on Android.

    Apple saves a lot of time these days by making much lower-quality products than they did in the past. They invested that saved time into making sure the iPod touch is never, ever, ever, ever, ever a replacement for an iPhone. If you want a little TV/stereo/gamebox for your pocket, then that is an iPod touch. If you have any kind of communicating to do other than a monthly FaceTime call to grandma, then you get an iPhone.