[Op-Ed] Is Apple’s new iPod worth buying?

Photo courtesy of Apple.com

As most already know, I’m not a huge fan of Apple and their tech goodies.  One Apple product I am a fan of is their iPod product.  I’ve used many a portable music device over the years, including the Diamond Rio,the Nomad Zen Jukebox, and the Dell DJ.  All of these ended up falling before the behemoth that was the Apple iPod.  No other device has the cache and functionality of an iPod.  And now Apple has announced the release in October of the newest version of their iPod Touch line.  Is this newest iPod Touch something worth your hard earned dollars?  Let’s take a closer look.

Photo courtesy of Apple.com

The newest generation follows the path of the new iPhone 5 with a larger, 4 inch high resolution (1136 x 640) display, a dual core A5 processor, and the thinner, lighter aluminum body construction.  In addition, the newest iPod comes with the 5MP so-called iSight rear camera (and a 1.2MP front facing camera) as well coming in multiple fun bright colors (as well as one dark sinister one).  It also comes in two large capacity sizes, 32GB and 64GB for $299 and $399 respectively.  In the box you also get: the Quick Start guide, the new Lightning to USB charging cable, a “loop” carrying strap, as well as Apple’s new EarPod headphones.

I’ve been critical in the past of most of these “innovations” in the iPhone, since loads of other OEM phones have large, high resolution screens, dual core processors, and are thin and light.  The portable media player market is not the same as the mobile phone space however.  Apple’s near stranglehold on this business segment means there really isn’t any competition to compare the device against, unless you count the  Windows Zune product (which I don’t).  When you’re only fighting yourself for market share, the changes that Apple made to the design and technical specs of their iPod product can really make a huge difference in terms of sales.

Photo courtesy of Apple.com

For example, I currently own 3 iPods; a 2nd generation 30GB device that the battery died on (my first one), a small iPod Shuffle that I bought for jogs and workouts (since it’s small and lightweight), and a 4th generation iPod Touch that is the sole music player for my house and car.  In the car, its all I listen to on the radio, and at the house, I will throw on my headphones and listen to it while doing chores or just when I want to relax.  I’m probably like most American households that have kids, where multiple portable media devices are the norm.  And even so, I would still consider buying one of the new iPods for the technical advancements noted above.  In addition to the nicer, larger display and faster processor,  I would also be interested in the front facing camera (something my current iPod doesn’t have) to use FaceTime with, as many of my family Members have iPhones.

Then add in the fact that the new iPod shares many of the existing Apple native apps, such as Siri (useless to me, but others might use it) and the iMessage platform, as well as future useful items like Passbook, and the new iPod Touch is a clear step forward in portable media technology.  So much so that even a guy who already owns an iPod Touch would give strong consideration to buying one (I like the black-and-slate-grey one personally, maybe because its dark and sinister?)  I’m sure that loads of other folks out there who don’t currently own an iPod would love this new device.  With so many changes between the 4th and 5th generation devices, this new iPod Touch is something even a non-Apple fanboy can recommend.

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