Is Apple really making a new iPod Touch? And if it is, who would buy it?
We’re not going to speculate if Apple will release a new iPod Touch, instead, we’ll assume that it is and speculate what the target demographic for it will be in 2019. But first, a bit more about the iPod Touch itself.
The iPod is, of course, Apple’s iconic music player. The “Touch” part came when the company added a touch screen to the device and the ability to use almost all iOS apps on it. So by design, it is basically just an iPhone without the ability to make phone calls, which makes plenty of people wonder why it exists at all (and it still does!).
Apple is currently selling the iPod Touch that was released in 2015. It has an outdated design, a tiny (for today’s standards) 4-inch display and its A8 chip is far weaker than the A12 you can find on iPhones today. Yet despite that, the 128GB version will still set you back $300.
With the popularity AirPods have now and Apple including headphones with a Lightning port in iPhone boxes for years, it’s very likely that a new iPod Touch will come without a 3.5mm jack as well. So why exactly would you get an iPod Touch then? There seems to be no apparent reason.
Times are changing, as they say, and soon there might be not one, but several reasons for such a device to exist. We know from multiple reports that Apple’s services are becoming more and more profitable each year while iPhone sales are somewhat stagnant. And in just a couple of weeks, Apple is hosting a Special Event with all signs pointing that it will include the announcements of even more services. The main suspect is a video streaming service with included original content, but rumors also hint that there might be a game subscription service and one for news/articles as well.
That’s a lot of media to consume! Suddenly, a device dedicated to doing just that doesn’t sound so far fetched. But still, the fact is that iPhones (and smartphones in general) are a thing, so who would the new iPod Touch be for? Time to get into the heads of Apple executives and figure out what’s the target market for this misfit.
Option 1: Android users
Don’t pull out your crosses and holy water just yet! Hear me out! I know for most people owning both an Android and an iOS device is blasphemy, but we must think clearly for a minute. Who might want to have access to the original content Apple is exclusively providing on its platforms but doesn’t need a phone? That’s right, Android users!
Still, $350 (hypothetical price) might be too much for a media player with just a 6-inch or so display. But let’s not forget that Apple is starting to be more open, Samsung and Sony TVs are now coming with integrated iTunes movies and TV shows and it’s not unimaginable to think that the next iPod Touch will have AirPlay 2, allowing you to stream content to any TV that supports the feature, essentially replacing the Apple TV.
After all, the ecosystem is Apple’s biggest hook that keeps users from switching sides. Offering an affordable device that gives access to it without having to cheapen its iPhones might be just what it needs to lure over Android users that are on the fence.
Option 2: Kids
For better or worse kids these days are being raised with a smart device in their hands. However, they are not the best at keeping gadgets intact, to say the least. It’s no surprise that one of Amazon’s most sold tablets is one meant for kids with extra protection and replacement guarantee.
A phone-sized device is a lot easier to protect against dropping, throwing and other sorts of abuse it might face in the hands of a kid. It will be a good fit for the period between the time a child wants a phone and the time the parent decides it’s okay to get one. Of course, you can argue they can always give them an old iPhone without a SIM card and that’s true but sometimes getting the device new is also a factor.
Option 3: Frequent travelers
Obviously, we’re getting down to the more niche use cases but as I said at the start, there aren’t many potential buyers of the iPod Touch to begin with. People who travel frequently or just spend lots of time away from desks and other convenient places to charge your device often face battery anxiety. For all the advancements we’ve seen in tech, batteries seem to still be one of the weakest points of our smartphones.
And yes, you can get a battery case or a power bank, but with a second device, you can actually have true multitasking since, you know, iPhones don’t have split-screen (yet). This means you can watch a movie without worrying that you’re draining your phone’s battery too fast while at the same time answer texts or emails without interrupting the playback.
Option 4: The elderly
You want to make your grandparents part of team “blue text bubble”, or just be able to FaceTime them if texting isn’t their thing? But you’d rather keep them away from a regular phone because they keep receiving robocalls with various “tempting” offers? The iPod Touch might be the perfect device in that case. Sure, it still needs an internet connection, but who doesn’t have Wi-Fi at home these days? Add to that the affordability (relative to other Apple products, of course) of the iPod Touch and the whole entertainment/exclusive content factor and you have a pretty solid justification to go for one instead of an iPhone.
Now, let’s be clear, even with the added benefits of whatever new services Apple is planning to launch, the iPod Touch will always be a hard sell. But it’s not an impossible one. It might be the closest thing we’ll ever get to a cheap iPhone. And while the millions that already have an iPhone might laugh at the idea of having one, we shouldn’t forget that even in the States more than half of smartphone users are on Android. A new iPod Touch could be the wedge that helps Apple separate a portion of them.