While many might consider Apple's iPod Touch to be a kid's toy, the inexpensive, Wi-Fi-only device with no cellular data capabilities could be the perfect product for businesses looking to roll out custom iPhone apps to their employees.
With the cheapest iPhones costing around $500, the ability to pick up an iPod Touch (starting at $200 for a 16 GB model) makes for some interesting possibilities. Here are the details on the new model.
The old iPod Touch hadn't seen a significant update in several years, and the new model is a big step up. It includes the A8 chip, a 64-bit unit first introduced on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last September. It's running at a slightly slower clock speed than the similar unit in the iPhone 6 (apparently 1.10 GHz per core vs. 1.39 GHz in the 6), presumably to save on battery life.
Geekbench scores suggest the new iPod Touch is at least six times faster than the prior generation unit. Like the iPhone 6, it includes 1 GB of RAM, and the M8 motion coprocessor for measuring exercise, steps, and other motion without draining the battery, as well as 802.11ac high-speed Wi-Fi. Support for Metal, Apple's gaming-focused graphics stack is included as well, important for a consumer-focused device. It's also the first Apple device to support Bluetooth 4.1, a more advanced specification that allows for better power usage and more reliable connections, among other things.
A new 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and new color choices (silver, space gray, gold, blue, pink, and red) round out the technical specifications.
For companies that use their iOS devices primarily on fixed installations could use the new iPod Touch devices rather than more expensive iPhones that also require monthly cellular data plans. At their core, the iPods lack an earpiece and microphone for making voice calls, as well as a cellular connection for data.
Other than that, they run the same operating system (they're preloaded with the new iOS 8.4) and have many of the same features as their phone-based brethren. As long as users are near a Wi-Fi network (which is near-ubiquitious on most corporate campuses), the iPod Touch can run most of the same apps as an iPhone can—and, using speakerphone or with a wired or Bluetooth headset, users can even make VoIP and video chat/FaceTime calls.
There are four different capacities available, 16 GB (US$200), 32 GB (US$250), 64 GB (US$300), and a brand new 128 GB option for US$400. 128 GB and (PRODUCT)RED models will be sold exclusively through Apple, with other size and color combinations coming to third-party resellers as well.
The iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle received updates to their colors, but not to the hardware or software. Their uses are limited to playing music only.
What business use cases could you see for using Apple's new iPod Touch instead of the iPhone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.