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Apple's Schiller says iPod touch too thin for ambient light sensor

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller on Tuesday reportedly responded to a customer's question regarding the lack of an ambient light sensor in the fifth-generation iPod touch, saying the media player is too thin to incorporate the component.

iPod touch Comparison


AppleInsider cannot verify the legitimacy of the email, however the message's terse but chummy language is in line previous responses thought to be from Schiller.

According to a record of the email exchange obtained by iDownloadBlog, iPod touch owner "Raghid" from Lebanon asked the Apple executive why his new device lacked an "auto-brightness" setting.

Schiller's alleged explanation, received on Tuesday, was both cordial and to the point:

Thank you for purchasing a new iPod touch. It is a remarkable device! The 5th generation iPod touch does not have a built-in automatic light sensor (it's just too thin!)


A couple niggling issues stand out with the purported response, the most glaring being the mention of an "automatic light sensor" in lieu of the correct term, "ambient light sensor" or ALS. Second is the lack of a "Sent from my iPhone" signature commonly used by Apple executives, including the late Steve Jobs. A recent email from Schiller gained notoriety as being one of the first published messages to boast the "Sent from my iPhone 5" line, which was missing from Tuesday's purported message.

Disregarding the authenticity of the communiqu?, the iPod touch ALS issue still remains, and Schiller's alleged explanation offers a somewhat plausible answer.

In AppleInsider's review of the fifth-gen iPod touch, the unit's profile was noticeably thinner, shaving about 1mm in thickness from the previous design. The effects of the iPod's constrained proportions were obvious, especially with the camera, which "pokes out further from the edge of the case than any previous iPhone, iPod touch or Mac."

iPodtouch5.101512.014.jpg


It is possible that there simply wasn't enough room for an ambient light sensor in the new iPod touch's slimmed-down chassis, though it should be noted that Apple was able to carry over the front-facing camera assembly, which is quite a bit larger than an ALS unit.
post #2 of 29

Oh great.... cue the iHaters that will cry "Now Apple's saying their products are too thin for the kitchen sink!!!  Curse Apple!!!"  /s

post #3 of 29
Quote:
A recent email from Schiller gained notoriety as being one of the first published messages to boast the "Sent from my iPhone 5" line, which was missing from Tuesday's purported message.

 

Don't people use their Retina MacBook Pro to respond to emails sometimes?

 

 

 

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #4 of 29
If a device is "too thin" to support needed functionality, then make the darn thing thicker. Which would let them stick a slightly larger battery while they're at it.
post #5 of 29
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post
…needed…

 

As that's subjective…

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #6 of 29

This datasheet for a readily available ambient sensor suggests that if one wanted to fit it in an iPod Touch, one could.

 

http://www.vishay.com/docs/81317/temt6200.pdf

 

And there's no reason to think that Apple is limited to using off-the-shelf components. A thinner sensor is possible.

post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

If a device is "too thin" to support needed functionality, then make the darn thing thicker. Which would let them stick a slightly larger battery while they're at it.

 

agreed!

post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

If a device is "too thin" to support needed functionality, then make the darn thing thicker. Which would let them stick a slightly larger battery while they're at it.

 

 

At this point in the iPod's career, it doesn't need much more. It dominated the MP3 player market, and then killed the competition. And then it's slowly phasing itself out in favour of its iPhone cousin. If Apple does release a Mini, look for iPod sales to drop even more. 

 

In this case, thinner is actually a bigger draw than the ambient light sensor. 

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

If a device is "too thin" to support needed functionality, then make the darn thing thicker. Which would let them stick a slightly larger battery while they're at it.

 

They did. It's called iPhone 5.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #10 of 29
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post
If Apple does release a Mini, look for iPod sales to drop even more. 

 

I fail to see how. 

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #11 of 29

SNL is not really that funny anymore, but they do have their moments....

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybDKfGEw4aU

 

I love the line, "What products does America make anymore? Hmmm. Is Diabetes a 'Product?'"

 

:)

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


At this point in the iPod's career, it doesn't need much more. It dominated the MP3 player market, and then killed the competition. And then it's slowly phasing itself out in favour of its iPhone cousin. If Apple does release a Mini, look for iPod sales to drop even more. 

In this case, thinner is actually a bigger draw than the ambient light sensor. 

Thinner and lighter. Look for it to become a favorite camera for flying on drones.
Edited by Flaneur - 10/16/12 at 2:59pm
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

I fail to see how. 

 

What's really odd is that lots of people still own an iPad, even though they have an iPhone. Even though they can run many of the same apps, screen size matters. I still prefer to read books or surf the web on the iPad, and there are several games that are just plain better on the iPad.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

If a device is "too thin" to support needed functionality, then make the darn thing thicker. Which would let them stick a slightly larger battery while they're at it.

Only if the value of the ALS and bigger battery is greater than the value of thinness. Apple has decided that it's not - and I suspect that they're better at determining the value of different components than you are.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

 

What's really odd is that lots of people still own an iPad, even though they have an iPhone. Even though they can run many of the same apps, screen size matters. I still prefer to read books or surf the web on the iPad, and there are several games that are just plain better on the iPad.


There's also some games that are better on the iPhone (doodle jump and cut the rope come to mind). Having both really is a perfect world

post #16 of 29

@P.S.: B.S.

post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

 

What's really odd is that lots of people still own an iPad, even though they have an iPhone. Even though they can run many of the same apps, screen size matters. I still prefer to read books or surf the web on the iPad, and there are several games that are just plain better on the iPad.


Looking beyond the regular consumer market, the iPad makes more sense in the enterprise for lots of things where the extra real-estate is needed and appreciated.  We just deployed an iPad-only app for use by salespeople which has all our items in an e-catalog format.  We're going to do an iPhone version as well but salespeople don't want to show clients are product on a tiny phone screen.  Just doesn't work.

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

If a device is "too thin" to support needed functionality, then make the darn thing thicker. Which would let them stick a slightly larger battery while they're at it.

I agree in the short run, but then again this will drive a third party to make the light sensor fit into the next gen iPod touch.

post #19 of 29

You know if Steve Jobs were alive it would have an ambient light sensor.... /sarcasm

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Mac Mini (Mid 2011) 2.5 GHz Core i5

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post #20 of 29
I saw the new Touch in the store on Sunday. It's amazingly thin. They really can't make it thinner without getting rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack.

But can they? People were/are livid that Apple changed a proprietary connector they used for a decade so it doesn't seem like it would go over well. However, I think the solution might be in the Lightening connector. Make the headphones use that as port. Sell an adapter for your 3.5mm headphones, and make BT a common reality once you can feasibly get 320kbps streaming with decent battery life from reasonably sized headphones.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #21 of 29
The 4th gen iPod touch was already too thin and light!

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iPod nano 5th Gen 8GB Orange, iPad 3rd Gen WiFi 32GB White
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post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I saw the new Touch in the store on Sunday. It's amazingly thin. They really can't make it thinner without getting rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack.
But can they? People were/are livid that Apple changed a proprietary connector they used for a decade so it doesn't seem like it would go over well. However, I think the solution might be in the Lightening connector. Make the headphones use that as port. Sell an adapter for your 3.5mm headphones, and make BT a common reality once you can feasibly get 320kbps streaming with decent battery life from reasonably sized headphones.

 

If Apple tried to push another adaptor then life, as we know it, would come to an end.

 

Look at the ravings on MacRumors if you don't believe it.

 

Having said that, the only way to know if Apple has made a good decision is to see how many folk on MacRumors disagree with it.

 

If 90% of them say they will burn every Apple product in their home, then Cupertino has made the right choice. Keeps things simple.

post #23 of 29

We've known it for ages, but now Apple officially announce that they value form over function.  Finally they acknowledge what has been plainly obvious to everyone else.

post #24 of 29
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
We've known it for ages, but now Apple officially announce that they value form over function.  Finally they acknowledge what has been plainly obvious to everyone else.

 

Except that couldn't be further from the truth. 

 

Question: did any ambient light sensor ever work for you at any time? Never has for me. I keep my iPhone and iPod touch all the way on at all times, while I alternate on my iPad between all the way down (for reading at night) and all the way up (for daily use).

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #25 of 29

I call BS.

 

The reason why it was removed was to cut costs, while INCREASING the price, beefing up its margins even more.

 

There are plenty of thin ambient sensors available.

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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post #26 of 29
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post
The reason why it was removed was to cut costs, while INCREASING the price, beefing up its margins even more.

 

Uh huh, "increasing". Right.

 

There are plenty of thin ambient sensors available.

 

Say, mind linking to one? 

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #27 of 29
If they really wanted to they could monitor the light intensity using the facetime camera.
It's really not important though.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

I call BS.

The reason why it was removed was to cut costs, while INCREASING the price, beefing up its margins even more.

There are plenty of thin ambient sensors available.

Show us some sensors that would be a great fit for that device.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Except that couldn't be further from the truth. 

Question: did any ambient light sensor ever work for you at any time? Never has for me. I keep my iPhone and iPod touch all the way on at all times, while I alternate on my iPad between all the way down (for reading at night) and all the way up (for daily use).

It would work better if Apple enabled its function when showing the lock screen. On "auto" the lock screen is way too bright in the dark. I just don't understand why it has to be that way. I know it's only a few seconds, but that's for each and every unlock. It's also quite annoying where I'd rather just fiddle with the brightness.
Edited by JeffDM - 10/17/12 at 6:45pm
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