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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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."

image


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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,730member


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

  • Reply 2 of 28

    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?


     


     


     

  • Reply 3 of 28
    ahmlcoahmlco Posts: 432member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 28


    Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

    …needed…


     


    As that's subjective…

  • Reply 5 of 28


    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.

  • Reply 6 of 28
    simtubsimtub Posts: 277member

    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!

  • Reply 7 of 28
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member

    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. 

  • Reply 8 of 28

    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.

  • Reply 9 of 28


    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. 

  • Reply 10 of 28


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


     



     


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


     


    :)

  • Reply 11 of 28
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    quadra 610 wrote: »

    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.
  • Reply 12 of 28

    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.

  • Reply 13 of 28
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    ahmlco wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 28

    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

  • Reply 15 of 28
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,893member


    @P.S.: B.S.

  • Reply 16 of 28
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,730member

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 28

    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.

  • Reply 18 of 28
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,172member


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

  • Reply 19 of 28
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    aizmovaizmov Posts: 989member
    The 4th gen iPod touch was already too thin and light!
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