Apple's new iPod touch debuts underclocked but powerful A8 SoC, Bluetooth 4.1

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited July 2015
Wednesday's iPod touch release marked a number of firsts for Apple, including two major modifications to existing technologies in an underclocked A8 system-on-chip silicon and a communications package boasting the Bluetooth 4.1 Core Specification.




Although the A8 system-on-chip incorporated into Apple's latest iPod touch models are clocked at lower speeds compared to other A8-toting devices, the silicon is plenty fast for what is essentially a stripped-down 4-inch version of the iPhone 6. Any perceived loss in speed is likely more than made up for in power savings, as the iPod touch must pack its internals into a chassis 0.6mm thinner than Apple's current iPhone.

At 1.1GHz, the iPod touch's A8 is clocked well below the same component on iPhone 6, which runs its SoC at 1.39GHz. Still, according to benchmarks snagged by TechCrunch, iPod touch is no slouch when it comes to performance and turned in a Geekbench single core score of 1,379 and a multi-core score of 2,440. The results match up with iPhone 6 scores submitted to Geekebench Browser, which showed rough single- and multi-core score averages of about 1,600 and 2,900, respectively.


Source: TechCrunch


A more thorough test will reveal to what extent the underclocked A8 affects iPod touch battery life.

Apple also chose to include the Bluetooth 4.1 Core Specification in today's iPod touch release, an evolutionary change over the 4.0 version currently deployed in all current iOS products. According to a press release put out by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) in 2013, the 4.1 specification offers expected gains in speed and reliability. In addition to improvements to data transfer and connection capabilities, the Core Specification is able to better coexist with cellular technologies like LTE.

Perhaps more importantly for Apple, Bluetooth 4.1 offers the potential of a dedicated channel for IPv6 connectivity which, in conjunction with Bluetooth Smart, is one way to power so-called Internet of Things devices. Apple is pushing hard to get third-party HomeKit products out the door, but so far reviews have been mixed. Pundits are excited about the smart home solution's potential, especially considering Apple's aptitude for creating cottage industries built around flagship products, but some have commented on unstable inter-device connectivity and a sometimes squirrelly Siri interface.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,719member
    I was wondering how they dealt with the heat.
  • Reply 2 of 21
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post



    I was wondering how they dealt with the heat.

    Underclock generates less heat than normal clock.

  • Reply 3 of 21
    woochiferwoochifer Posts: 365member

    Oh well, I guess this answers the question of how Apple would deal with the iPod touch potentially outperforming the larger screened iOS devices -- they simply did not allow it to happen. Would have loved to see how the A8 could perform without the added overhead of the larger screen and higher resolution.

     

    But, with Apple now introducing an underclocked A8 variant, this now begs the question of whether an A8-powered 4" iPhone will appear this fall.

  • Reply 4 of 21
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,432member

    Apple is still calling it "space grey", but that's clearly not the same as the space grey used in other devices. Maybe it's the same color, but it's clearly not the same shade. This space grey is a lot darker than the other space greys. I like the look of this darker space grey better than the lighter look.

  • Reply 5 of 21
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 709member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post

     

    But, with Apple now introducing an underclocked A8 variant, this now begs the question of whether an A8-powered 4" iPhone will appear this fall.


    I sure hope so. After 9 months with my iPhone 6 from my 4S, I still feel the 6 is too large for a "phone" that is always with me. I would LOVE to "downgrade" to an equally powerful, but smaller phone that works as well with one hand as did my 4S. I also wish Apple would move the sleep/wake button back to the top where it feels much more natural to me. I've adapted well to every iPhone I've ever had...until the 6.

  • Reply 6 of 21
    normmnormm Posts: 548member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zroger73 View Post

     

    I sure hope so. After 9 months with my iPhone 6 from my 4S, I still feel the 6 is too large for a "phone" that is always with me. I would LOVE to "downgrade" to an equally powerful, but smaller phone that works as well with one hand as did my 4S. I also wish Apple would move the sleep/wake button back to the top where it feels much more natural to me. I've adapted well to every iPhone I've ever had...until the 6.




    Apple seems more willing to expand its product line lately, so maybe they'll keep a smaller phone available.

     

    I certainly agree about the sleep/wake button.  I don't know anyone who likes it where it is on the side.  It often makes me drop calls when I grab my ringing phone, and just turning the phone to landscape orientation I accidentally turn it off a lot.

  • Reply 7 of 21
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,498member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post

     

    Oh well, I guess this answers the question of how Apple would deal with the iPod touch potentially outperforming the larger screened iOS devices -- they simply did not allow it to happen. Would have loved to see how the A8 could perform without the added overhead of the larger screen and higher resolution.

     

    But, with Apple now introducing an underclocked A8 variant, this now begs the question of whether an A8-powered 4" iPhone will appear this fall.




    Outperforming how?  Will it make phone calls on the iPhone seem slower?  99.9% of people will notice absolutely nothing or they couldn't care any less.  Once again, this will matter only to spec-heads.  

  • Reply 8 of 21
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NormM View Post

     



    Apple seems more willing to expand its product line lately, so maybe they'll keep a smaller phone available.

     

    I certainly agree about the sleep/wake button.  I don't know anyone who likes it where it is on the side.  It often makes me drop calls when I grab my ringing phone, and just turning the phone to landscape orientation I accidentally turn it off a lot.




    Doesn't bother me.

     

    The fact they put the A8, 802.11ac, and BT 4.1 tells me they don't plan to update this again for a long while, if ever.

  • Reply 9 of 21
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     



    Outperforming how?  Will it make phone calls on the iPhone seem slower?  99.9% of people will notice absolutely nothing or they couldn't care any less.  Once again, this will matter only to spec-heads.  




    Yes, SOC performance has nothing to do with game performance, which is totally not a large part of the marketed functionality of this device.

     

    Oh, wait...

  • Reply 10 of 21
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    apple ][ wrote: »
    Apple is still calling it "space grey", but that's clearly not the same as the space grey used in other devices. Maybe it's the same color, but it's clearly not the same shade. This space grey is a lot darker than the other space greys. I like the look of this darker space grey better than the lighter look.

    Is this the same shade of space gray they're using for the new MacBook and ?Watch? Perhaps this shade will come to new iPhones and iPads this fall.
  • Reply 11 of 21
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,432member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post

     

    Oh well, I guess this answers the question of how Apple would deal with the iPod touch potentially outperforming the larger screened iOS devices -- they simply did not allow it to happen. 


     

    You make it seem as if Apple down clocked it on purpose, so that it wouldn't be fully as powerful as the iPhone A8. I don't think that that's the case at all. It was downclocked, simply because that's what usually happens, when you put the same chip in different sized devices. That's why the iPad chip will usually be slightly higher clocked than the iPhone chip. And that's why it makes sense that an iPod Touch chip will be slightly under clocked compared to a chip for a larger and thicker iPhone.

     

    The iPod Touch is thinner, smaller and weighs a lot less than an iPhone. It seems pretty obvious that it would have to be clocked down.

  • Reply 12 of 21
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,432member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    Is this the same shade of space gray they're using for the new MacBook and ?Watch? Perhaps this shade will come to new iPhones and iPads this fall.



    That sounds reasonable. Apple seems to be consistent in their choices and changes, so maybe they are trending towards the darker space grey color and we'll be seeing more products and devices having that color in the near future.

  • Reply 13 of 21
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,285member

    Well since Bluetooth 4.1 is a software update, where is the 4.1 update for the REST of Apple Bluetooth 4.0 devices?!

  • Reply 14 of 21
    idreyidrey Posts: 640member
    No Touch ID?
  • Reply 15 of 21
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,874member
    Take this new ipod touch and put cellular,NFC and touch id/apple pay and you got iphone 6C or whatever you want to call.

    Now, I know why media rumoring that smaller iphone will come in 2016. Because in the same ipod touch casing, apple wants to shrink internal components down using 10nm fabrication and integrate A8, WiFi, Cellalr/LTE, NFC ( like Qualcomm snapdragon chip) into one chip so it fits all well into ipod touch casing. Mystery solved.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    mechanicmechanic Posts: 805member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

    Apple is still calling it "space grey", but that's clearly not the same as the space grey used in other devices. Maybe it's the same color, but it's clearly not the same shade. This space grey is a lot darker than the other space greys. I like the look of this darker space grey better than the lighter look.




    Looks exactly like my space grey ?Watch. Same shade of grey its darker.

  • Reply 17 of 21
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,414member

    " Any perceived loss in speed is likely more than made up for in power savings..."

    Interesting boast...

    'Cuz, gamers usually look to trade speed for battery life, right?

  • Reply 18 of 21
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,458member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post

     

    Oh well, I guess this answers the question of how Apple would deal with the iPod touch potentially outperforming the larger screened iOS devices -- they simply did not allow it to happen. Would have loved to see how the A8 could perform without the added overhead of the larger screen and higher resolution.

     

    But, with Apple now introducing an underclocked A8 variant, this now begs the question of whether an A8-powered 4" iPhone will appear this fall.


     

    They can always clock it at full speed at some point in the future as well.

  • Reply 19 of 21
    hillstoneshillstones Posts: 1,490member

    Interesting result with my iPod touch 128GB.  Geekbench is outdated since it does not recognize the new A8 CPU, which may explain why the multi-core was lower.  Not sure how they report 2,440 in the article, and a slightly higher score for single core too.

     

  • Reply 20 of 21
    hillstoneshillstones Posts: 1,490member

    Rebooting the iPod always fixes everything.  Ran the test again after a fresh reboot and the new score is close to the results found in the article.

     

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