Editorial: If you can't see a market for the new iPod touch, you aren't looking very hard

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited May 29
The newly updated iPod touch isn't for everyone. But if you think that there's no market for it, and Apple is somehow doomed to fail, you lack imagination and an understanding of Apple's overall market.

2019 iPod touch
2019 iPod touch


It didn't take long after Apple launched the 2019 iPod touch for the complaints to begin. We've seen countless comments along the lines of "no one asked for this" and "Apple should focus on other stuff than the dead iPod."

Somehow, people are under the misconceived notion that because they aren't interested in the iPod touch there is no market for it. If you can't figure out who will buy the new iPod touch, you aren't being thoughtful enough.

There are several key demographics that have continued to buy the iPod touch with gusto, even lacking an update in four years. And, these same markets will undoubtedly jump on the upgraded model and won't mind the few aspects that aren't flashy such as the 1080P camera or the A10 processor first found in the iPhone 7.

Obviously, youth

Possibly the largest, and most understandable market, for the iPod touch, is children. Kids, especially young ones, don't need an iPhone or its cellular capabilities and parents are understandably not excited about giving their toddler theirs to play with.

2019 iPod touch is great for Apple Arcade
2019 iPod touch is great for Apple Arcade


A quick perusal of Apple's own iPod touch microsite gives a good picture of Apple's strategy here. The site is quick to promote not only how much quicker the A10 is but what it will allow you to do. It will now support ARKit and augmented reality games that kids and teens embrace, as well as Group FaceTime.

Apple also touts the upcoming Apple Arcade which will allow access to several exclusive games for a monthly fee. The new iPod touch is a very clear, inexpensive delivery device for that service. Parents will love being able to shell out only a few bucks a month rather than get raked over the coals by relentless in-app purchases from freemium titles.

It isn't just about younger kids getting to play games on their iPod, there is also a wealth of educational content that they miss out on. Load it up with favorite videos before a road trip, or tether it to your iPhone to maintain sanity and still allow YouTube Kids content.

Some may balk at spending $199 on a "kids toy" but for the educational and entertainment value alone many see it as worth it. With Screen Time parental controls built in, that will be getting more robust with iOS 13, it allows kids to have ownership of the device but still give parents the power to monitor what they are doing.

There used to be many people who would opt to just pass down their old iPhone to their younglings, but that time is quickly fading away. Across the mobile market, customers are keeping devices for longer. Apple and other retailers are also heavily promoting trade-ins as a way to help lower the barrier of entry to purchasing a new iPhone.

With iPhones worth more and lasting longer, giving it to your child no longer makes as much sense.

Don't forget the enterprise market

The enterprise market is also ripe with mass iPod touch customers. The low-cost device is perfect for several scenarios throughout the enterprise workforce.

Restaurants and retail are able to take advantage of the device for easy POS systems going table-side or as mobile checkout systems. They are far cheaper than iPhones and easier to replace should one be damaged in the course of the workday.






They are also great devices for data entry or QR/barcode scanning -- none of which requires an iPhone or a high-end built-in camera. Airlines, hotels, and other customer-centric businesses can and do utilize the devices for customer check-in as well, often using that code scanning.

The smart home

If you have a HomeKit home, you may be interested in picking up an iPod touch as an affordable smart home controller. A whole-home iPod can be used to control your TV and Apple TV, the lights, thermostat, and much more. It also doesn't require any authentication for the whole family to use and is cheaper than something like a whole-family iPad.

There are apps on the market such as Home Dash that create beautiful home dashboard to view all of your rooms, see their status, and control any accessories.

By having an always accessible device anyone can use, it makes it easy for guests, kids, and others to control any non-physical smart home accessories.

A dedicated music player

This is often where the conversation about the iPod touch starts and stops, for whatever the reason. There are still large amounts of people out there still hanging on to their iPod Classics or paying exorbitant fees for 64GB iPods just to have a dedicated music player.

As this is Apple's lone iPod, the touch is the only recourse for people who want to buy something new or don't want to drop even more cash on an outdated iPod.

The new iPod touch is a perfect dedicated music player
The new iPod touch is a perfect dedicated music player


By sticking with what is important -- a processor bump to support future iOS versions and added storage for music streaming -- audiophiles can download hundreds of gigabytes of tunes for offline streaming without having to rely on their primary iPhone.

Developers

This is a bit of a "chicken or the egg" scenario, but there are also developers. Apple loves to tout the wide array of devs that create content for the App Store. While big-name players often garner much of the attention the majority of devs are smaller shops.

To develop on the App Store, Apple provides a simulator that can run on a Mac, but it isn't always representative of having the device in real life. It is also hard to test things like games, augmented reality apps, or others that benefit from holding the device in your hand rather than just dealing with text entry.

Without the iPod touch, developers would have to fork over large amounts of their income for an additional iPhone to test on. Older devices can be purchased for less than new iPhones but it still would cost more and be older than the brand new iPod touch.

Keeping the iPod touch is yet another way Apple can help out developers who have remained steadfast in their support of Apple's platform.

What it is, not what it isn't.

Apple's 2019 iPod touch may not have a huge external overhaul. It didn't add edge-to-edge screens, nor 4K video recording. It doesn't have the latest A12 processor. And, there's more things that it doesn't have that your iPhone XR does for four times the retail price.

But looking through the extensive list of niche markets that have been snapping up the iPod touch this entire time, it's clear that those specs don't necessarily matter. This wasn't a misstep by Apple -- it was a carefully thought out one to keep the price low and deliver for the customers that want a new affordable iPod touch.

It may not be what you need -- and that's fine. Don't confuse that to mean that the iPod touch is something that nobody wants.
lolliver
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 735member
    Bloody well right. 
    Not everyone wants an iPod Touch.
    Not everyone wants a Mac Mini or a Mac Pro or a 6.5 inch iPhone either.
    But there is a market for them and there is a market for the iPod Touch. 
    And weren't people saying a few years ago that Apple had to diversify? To get away from relying on the iPhone for 3/4 of their income. well here you go. A device that will help re-balance the spreadsheet a bit. 
    edited May 29 StrangeDaysracerhomie3mike1dewmecharlesgresbb-15pscooter63lollivergodofbiscuitsAppleExposed
  • Reply 2 of 46
    sully54sully54 Posts: 85member
    This is going to be huge with Apple Arcade and preteens. 
    [Deleted User]
  • Reply 3 of 46
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,194member
    Is there a reason it doesn’t have an A11 or A12 chip?
    DanManTXchemengin1
  • Reply 4 of 46
    harry wildharry wild Posts: 581member
    I will buy new iPod with an A12 inside it but the A10 is 3 years old, going on 4 years in September! Only a fool would buy this dated components inside the iPod.
    DanManTXrogifan_newpscooter63chemengin1
  • Reply 5 of 46
    luxuriantluxuriant Posts: 25member
    Related to the smarthome use case, iPod Touch makes a great remote control for Sonos speakers. And Apple TV, come to that. (Sonos users should take a look at the SonoPhone app as an alternative to Sonos's annoyingly-frequently-updated-for-no-apparent-reason first-party app.)
  • Reply 6 of 46
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 669member
    Trying to be everything to more people by diversifying.  For every person saying "no one wants a cheap warmed over ipod" there is someone saying "I just want something that runs current iOS and isn't a thousand bucks".  

    If you want to kill your company then do one thing that is easily imitated (no matter how poorly) and hope for the best.  Besides, cheap devices for kids get kids used to the Apple ecosystem.  Hook em young, like big tobacco did.  :wink: 
    StrangeDaysttollertonmacky the mackypscooter63
  • Reply 7 of 46
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 829member
    I will buy new iPod with an A12 inside it but the A10 is 3 years old, going on 4 years in September! Only a fool would buy this dated components inside the iPod.

    Please explain why the A10 wouldn't be able to power small device like this for years to come?

    "3 years old, going on 4 years in September!"

    It will be 3 years old in September actually...  It was introduced with the iPhone 7 and 7Plus Sept 7 2016.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A10
    StrangeDaysbb-15lolliver[Deleted User]
  • Reply 8 of 46
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,019member
    Why such a defensive standpoint?
    chemengin1
  • Reply 9 of 46
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,535member

    I love the opening of this article!
    Somehow, people are under the misconceived notion that because they aren't interested in the iPod touch there is no market for it. If you can't figure out who will buy the new iPod touch, you aren't being thoughtful enough.
    The internet crowd definitely needs a good whack across the attitude to get it back in check, indeed. Thanks for the parenting!

    I agree that the new iPod touch is disappointing in that it has zero design changes, which translates into zero effort on Apple's part. That somehow Apple is just recycling old designs in the name of making money. But with a huge market of iPod touch cases and screen protectors, one could say that Apple is being responsible by continuing the same form factor. It's not like the design is lacking in anything. It's perfectly functional and still the best non-phone, non-tablet media device available on the market.

    I have no qualms with Apple sticking with a proven design. And I'm thankful that they *finally* updated the device so they're not selling 4-year old technology at the same price. But in the same token, as you dig deeper into that, they also kept older technology, like no Bluetooth 5 support. That's questionable.

    All in all, there's going to be a lot of happy customers of the updated iPod touch. That, we know.
    edited May 29 [Deleted User]chemengin1
  • Reply 10 of 46
    It is interesting they went with an A10 rather than an A11. Seems like maybe they don't like the A11. The budget iPad should really have got one this year as well. The only downside I can see to this products existence is for developers. It has added to the number of years they need to provide support for 4" screens.
  • Reply 11 of 46
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,598member
    Is there a reason it doesn’t have an A11 or A12 chip?
    Probably. 

    (what do you expect for an answer? nobody here works in Apple engineering)
    bb-15pscooter63
  • Reply 12 of 46
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,598member
    crowley said:
    Why such a defensive standpoint?
    Why the defensive of defensive standpoint? Some of you are so sensitive to DED and the non-doomed perspective, it’s genuinely peculiar.  
    bb-15pscooter63[Deleted User]
  • Reply 13 of 46
    baederboybaederboy Posts: 23member
    It has A10 because architecturally and cost wise that must be the sweet spot. Yes, A11 and A12 are better still in terms of speed, etc. But architecturally by A10 there is already multiple-cores (especially, including different ones for high performance or better efficiency) and it has decent graphics (A10X is good enough for 4K AppleTV) and some basic AI capabilities for machine learning and AR (although no neural engine?). So probably the best bang for the buck for a "new" lower end model. Probably faster than 80% of the Android models released out on the market this year (all the non-flagships, like Pixel 3a). With iPad and iPod apple does have mid-tier products that are "new". And for iPhone it will just keep selling the iPhone 7 / 7+ to satisfy the mid-tier with A10. Isn't this exactly what Apple should be doing to diversify?
    edited May 29 bb-15decoderringairnerd[Deleted User]
  • Reply 14 of 46
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,598member

    I love the opening of this article!
    Somehow, people are under the misconceived notion that because they aren't interested in the iPod touch there is no market for it. If you can't figure out who will buy the new iPod touch, you aren't being thoughtful enough.
    The internet crowd definitely needs a good whack across the attitude to get it back in check, indeed. Thanks for the parenting!

    I agree that the new iPod touch is disappointing in that it has zero design changes, which translates into zero effort on Apple's part. That somehow Apple is just recycling old designs in the name of making money. But with a huge market of iPod touch cases and screen protectors, one could say that Apple is being responsible by continuing the same form factor. It's not like the design is lacking in anything. It's perfectly functional and still the best non-phone, non-tablet media device available on the market.

    I have no qualms with Apple sticking with a proven design. And I'm thankful that they *finally* updated the device so they're not selling 4-year old technology at the same price. But in the same token, as you dig deeper into that, they also kept older technology, like no Bluetooth 5 support. That's questionable.

    All in all, there's going to be a lot of happy customers of the updated iPod touch. That, we know.
    Gah, why does my Crosstrek still look like a Crosstrek after all these years! Subaru is so lazy!

    Nope. They don’t do change for change’s sake. They’ve spoken to this point publicly, yet the perpetually bored still don’t get it. 
    roundaboutnowbb-15
  • Reply 15 of 46
    Not looking hard? I wasn’t looking at all.
    chemengin1
  • Reply 16 of 46
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 458member
    If you do not want your kid to have a cell phone but want them to be able to make calls, these are perfect. Set up an account for them with FaceTime for just the people you want to allow them contact with and they can call them anywhere they have WiFi. 

    A market Apple has ignored that could be well served by the iPod Touch is the enterprise VoIP phone market. My hospital pays an arm and a leg for Spectraphones which look like a big candy bar phone and run on an isolated WiFi network on campus. Seems to me Apple could make a version of the Touch for enterprise that includes a microphone located like an iPhone and sell them.
    [Deleted User]
  • Reply 17 of 46
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 283member
    To release an A10 device as new implies that the A10 will be further supported. It does seem to be fringe technology compared to A11 and A12. One can only wonder.

    chemengin1
  • Reply 18 of 46
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,702member
    I don't understand why people expect a design update for the sake of doing it.  What's wrong with how it looks now?  So it uses the same design?  So what?  It's actually an elegant, efficient design.  So that means iPod touch accessories will still work on this.  If Apple updated the design, just as many people would then complain about having to buy new cases, etc..

    I always loved these touches, and I'm glad that Apple is continuing to release new ones.  

    If it were up to me, I'd love to see an iPhone4 design re-released.
    bb-152old4funpscooter63[Deleted User]
  • Reply 19 of 46
    RhythmagicRhythmagic Posts: 43unconfirmed, member
    A brilliant device. I’m happy with the devices i already use. Thank you. The new iPod touch is totally worth it for those searching for new apple gear. If i were to make a purchase for myself, family or friends... i’d totally go with the (Product) Red 256 GB of Storage with apple care. 
    bb-152old4fun
  • Reply 20 of 46
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,194member
    jcs2305 said:
    I will buy new iPod with an A12 inside it but the A10 is 3 years old, going on 4 years in September! Only a fool would buy this dated components inside the iPod.

    Please explain why the A10 wouldn't be able to power small device like this for years to come?

    "3 years old, going on 4 years in September!"

    It will be 3 years old in September actually...  It was introduced with the iPhone 7 and 7Plus Sept 7 2016.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A10
    So Apple is going to support A10 devices with iOS updates for years to come?
    chemengin1
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