Apple has gone back to where it all began – the iPod – and made improvements to the range with major upgrades for the iPod touch, iPod Nano and a slight refresh for the iPod Shuffle. And, while it’s at it, iTunes is also getting a new, more simplified look.
All-new, all-colourful iPod touch
Let’s start with the new iPod touch, which now comes with a 4-inch Retina display, mimicking its smartphone cousin, the iPhone 5. Though it doesn’t pack an A6 processor, the iPod touch has been upgraded to a dual-core A5 chip, which is a marked boost to its performance with twice the processing power and graphics up to seven times faster than the fourth generation.
The thinnest ever iPod touch, the new device is just 6mm thick and weighs 88g. It runs the latest iOS 6 and, which gives users Siri, built-in Facebook integration, shared photo streams via iCloud, and other key iOS features, like iMessage, FaceTime, Mail and Game Center.
The new iPod touch can also wirelessly stream content to a user’s TV using AirPlay mirroring, while its battery performance has increased to up to 40 hours of music playback.
The iPod touch has also been fitted with a 5MP iSight camera with autofocus, support for 1080p HD video recording with video image stabilisation, face detection, a LED flash and the same panorama feature that comes with the iPhone 5. With its boosted imaging capabilities, the device could now be a handy substitute for a compact camera, which is why a small pop-out button has been added to the back to attach a wrist-strap.
Finally, one of the most notable changes to the iPod touch will resonate on a superficial level as the once black-and-white-only device now comes in a range of colours – pink, yellow, blue, white and silver, black and slate – each with a wrist-strap to match.
Seventh-generation iPod Nano
Apple’s new devices continue their weight-loss programme with the new iPod Nano, the thinnest iPod ever at 5mm thick. The new design sees the media player return to its elongated form with a 2.5-inch multi-touch display, the largest ever for an iPod Nano.
A home button has been added to make navigation easier and the new Nano comes with an in-built pedometer and support for Nike+ out of the box. It also comes with built-in Bluetooth and offers up to 30 hours of music playback.
There are seven new colours to choose from (pink, yellow, blue, green, purple, silver and slate) with colour-matched wallpapers. The iPod Shuffle will also come in these new colours, which will be the only update to this range.
Lightning connectors and Apple’s new EarPods
Both the new iPod touch and iPod Nano come with the new Lightning connector as Apple drops the 30-pin dock connector on all new devices.
Apple has also developed a new design for earphones dubbed EarPods, which it claims have a more natural fit for all shapes and sizes of ear, as well as increased durability and improved audio.
While updating its music devices, Apple has also decided to refresh its music service and iTunes has been given a bit of a makeover. The simpler, cleaner interface features an edge-to-edge layout and an expandable album view that lets you view the track listings of an album while continuing to browse your music library.
An added Up Next feature shows what songs are in a queue and lets users make additions that jump to the top of the list. Users can also now continue browsing the iTunes Store while listening to full 90-second song previews.
The iTunes Mini Player has also been redesigned to make this small toolbar easier to use, allowing users to skip and search without having to open their full library.
There’s also iCloud integration, which not only lets users access their iTunes content from all manner of iOS devices, but also remembers where they were when they last tuned into a movie and restarts from there, even if they switch to a different device.
The new iTunes will be available as a free download in October.