In Defense? Of the iPod touch

5/16/22: Well, I guess Apple didn’t see things the same way, because they actually killed off the iPod touch entirely, and with it, the last remaining product to bear the iPod name. Sad day, indeed. I still vehemently disagree with the person who wrote the article I respond to, especially their views on streaming and socializing music, but I felt it important to note that yes, the iPod is kill. RIP.

It’s not terribly often that an article gets written that knows just…what buttons to push to just make me irrationally irate about it, but an article on XDA managed to do just that. (Honestly, this article is so bad I don’t want to drive traffic to it. If you wish to look it up of your own volition, however…it’s called “The iPod is a relic of an era gone by, and Apple should put it out of its misery”)

Before I launch into the bits that did make me irate, I do agree with some bits presented in the article, namely that the iPod touch really is Apple’s red-headed stepchild and maybe should be given more attention. That much I agree with. As of right now it’s still using the A10 Fusion, which is an SoC that debuted with the iPhone 7. That SoC is turning six years old this year. Yes, Apple’s SoCs tend to age very gracefully, but given the price point of the touch compared to say, an SE2? It starts to look a tad silly.

That said, let’s tackle the other points:

What is that, Apple, and what is it doing on a device released in 2019? We haven’t seen the Touch ID-less Home Button on an iPhone
since 2013. Six years later, the Cupertino tech giant decided that it
is still acceptable to include it on an iPod. We’re not asking for Face
ID on the iPod lineup — considering it’s not a high-end device. However,
Touch ID is the bare minimum in this day and age.

This is a common trend in this article: I feel like the author is not thinking about the audience this device is intended for. Touch ID would be absolutely awesome on an iPod! However, that’s me thinking with my adult brain. The iPod arguably sees a lot of use with children and teenagers, and that segment of the market tends to be way harder on their devices. Also, arguably, that section of the market isn’t going to be as concerned with Touch ID being missing.

No Touch ID means repairs are also way simpler: You don’t need to worry about pairing the home button to the logic board, so if someone absolutely screws the home button/it breaks/etc, you’re not up the creek without a paddle. You can fix it yourself.

Again, given the intended market for this device, that to me seems more important than getting Touch ID onto the iPod.

The list of unexciting technical specifications goes on, including but not limited to:

  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 4-inch display
  • 1136-by-640 resolution
  • 1.2MP front camera
  • Really thick bezels

Again; the author is forgetting who this device is for. It isn’t for the avid spec sheet inspector nor is it for the device enthusiast. The target market for this device do not give a single iota about the specifications. The only reason I made a point to call out the A10 in the beginning is only for futureproofing. The A10 is coming up on 7 years, and that’s when Apple begins to get iffy as to if you’re going to get the next iOS update. Giving it an A12 would ensure it would see updates for at least the next few years. That’s literally the only reason I called it out.

Kids aren’t going to give a whit about the resolution, the bezels, or what Bluetooth version it’s running. Nor is the music listener buying this for a headphone jack. They just want this thing to run their apps, play their music, and that’s it. If it runs the basics (and it does) and works fine with BT headphones (it does), no one and I mean no one buying the touch is going to lose sleep over it being “only” BT 4.1. Sheesh.

The iPod Touch is pretty much a low-end, 4-inch iPhone that lacks
cellular capabilities. So… why buy an iPod Touch when you could just buy an iPhone SE and use it without a SIM card?

 Author forgetting who device is intended for count: 3

For the people who do care about the specs, yes, an SE2 is going to arguably be a much better purchase. But again: The people buying the touch aren’t buying it for the specs! Not sure how many times this has to be said.

Also: The SE doesn’t have a headphone jack. So, again, if you’re buying the touch to get your inbuilt headphone jack, the SE does squat for you.

The touch is also metal-backed, so durability also enters the equation here as well. The touch isn’t like dropping a piece of toast that’s buttered on both sides like the iPhones are.

Lastly, if you’re buying a kid/teenager a gift, you can rest easy buying a touch and know that the phone isn’t going to, say, pester them to sign up for cellular service, or beg them to slip in a SIM card to activate. Dumb simple and nothing to worry about.

That’s why Apple should kill the iPod already and fully focus on iOS (iPhoneOS?) and the iPhone itself.

No, if anything Apple should be keeping on top of the touch a bit more and keeping it somewhat in line with the SE, maybe a step or two behind. The touch has its place among kids/teens/people who want a headphone jack.

(Or Apple could price drop it more, that’d be cool too.)

 iPods are going extinct, and for very valid reasons. What once used to
be trendy has now become an outdated mark of shame. That’s because using
an iPod today doesn’t make sense — considering the other product
options people have.

Oh, sod off with that thinking, bud. Mark of shame? If you don’t like the device, whatever. But don’t come over into their camp and tell them that they’re wrong and that they should feel shameful about still using their iPods. There’s some appeal to using a device that is specifically made for a purpose, and iPods are awesome for that. As DankPods said in a video of his: with iPods, you decide when the music stops. Not some notification, or a phone call, or a text message. You. You are in control.

This might sound unusual, but has it occurred to you that the iPad is arguably the iPod’s biggest rival today? If you’re wondering why, the entry-level iPad costs only $120 more and has:

…what the absolute heck? Has the author lost their minds? The iPad and iPod touch are two wildly different devices! One goes in your pocket and can either be a mobile gaming device or a dedicated audio player, and the other can be a full fledged computer for some people. You can’t stick an iPad in your pocket and you can’t just take it with you like you can an iPod.

Jiminy. The only thing alike with the two is that they run the same OS and same apps. The form factors are worlds apart.

 Remember the tiny iPod Shuffle? It’s compact, handy, and gets the job
done. So maybe Apple shouldn’t kill the iPod product lineup after all,
right? Except that there is a new “iPod Shuffle” in town — it’s called
the Apple Watch, and it lives on your wrist.

I’m really starting to wonder what planet the author lives on, because the Apple Watch may do some things the iPod can, but an iPod it is not and never will be. 

Yes, you can store music on it. But:

  • That requires Bluetooth. No wired options at all.
  • The battery life when using the watch solely for this is horrid.

In addition to that, the Watch requires being paired to an iPhone. You can’t just buy one and use it as an independent device, the Watch was never intended for that. Yet another case where the author seems to forget what the touch actually is and what it is meant for. (And forgetting how the Watch is supposed to work.)

The trend I’m seeing here is the author is looking at this from the perspective of a spec sheet nitpicker who already owns a good phone and is–for some ungodly reason–looking at buying an iPod touch for no good reason whatsoever. When looking at a product like the touch, it’s prudent to put yourself in others’ shoes. You may not see the point in a touch, but when you look at it from the eyes of a teenager, or the eyes of a parent looking to buy their teen a tech gadget? Suddenly things make a lot more sense.

…then the author goes right for the jugular:

Storing Streaming is today’s cool

When the iPod was still a fresh product, storing music was the norm
(rather than streaming it). Today, I know very few people who still buy
their own music and sync them manually to their iPods/iPhones. Most of
the users in my social circle have switched to streaming services. And
that’s understandable because it’s just a small fee that gives you
access to all of the old and newly-released music. Better yet, your data
is stored in the cloud, so you won’t need to copy any playlists, files,
or preferences when moving to a new device. It’s just so much more
convenient and seamless.

As you may be able to tell, I have Feelings about these words.

I used to do streaming. It was fun. Until my favorite artist did a label change and their entire catalogue was unavailable for months. Then there were the new releases on singles that would get delisted the minute the full album released, and of course the song wouldn’t be retained, they’d just outright nuke it from your library.

You also have shenanigans like Spotify completely ruining their UI to pander to podcasts, uprooting peoples’ libraries overnight and making people think they lost their music libraries. (What Spotify did was changed the way the library worked: A song being in your liked playlist no longer adds it to your library. You have to like the song, the album the song is on, an the artist themselves for those sections to populate in your library. It’s absurd.)

Let’s not forget the Neil Young situation, too! (Not even touching the political part of that in this piece, but the fact that an artist can just up and pull themselves from services like that? When you pay for streaming, your access to that music is always fleeting and could be lost at any time.) 

I’m going to let the author round out their scathing hot takes before going further:

Anti-Social Relic

When you buy and sync your own music, you just listen in your own
world. And that was how mostly everyone enjoyed music back in the day.
However, this is changing now. Listening to music has become a social
activity in many ways. People share their listening activities, public
playlists, and top artists on streaming services.

While these features are supported on the iPod Touch 7, the iPod as a
branding is associated with music purchasing, manual syncing, and
offline listening. In a lot of ways, it was music in an anti-social
format. Times are changing, and the branding hasn’t really kept up and
evolved even if the product has.

 Good god.

1. Music can be social, sure. But some of us choose to keep it to ourselves as it’s a very. very personal thing. We shouldn’t be required by anyone to keep it social, and the author trying to FOMO the reader into just rolling with the way things are these days really really cheeses me off. If you want to do collab playlists and all that, cool! That’s your thing. But sod off and leave those who prefer to keep their music to themselves alone.

2. This notion that people who want to retain ownership over their music and not sign control over their library to streaming services and labels are somehow “old” and “behind the times”? Oh please, sod off. When it comes down to it, people have their preferences. Some prefer to let the labels take the wheel. Some prefer to put in the work to curate their libraries themselves and not have to worry about a monthly fee for it all or worrying about that music disappearing on a whim in someone gets their knickers in a twist. Whatever you prefer is fine, but trying to–again–invoke FOMO on people who prefer to do it a way different to you is bullshit.


Really, this whole article can be summed up as the author not really bothering to put themselves on the other side of the fence and look at this whole thing from another point of view. They apply the typical enthusiast viewpoint toward a device not meant for them, and then punch down on people who don’t blindly follow the onward march of technology.

iPods still have appeal in 2022 and beyond, arguably, but the author doesn’t think about any use cases but their own. Just because they’re a niche device doesn’t mean we should all throw them into the trash bin and accept our streaming saviors and ask them to save us from this supposed horrible past.

And, as I was told during my time at the Alameda County Computer Recycling Center: “Obsolescence is just a lack of imagination.”