The iPod Touch is back and, just like when AirPods came out, we have a lot of questions. While some of those questions are easily answered (like yes, there is a headphone jack again and no, my carefully-curated ninth-grade playlist does not still exist), others are a little more tricky. Like whether or not the standalone music player, which is already available for sale, is really worth adding to your cart.
The short answer? Maybe. The long answer? We dove into that with the expertise of our Exec Editor TJ Donegan. “The new iPod’s value lies in the options it gives people, particularly parents,” he explains. “It will never be—and wasn’t meant to be—Apple’s flagship product again but it’s a good fill-in-the-blank.” Here’s why...
How does the new iPod Touch compare to the previous one?
Apple’s latest release may look just like the 2015 iPod touch (same four-inch screen, same home button) but as the old adage goes, don’t judge a book—or rather, an iPod—by its cover. The new iPod Touch is equipped with an A10 processing chip, making it the equivalent of an iPhone 7 (minus the cellular capabilities) and much more powerful than the previous iPod’s A8 chip.
The result is sharper graphics, more storage space and augmented reality support… all the better for listening to music, yes, but also for gaming. And with WiFi connectivity, the new iPod also offers other popular iPhone programs like FaceTime, iMessage and the App Store.
So why would you get an iPod in addition to an iPhone?
If you’re like most people (including us), you’re likely wondering why anyone would opt for what’s essentially an iPhone-lite instead of the iPhone itself. The obvious answer is the price: the iPod Touch is just $199 for the 32GB model compared to its iPhone 7 counterpart which starts upwards of $449.
And for parents, that affordable price tag makes the iPod a much cheaper—and more controlled—alternative to handing your little one a brand new iPhone. And it will keep both you and your child happy: They’ll get to do all of the iPhone things they love (like play Fortnite and listen to “Baby Shark” for hours on end) while you’ll avoid hefty data fees. Win-win.
If you DO want both, is it even worth the money?
It doesn’t make sense to have an iPod Touch and an iPhone. But given the steep cost of phones—and more specifically phone plans—these days, opting for an iPod Touch plus a cheaper phone (like a pay-as-you-go model) could cut costs.
And as for which model is the best value ($199 for 32GB, $299 for 128GB, or $399 for 256GB), Donegan recommends the 32GB version for most people. “Unless you need to store a ton of music you’re way better off buying the cheapest option,” he says. “For day-to-day activities and apps, you really don’t need more storage than that.”
Who is an iPod Touch actually good for?
If you’re an adult who has an iPhone already, you can probably pass on this one—unless for some reason you want a separate device for working out or traveling or if you want a singular device to use as a universal remote for your smart home.
However, if you’re a parent looking to save money on your phone bill or keep closer tabs on your child’s tech use, the new iPod Touch offers you just that.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.