The first iPod played a big role in the evolution of digital music. While other portable media players were available, the iPod and iTunes made carrying, synching and managing large digital music libraries just that much easier.
Needless to say, being able to carry around an improbable amount of music in your pocket or purse gained even more momentum thanks to Apples marketing muscle and the thriving ecosystem that sprang up around the iPod. Before long, white earbuds were everywhere.
There have since been numerous iPod revisions and the iPod has evolved to the point where it’s almost unrecognisable to owners of the original. Now Apple has launched their latest refresh. Here are my first impressions.
Why an iPod?
Specs-wise, the new iPod is largely on a par with the iPhone 6 (that is with the exception of any phone bits). Looks-wise the 6th gen iPod will be familiar to existing owners of an iPod touch. The key difference is that its all aluminium body has been slimmed down to a mere 6.1 mm, making it highly pocketable.
Nowadays most people own smartphones, and these usually pack better cameras and larger screens. As most smartphones usually do double duty as portable media players, you’d also be forgiven for thinking the need for an iPod is becoming increasingly questionable.
This iPod is, however, ideal for anyone plugged into the Android/Windows Phone ecosystem but want to dip their toes into Apples rich world of apps and content.
iPods are also ideal for kids that you don’t want clocking up mobile data bills, and they also make great handheld games machines. The IOS Sonos app combined with the 6th gen iPods solid battery life makes it the ideal Sonos remote.
Look and feel
The 6th generation iPod is both thin and light. My first impression was that it seemed crazily small compared to an iPhone 6. A smaller 4” screen, the lack of any cellular capabilities and the fact that it uses a smaller battery mean that it is considerably less bulky. The iPod feels incredibly light, weighing only 88 grams. This combined with its svelte form factor makes it highly pocketable.
The build quality is excellent - as you’d expect from Apple. My only gripe is that Apple has done away with the little doodad that made attaching a lanyard so easy.
Under the hood
The 6th generation iPod felt zippy in use. This is probably due to the inclusion of an A8-64-bit dual core CPU, which is the same as used in the iPhone 6 (this said, the iPod’s A8 clocks in at 1.1 GHz instead of 1.4 GHz).
The camera has also received an upgrade, with the rear shooter now sporting an 8mp sensor (with an F2.4 aperture). Likewise, the iPod’s front camera has been bumped up to 1.2mp. About the only difference to an iPhone 6 is the lack of an LED flash.
With 1GB of RAM the iPod comes in 16 GB, 32 GB, 64GB, 128GB storage flavours, which is plenty for media hogs with a podcast habit.
Its battery is also smaller than that of the iPhone 6 at 1,043 mAh compared to the 1,810 mAh used in the iPhone 6. Apple says this should deliver around eight hours of video and approximately 40 hours of music. In use I found this to be the case, with charges needed every second or third day, depending on how I was using it.
The 6th generation iPod is a solid iPod upgrade. It needs to be as it faces some pretty stiff competition from smartphones, many of which can be bought for less whilst offering more.
This said, as a Wi-Fi portable media widget it also does a cracking job, with the huge amount of games available in Apples app store. Paired with a solid set of headphones, it’s a great device for music on the move.