Ahead of WWDC, Apple dropped the 4th-generation iPod Touch from their lineup and replaced it with a slimmed down $229 iPod Touch. To achieve this lower price, they made a big sacrifice: no rear-facing camera.
Most surprising to me is that this change comes just weeks after the iPhone’s Photos Every Day commercial, one of the most beautiful ad campaigns Apple has ever run. Removing the camera from the iPod Touch transforms it from a peer of the iPhone, capable of the same kind of photos and videos, to nothing more than a game and internet device. It is the only shipping iOS device that can’t be used as a traditional camera.
As we know, people frequently use even the iPad as a camera, holding it up to take pictures at concerts, their kid’s basketball game, and at any family gathering. When all you have is a cheap phone, you absolutely want to use the iPad as a camera, because it means you can sync and share the photos.
My daughters have the older, smaller-screen iPod Touch and frequently use the camera with friends. Instagram, in fact, has become very popular with teens and pre-teens. Can you imagine how great it would be to have grown up in the 1980s, for example, with the ability to take essentially unlimited photos? Angry Birds may have taken the mobile spotlight when iOS went mainstream, but in a dozen years when these games are just a fun memory, we’ll still have some of the JPEGs, first-hand accounts of life in middle school.
I’m sure dropping the rear camera was a very tough decision for Apple, especially thinking about wanting more memory and speed to run iOS 7. But I’d rather have no FaceTime, slower CPU, less memory, and only 8 GB of storage any day of the week if it meant I could take photos. The rear camera is priceless.