Tag Archives: ipodtouch

4-inch iPhone rumors

In the spirit of replying to podcast topics with blog posts, I have some comments after listening to a recent Clockwise. It was another great episode, featuring hosts Jason Snell and Dan Moren, and guests Christina Warren and Susie Ochs.

The panel was split on the likelihood of a new 4-inch iPhone from Apple. Apple is a company of patterns, so it seems counterintuitive that they’d release a new phone in the Winter or Spring instead of the Fall. But doing so has a couple of nice advantages: first, you can bump up an otherwise slow sales quarter with a new product; and second, you don’t hurt sales of the primary iPhones (the 6S and 6S Plus) by confusing buyers with another choice. Customers perfectly happy with their iPhone 6 from last year, and who were planning on buying a 6S as a natural upgrade, now would be faced with an unexpected choice in screen size if the 4-inch phone had been announced alongside the 6S.

Everyone also seems to forget about the newest 4-inch iPod Touch. It went on sale in July, features an A8 processor, better camera than the iPhone 5S, and sells for only $199. It’s easy to imagine Apple basing a new 4-inch iPhone on this design, reusing both the screen and many of the internal components from the iPod Touch.

Apple has sold a lot of iPhone 6 and 6S phones. But there are also a lot of 4-inch devices out in the world: of course the iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S, but also every iPod Touch sold in the last few years. There are many people who would love to replace their old phone with a new one that’s better and faster, but not bigger.

The $229, camera-less iPod Touch

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.