Monday January 27, 2014 3:17 pm PST by Richard Padilla
During the company's earnings conference call today, Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on the state of the iPod, noting that the product is a declining category for the company:
The way we look at it, our business is a sell-through point of view less iPod -- all of us have known for some time that iPod is a declining business.
The iPod was Apple's "halo" product for years, getting new customers to buy Apple products for the first time. Since their peak in 2008, however, iPod sales have seen a fairly steady decline as the iPhone and iPad have captured more of the market that the iPod occupied previously.
Apple's last change to the the iPod line came with the debut of a new Space Gray color option for the iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle at its September 2013 iPhone event. However, Apple has not updated the iPod classic in over four years, with that device more likely to be discontinued rather than refreshed.
Apple's iPod lineup has not seen much in the way of updates recently, with a September refresh seeing only a slight change to color offerings for the iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle with the previous slate color option being replaced with a new space gray option carried over from iPhone 5s. The new color later made its way to the iPad Air and iPad mini as well. Given that Apple typically updates its iPods in the fall each year, new iPods are not expected until late next year.
The AirPort line of Wi-Fi base stations is currently divided, with the larger AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule models having been updated in June with new designs and support for the latest 802.11ac networking standard. The AirPort Express has not been updated to support 802.11ac and was last updated in June 2012 when it received an Apple TV-like redesign.
As with our previous roundups, the goal of our iPod and AirPort roundups is to simply answer the question of "What are you expecting" for Apple's future products at any given time. That opinion evolves over time as new rumors surface, and our roundups will be updated regularly to reflect the latest rumors.
All of our roundups remain accessible through a dedicated index page showing a time-ordered list based on the last date each roundup was updated, as well as directly through the "Roundups" tab in the navigation bar on all MacRumors pages.
Staples sales associates also received training for Mac sales earlier this year, although those products have yet to be launched by the retailer.
Expanded availability of its products through Staples offers Apple not only additional visibility and convenience for customers shopping for themselves, but also new options for businesses that may already do significant business with the office supply chain, making it easier to include Apple product purchases under existing billing arrangements they already have with Staples.
Friday September 13, 2013 7:11 am PDT by Richard Padilla
Alongside its iPhone media event earlier this week, Apple quietly introduced new "space gray" versions of its iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle, replacing the black models of those devices with the new color.
Australian Ben Pasternak has now posted a brief video offering a first look at the new color option for the iPod nano. The video shows the front and rear of the device, with the anodized color of the device appearing lighter than the outgoing "Black/Slate" option. The anodized matte finish also helps minimize fingerprints that can be highly visible on more reflective surfaces seen in some of Apple's other products.
Earlier this week, Apple announced that the new iPhone 5s would also be sporting the new Space Gray color, similarly replacing the black/slate color offered on the iPhone 5. All of the iPod models with the new color option are currently available, with the iPhone 5s set to go on sale next Friday, September 20.
Tuesday September 10, 2013 1:59 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today debuted a new "Space Gray" color for the iPhone 5s and has made the color available for the iPod touch, nano, and shuffle as well. In addition to their standard colors, each of these devices can be purchased in Space Gray, which replaces the existing black color.
The small color update for existing iPod products indicates that Apple does not plan to further upgrade the devices with a spec bump in the near future. All of the newly-colored devices can be found on Apple’s Online Store and will be available at brick and mortar locations beginning on September 20.
With Apple's new 16 GB iPod touch becoming available today, the teardown experts at iFixit have taken the device apart in an effort to determine how it differs internally from its larger-capacity siblings. The 16 GB model lacks the rear camera and support for Apple's Loop wrist strap, so iFixit wanted to see how those changes affected the layout of the device's components.
Comparison of original fifth-generation iPod touch (left) and new 16 GB model (right)
(Rear camera would be located at top right corner)
In the area of where the rear camera would be, the new iPod touch has a small void, while some of the flex cables have also been rerouted slightly. In addition, with the microphone no longer needing to be on the back of the device near a camera, it has been moved to the top edge of the device. Otherwise, the layout of components is the same as in other fifth-generation iPod touch models.
The logic board also appears nearly identical to the ones in the larger-capacity iPod touch models, housing all of the same chips with the exception of 16 GB of flash memory rather than 32 GB or 64 GB. The logic board also has a blank spot where the connector for the rear camera cable would have been.
With the exception of the flash memory, it appears that the ICs on the 16 GB model’s logic board are the same as those found on the 32 and 64 GB models:
- Apple A5 dual-core processor, with 4 Gb (512 MB) of Mobile DDR2 RAM.
- Toshiba THGBX2G7B2JLA01 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND flash
- Apple 3381064 dialog power management IC (similar to the Apple 338S1131)
- Murata 339S0171 Wi-Fi module
- Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller
- STMicroelectronics low-power, three-axis gyroscope (AGD3/2229/E5GEK)
- Apple 338S1116 and 338S1077 Cirrus Audio Codec
Comparison of original fifth-generation iPod touch (left) and new 16 GB model (right)
(Post for wrist strap would be located at bottom right corner)
Finally, at the bottom of the device, the new iPod touch similarly contains a void where the post for attaching the Loop wrist strap would be. Apple has used the same speaker design as in the larger-capacity models, carrying a curved edge that wraps around the Loop post in those models.
Apple's new 16 GB iPod touch is priced at $229, with the addition allowing Apple to discontinue the fourth-generation iPod touch models it had continued selling at $199 (16 GB) and $249 (32 GB) alongside the more expensive fifth-generation models introduced late last year.
Following yesterday's introduction of a new entry-level fifth-generation iPod touch with 16 GB of storage and lacking a rear camera, Apple's retail stores began carrying the device today. Australian Ben Pasternak was one of the first to purchase the new iPod touch, and he has posted a brief video overview of it.
While the body design is nearly identical to the existing fifth-generation iPod touch, merely lacking the rear camera and support for Apple's Loop wrist strap, the video provides a good look at the unique color scheme for the new model, which carries a black front and silver back.
The new 16 GB iPod touch is priced at $229, compared to $299/$399 for the 32/64 GB models. With the introduction of the 16 GB model, Apple has discontinued the fourth-generation iPod touch, which it had continued to offer at $199 (16 GB) and $249 (32 GB) alongside the fifth-generation models since their launch late last year.
Following today's launch of a new stripped-down 16 GB fifth-generation iPod touch, The Loop reports Apple has disclosed that the company has reached a milestone for the device with over 100 million units sold since its launch in 2007.
In addition to launching a new model of its iPod touch on Thursday, Apple told me this morning that it has sold more than 100 million units of the iPod touch since its introduction.
The iPod touch was launched in 2007 and took the design of the iPhone, minus the calling ability. It has since become one of Apple’s most popular products.
Historically, Apple has not disclosed the number of iPod touch units it sells each quarter, generally announcing only that the device accounts for more than half of the company's total iPod sales. The company revealed in documents filed in its lawsuit against Samsung last year that it had sold 46.5 million iPod touch units in the United States alone, but firm numbers have otherwise been difficult to come by.
Apple today made a quiet update to its iPod touch lineup, launching a new 16 GB fifth-generation model without a rear camera for $229. The new iPod touch, which is only available with a black front and silver back, replaces the fourth-generation iPod touch that Apple had continued to offer since the introduction of new models late last year. The new model is available now in Apple's online store and should be available in the company's retail stores starting tomorrow.
Apple introduced the redesigned fifth-generation iPod touch last September with the same 4-inch display seen on the iPhone 5 and a number of other enhancements. But with the new hardware pushing the entry-level price to $299 for a 32 GB model, Apple decided to continue offering the fourth-generation models at cheaper $199 (16 GB) and $249 (32 GB) price points.
Now, with production on the fifth-generation models having been underway for roughly eight months, Apple has found a way to shave costs through both natural component cost declines and the removal of several features to be able to offer a stripped-down fifth-generation model at pricing close to that previously offered for the fourth-generation models. Beyond the loss of a rear camera, the new entry-level iPod touch also omits Apple's "Loop" wrist strap introduced on the fifth-generation models last year.
Earlier this year, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had predicted that Apple would discontinue the fourth-generation iPod touch in favor of a stripped-down fifth-generation model without a rear camera. Kuo had believed that Apple would introduce an 8 GB version of that device for $199, but Apple apparently decided that 16 GB of storage should be the minimum for the iPod touch lineup.
The refurbished seventh-generation iPod nano models come with 16 GB of storage and are priced at $129, a $20 discount from the standard price. All seven standard colors of the iPod nano are currently available, although the special (PRODUCT) RED version is unavailable in the refurbished store.
Apple's refurbished units come equipped with the same one-year warranty that standard products offer and have been thoroughly tested for reliability. The units also come with brand-new batteries and outer shells.
As part of a program to make Walt Disney World more convenient and inviting, the Central Florida theme park has removed turnstiles and issued costumed staff members iPod touches to scan the tickets of visitors as they arrive, reports AppleInsider.
The pilot scheme mirrors the decision Apple made to issue staff with iPod touches in card-reader cases in place of turnstiles. In Disney's case, the cases incorporate a scanner to read the barcodes on tickets. As with all Disney staff, ticket-readers are dressed as 'cast members' to enhance the visitor experience, and the removal of imposing turnstiles helps create a much more welcoming environment as visitors approach the park.
Officials hope the changes at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom make it a more welcoming sight: Instead of structures that block people from entering, visitors are simply greeted by a Disney cast member as they walk into the park. Those employees and their iPod touches eliminate the need for old-fashioned checkpoints.
The scheme is currently a trial, and is part of a wider move by Disney toward a more high-tech future. A future phase is expected to introduce a MagicBand wristband that will use RFID to act as a combined hotel key, park pass, Fastpass card, and authorization to charge transactions such as food and beverages to a customer's account.
The iPhone alone accounted for 30% of all mobile video, the iPad for 24% and the iPod touch for 6%. Apple's lead over Android increased substantially in the final quarter of last year, perhaps suggesting that the increased screen size of the iPhone 5 made video viewing on the phone more appealing, with the iPad screen size and quality giving it obvious appeal.
Both platforms experienced considerable gains in terms of overall video viewing volume, with 30 percent growth in viewing of online videos on non-PC/Mac devices occurring between Q3 2012 and Q4 2012 alone. Apple’s strong lead is dues to its dominance in the tablet market, where FreeWheel says Android has yet to field a competitor that can truly make a dent in its overall share.
Apple's lead is perhaps unsurprising given the the company's early jump on the smartphone market and its more cohesive iOS platform, with many content providers launching iOS apps ahead of Android ones. TechCrunch suggests that there may be a virtuous circle effect, with content providers optimising for iOS devices while the Android experience gets less focus.
Mobile video is naturally expected to be increasingly important going forward, with more and more content providers embracing mobile platforms to encourage more flexible viewing. Just yesterday, HBO introduced increased functionality for its HBO Go app, allowing content to be pushed from Apple's mobile devices to a larger screen via AirPlay.
Friday February 1, 2013 9:03 am PST by Ben Lovejoy
Earlier this week, TechCrunch shared data from touch-based website developer Onswipe showing that, based on its user base of over 13 million monthly active users, over 21% of iPhone and iPad users had updated to iOS 6.1 in the first two days of availability.
We've since followed up with Onswipe to see how the share of users on iOS 6.1 has moved over the past several days, and the firm tells us that it is now seeing over 26% of users running iOS 6.1 just four days after its debut.
Onswipe CEO Jason Baptiste noted earlier this week that the rapid rate of adoption for iOS 6.1, which appears to be the fastest in history for Apple, is likely due to user comfort with the company's over-the-air updates, introduced with iOS 5 in October 2011.
The rapid uptake of iOS updates contrasts strongly with Android devices, where mobile networks are responsible for updates and just 10% of users are on the latest Jelly Bean versions, first introduced last July. The majority of Android users are still using Gingerbread, which dates to December 2010, or earlier versions of the operating system.
Wednesday January 30, 2013 7:28 am PST by Ben Lovejoy
While iOS 6.1 brought several widely publicized new features such as support for several dozen new LTE carriers and new support for ordering Fandango movie tickets through Siri in the United States, a number of other minor changes were also included in the update. Given the frequency with which our readers have been pointing some of them out, we thought it would be appropriate to make note of them in a brief roundup.
- Lock screen music controls: The music controls on the iPhone's lock screen have been enhanced as noted by TUAW, bringing them in line with those in the Music app.
The shortcut controls, accessed by pressing the home button twice while on the lock screen, have adopted both the look and layout of the Music app. One notable change is that the previous and next buttons are now much further apart from the play/pause button, making them much less likely to be pressed accidentally.
The volume knob also copies the Music app's visual trick of using the phone's accelerometer to vary the angle of virtual reflections on it.
- Maps "Report a Problem" button: Apple has tweaked the "Report a Problem" button in its Maps app, accessible in the preferences section by tapping at the lower right corner of the map page. The option had previously been a small text link, but Apple has now made it a much more prominent and accessible button which is actually now the largest button on the page.
- Rapid diagonal swiping issue improved: Several readers have noted that an issue with rapid diagonal swiping on the iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch resulting in loss of touch recognition appears to have been fixed or at least improved in iOS 6.1. Not all readers have experienced improvements, however, with some indicating that performance remains the same under iOS 6.1.
Wednesday January 23, 2013 6:32 am PST by Ben Lovejoy
Apple is running a Valentine's Day promotion on its online store, drawing attention to its free engraving offer and signature gift-wrapping service. The campaign features the iPad and iPad mini as ideal gifts for the holiday, with the iPod touch and iPod nano also being highlighted.
Apple has also posted a specific webpage with ordering deadlines to ensure delivery by Valentine's Day. Deadlines for standard shipping range from January 30 to February 5 depending on the product and whether or not it is being engraved.
Tuesday January 15, 2013 8:04 pm PST by Eric Slivka
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a very good track record in predicting Apple's product plans, has issued a new research report outlining his expectations for Apple's 2013 product launches. Kuo believes that Apple will focus its launches on the third quarter of this year, with a number of updates throughout the company's various product families.
- iPhone: Kuo expects that Apple will introduce both an iPhone 5S and a revamped iPhone 5 around June or July of this year, with the iPhone 5S appearing very similar to the current iPhone 5 but carrying a number of upgrades including an A7 system-on-a-chip for better performance, a fingerprint sensor, and camera improvements such as an f2.0 aperture and a smart LED flash. He also believes that the lower-cost iPhone will in many ways simply be an iPhone 5 repackaged into a slightly thicker (8.2 mm vs. the current 7.6 mm) plastic enclosure available in six colors.
- iPad and iPad mini: Kuo forecasts that Apple will update both lines during the third quarter of the year, with the iPad mini gaining a Retina display as the most notable change. He also predicts that the full-size iPad will become considerably slimmer and lighter and adopt the thinner side bezels seen on the iPad mini.
- MacBook Pro: In line with his predictions from last year, Kuo believes that Apple will do away with the non-Retina MacBook Pro line in 2013, moving to an all-Retina lineup at cheaper price points than the current Retina models. Kuo also believes that Apple will tweak the design of these thinner Retina MacBook Pros, despite having just introduced the current form factor last year.
- MacBook Air: Retina displays remain a challenge for the MacBook Air given their relative thickness, and Kuo predicts that they will not be appearing in the 2013 MacBook Air lineup. Kuo believes that a move to Intel's forthcoming Haswell platform will be the main upgrade for the machines, with the update coming perhaps as soon as late in the second quarter.
- Desktops: Kuo notes that the iMac redesign has been well-received, but it appears that he does not see Retina displays coming to the lineup in 2013. He simply predicts a shift to the Haswell platform for the iMac and Mac mini in the fourth quarter of the year. Kuo's report does not address a new Mac Pro, even though Apple CEO Tim Cook had personally shared that a significant update for the line was due in 2013.
- iPod touch: Apple will reportedly discontinue the fourth-generation iPod touch, which is currently being sold alongside the new fifth-generation models. In order to fill the gap, Kuo believes that Apple will introduce a scaled-back fifth-generation model with 8 GB of storage and no rear camera at $199.
- Apple TV: Kuo predicts a minor update to the existing Apple TV product as soon as late this quarter, but he offers no details on what the update would entail. He also notes that Apple's more substantial television effort is unlikely to appear in 2013, with content issues and a lack of experience in the television set industry pushing things back until 2014.
Friday November 9, 2012 8:08 am PST by Eric Slivka
Recombu follows up on a Tweet from UK developer CMA Megacorp addressing an issue with recognition of rapid diagonal swipes on the iPhone 5, posting a video comparison showing the issue on devices running both iOS 6 and iOS 6.0.1.
The glitch which as far as we’re aware hasn’t previously been spotted by anyone, manifests itself as a dropout of touch input when quickly scrolling diagonally across the screen. [...]
Using the Mail app to clearly demonstrate the quick scrolling action, we dragged our finger back and forth diagonally from bottom right to top left on each phone’s display. Sure enough, whilst both iPhone 4S’s handled the fast paced scrolling to aplomb, one iPhone 5 struggled to hold its concentration, dropping and picking back up touch input whilst the other stopped registering input altogether.
The report notes cause of the issue is unknown, but iMore has confirmed that it also affects the fifth-generation iPod touch, suggesting that it may be related to the technology behind the new 4-inch display with in-cell touch technology being used in both devices.
Given the unusual rapid diagonal swiping motion required for the issue to appear, most users will notice it rarely, if at all, although certain apps such as Fruit Ninja and Infinity Blade that rely on such swiping motions could be affected by the issue. But given that it has taken two months since the launch of the iPhone 5 to even be noticed, it seems that the glitch generally does not have a significant effect on real-world usage.
The teardown reveals few surprises, but offers a good look at how Apple has been able to pack all of the components into a body that has 20% less volume than the iPhone 5. With a lack of cellular communications technology, the iPod touch carries fewer components and consolidates them into just a handful of parts. Most notably the logic board and battery are smaller than seen in the iPhone 5 and carry a top-and-bottom layout as opposed to the side-by-side layout seen in the iPhone.
One aspect of the teardown that did catch our eye is the Lightning connector and headphone jack assembly, which contains a long ribbon cable extending from those ports at the bottom of the device up to the logic board at the top. This part was seen several times back in August and was at the time claimed to be for the "iPad mini".
Those claims led to confusion over whether the iPad mini's headphone jack would be located at the bottom as on the iPhone 5 and the iPod touch or on the top as in the full-size iPad and as seen in mockups and cases reportedly based on leaked iPad mini design specs. With the appearance of this part in the iPod touch, the discrepancy has now been resolved and signs are pointing to the iPad mini's headphone jack being along the top edge of the device.
Other aspects of the device are fairly standard, with the logic board revealing Apple's A5 system-on-a-chip, flash storage from Toshiba, and the usual assortment of chips for handling Wi-Fi, touchscreen functions, gyroscope, and more.
Overall, iFixit found the new iPod touch to be difficult to repair, with many components soldered together and the device held together with adhesives and clips that make it difficult to open. The revelation is not a surprise, as Apple does not intend its mobile products to be user-serviceable and the company's efforts to push the limits of design and size reduction have led it to sacrifice accessibility.
Wednesday October 10, 2012 12:13 pm PDT by Eric Slivka
With Apple having just begun shipping out its new fifth-generation iPod touch and seventh-generation iPod nano, The Verge has already posted reviews of both devices, weighing the positives and negatives of the substantially redesigned iPods.
The Verge's iPod touch review notes that the device is a major upgrade over its predecessor, which essentially dated to September 2010, with across the board changes in display, processor, and camera all housed in a sleek new body.
When you finally get it out of its impossible-to-open plastic packaging, it almost feels like you left part of it behind. It really is only a quarter-inch thick, though, and it really does weigh only 3.1 ounces. Remarkably, it doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy — it’s certainly a far cry from the incredible craftsmanship of the iPhone 5, but its aluminum back panel still feels quite solid and the slightly rounded edges are comfortable in your hand.
The move to using the same 4-inch display found in the iPhone 5 is a huge upgrade for the iPod touch, given that the previous model used a display that was inferior to the one used in the iPhone 4, albeit still of Retina resolution. As for the new 5-megapixel camera in the iPod touch, The Verge found that it performs adequately for still photos and "gets the job done" for 1080p video, but still falls short of even point-and-shoot camera quality.
Overall, The Verge found a lot to like about the new iPod touch, but questions whether the $299 starting price is enough to really entice customers given Apple's history of positioning the device as a "gateway drug" into the iOS ecosystem.
With no cheaper entry-level option, the touch is far from an impulse purchase. Selling the last-generation model for $199 isn’t a good compromise, either: it has a terrible camera, a much worse screen, and seriously outdated internals. If you’re looking for a device like the iPod touch, buying this year's model is an absolute no-brainer, but I’d bet more people are going to think twice before laying out $300.
In its iPod nano review, The Verge came away noting how hard it was to write a review about a device that doesn't do much more than play audio files. The lack of support for iOS features such as iCloud syncing leaves users stuck in the traditional iPod setup of having to manage their music files via iTunes, a concept dating back over decade.
You want to listen to music with an iPod nano? Then you better get ready to open iTunes and plug in a cable and transfer some hot nasty files. It’s like taking a time machine to 2010, before Apple itself started pushing everyone away from files and towards iCloud.
If you’re cool with managing files, the new iPod nano is the best dedicated music player on the market. It’s the sort of product that only Apple can make; a seamless slice of metal and plastic that feels essentially inevitable once you hold it.
In its wrap-up, The Verge reiterates its view that the iPod nano is hampered by a lack of many of the features that have brought significant improvements to the iPhone and iPod touch, pointing to Apple's new Lightning connector as an example of missed opportunities.
When [Phil Schiller] introduced the smaller Lightning connector last month, he noted that “so many of the things we used to do over the wire, we now do wirelessly.” After listing Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, what did Schiller describe as “best of all”? Oh, that’s right. “With iCloud, we can download all our content wirelessly.” The new nano might have Apple’s connector of the future, but everything else about it clings tightly to the past — to a world in which iTunes is still the center of the digital media universe, not a bloated relic badly in need of a fresh start and new ideas.
When it comes down to it, The Verge suggests that the iPod nano's $149 price tag will limit its market to those consumers interested in the cheapest available iPod with a screen or for whom size and weight is a major consideration, with a $50 jump to the fourth-generation iPod touch making more sense for many consumers.
Tuesday October 9, 2012 5:58 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Numerous MacRumors readers have reported that their orders for Apple's new fifth-generation iPod touch and seventh-generation iPod nano have shipped, with delivery due for late this week or early next week. The news is in line with last week's reports that orders were being prepared for shipment and claims of an official October 9 launch date.
Stores have also begun stocking the new devices, as evidenced by this photo from Japan posted to WeiPhone.com:
Mac Otakara has already gotten its hands on both the iPod touch and the iPod nano, posting unboxing and comparison photos. The site has also run some system status and benchmarking tools on the new iPod touch, unsurprisingly revealing that the A5-powered device has performance on par with the iPhone 4S.
iOS device overall Geekbench scores
System info on fifth-generation iPod touch
Update: YouTube user Andreas Pall has posted an unboxing video of the fifth-generation iPod touch from Japan.
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