It came as a surprise to many that Apple decided to update the iPod Touch in 2019 with new hardware. Sporting a pretty impressive A10 Fusion system-on-a-chip, the “trainer iPhone” of yesteryear is back among the latest pantheon of portable Apple devices.
This immediately raises the question of why anyone would want to buy this dinky little device? Clearly Apple itself doesn’t think the iPod Touch is as dead as everyone else does.
While Steve Jobs’ ghost might not be on hand to whisper an explanation in our ear, we tried coming up with some reasons to justify the 2019 iPod Touch and it turns out making a case for it wasn’t hard at all.
It’s The Most Affordable Ticket To The Apple Ecosystem
Starting at $199 for the 32GB model, there is no cheaper way to get into the Apple ecosystem. Given the total entertainment solution that Apple’s subscription services offer, its appeal as a content consumption device is strong.
You can also get the 2019 iPod Touch in 128GB and 256GB variants respectively, if you are willing to part with $299 and $399 of your hard-earned dollars. However, that treads squarely on iPhone SE territory, where you get a fullon phone with a similar small form factor.
Limiting ourselves to the base model iPod creates a sensible niche for the device.
It’s An Amazing (& Affordable) Handheld Gaming Device
iOS has always offered plenty of early or exclusive game releases, with an emphasis on quality premium games. Of course, it still has its share of exploitative free-to-play games as well.
With the new Apple Arcade service, which features only premium games without IAP, the iPod Touch makes for a great gaming machine. Add new gamepad support to the mix and it’s an affordable alternative to something like the Nintendo Switch, where one premium game can cost almost as much as a year of Apple Arcade Subscription.
Don’t forget that Apple has family sharing for Arcade, which means up to six people can get access with one subscription. At the time of writing there isn’t a better bang-for-buck gaming solution on the market. It’s certainly a good way to keep your kids’ sticky fingers off that new iPhone 11.
It’s a Good Way To Introduce Kids To Smart Devices
Speaking of children, Apple iOS provides exceptional parental controls. So you can set up and hand over the iPod Touch assured your kid isn’t going to get into trouble with it.
It’s not a phone, which takes away the question of whether you should give young children smartphones. It’s much smaller than even the iPad Mini. So little hands can easily handle it. The low price also means a broken iPod Touch isn’t quite as painful on the wallet to replace.
It’s a Clever Home Automation Device
If you are all-on on Apple HomeKit, the iPod Touch is the perfect device you can leave at home to control all your other HomeKit gear. Since it runs the Home App, you can leave it in a guest bedroom, living room or any space it seems appropriate.
Other HomeKit devices, such as the HomePod, are more expensive and less versatile. Especially as an ancillary or mobile home automation controller. So if you’re all about that laid-back automated life, this might actually be one of the best pieces of kit you can add to the system.
It’s Perfect As a Shared Device
Few people are going to share their iPhone or iPad with the rest of the household or house guests. These devices tend to be pretty personal and rather expensive. The iPod Touch on the other hand is cheap enough to act as a shared entertainment device for whomever needs it.
Think about services like Siri or simply having access to a web browser or eReader app. At the price Apple is asking for the base model, the iPod Touch seems perfect as a pass-around iOS device for home use.
It’s (Unsurprisingly) a Great Dedicated Music Player
Yeah, it seems obvious, but the iPod Touch 2019 is a really good dedicated music player. Just about every music streaming service is represented on iOS, it has Bluetooth and the increasingly rare headphone jack. If you have a home gym or another space where music is played often, hooking up an iPod Touch to a stereo of good Bluetooth speaker is a great idea.
It’s actually a wonderful way to breathe life into old sound systems that have been left behind because they lack “smarts”. It’s essentially the perfect little jukebox.
Some Good Reasons NOT To Buy a 2019 iPod Touch
While the latest iPod Touch is a gadget with many legitimate reasons to exist, it definitely isn’t for everyone. It’s not a replacement for an actual smartphone, since it has no access to text messaging or phone calls.
If you’ve been impressed with the screens you find on most modern Apple devices, the 2019 could be a little hard to tolerate. Four inches is a little archaic and divisive. There are those that love the 3.5-4” range that classic iDevices came in, but sales of the iPhone SE show that this is not a mainstream view. Don’t expect a display that rivals the new iPhones in any meaningful way.
It also doesn’t make sense to buy the new iPod as a music device on the go. If you already have a smartphone, then you are much better off simply using it. The ubiquity of smartphones and Bluetooth headsets mean that you’re always carrying something as good as the iPod with you.
While the 2019 iPod Touch may not be for everyone, Apple has done a perfectly adequate job bringing it up to date, so that you don’t have to spend $1,000 to access their excellent subscription services and premium apps.