The Apple iPod touch isn’t dead yet — Apple just gave it a massive upgrade. The new processor is a 64-bit Apple A8 chip that is six times faster than the previous generation iPod touch — it’s the same chip that’s in the iPhone 6. Plus, the new touch boasts graphics performance that’s up to 10 times faster than the previous generation, too. The M8 motion coprocessor offers more accurate fitness tracking.

Apple updated the cameras, too, with the main iSight camera coming in at 8 megapixels with support for a 720p, 120fps slo-mo mode, as well as offering burst, time-lapse, and panorama modes.

WiFi connectivity is now three times faster.

And what about color? Apple gave the iPod touch a fresh coat of paint — you can now get it in space gray, blue, gold, pink, or silver.

So Who Is the iPod Touch For?

The 4-inch Retina display is the same size as the previous iPhone 5S screen — it’s workable for email, light web browsing, playing games, watching video, and using for all sorts of social media apps. The camera is pretty sweet, too. If you’re always around WiFi, FaceTime lets you make video calls to other Apple gadget users. But it’s not an iPhone. So who is going to get an iPod touch?

Music lovers, certainly, are a candidate if they can’t have an iPhone — say because of their work phone — or want a workout buddy that can do fitness tracking and use iOS apps. The more obvious option, though, is for kids. Parents can reclaim their iPhones from smaller children and tweeners, letting them use an iPod touch. With Apple’s Family Sharing, up to six family members can share purchases from iTunes and the Apple App Store. Parents can create Apple IDs for their kids and have them use the Ask to Buy feature that notifies parents about purchase requests, which they can approve or decline.

On the other hand, the small screen makes the iPod touch useful for working out or packing around, but it might be a little small if a parent is really looking for a media device for apps, web, and video.

A 16GB model costs $199, but is 16GB anywhere near enough storage space? The 32GB model costs $249, 64GB $299, and 128GB $399.

Of course, you could use it as a spendy remote for your Apple TV . . . or wait until Apple’s HomeKit really takes off and use it as a remote for home automation gadgets.

The point is, the new iPod touch is an interesting iOS device that can very often be eclipsed by an iPhone — but if you don’t want to pay for an iPhone and the cellular service to power it, an iPod touch suddenly seems a lot more compelling.

About the author

Chris Maxcer

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I've been writing about the tech industry since the birth of the email newsletter, and I still remember the clacking Mac keyboards from high school -- Apple's seed-planting strategy at work. I'm a big fan of elegant gear and great tech, but there's something to be said for turning it all off -- or most of it -- to go outside. Online I like to call out cool stuff on Wicked Cool Bite and blog with my buddies at Man Makes Fire. To catch me, take a "firstnamelastname" guess at the url of this site.