Both of my kids are addicted to social media and, by proxy, the devices made of aluminum and glass that provide access to them.
For the past several months, my youngest daughter has complained of a very sluggish third-generation iPod touch. It was certainly getting long in the tooth; she couldn't even install the latest version of iOS. The meager 8GB of storage meant she had to continually uninstall and reinstall apps in the hopes of freeing up enough space.
Feeling her pain, I agreed to purchase her one of the new sixth-generation iPod touch devices from Apple. While some question the validity and purpose of a new, uber-fast iPod in 2015 (when so many people have opted for a smartphone), my daughter couldn't be happier. Apps that previously would crash or exhibit extreme sluggishness now load and execute in record time.
I'll spare you the hardware spec details of the latest touch, but suffice it to say that it has twice the memory (a full 1GB) of the fifth-generation touch and the same processor chip as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
My daughter doesn't care about the processing chips or memory configuration of her new touch. For her, it's all about performance. When she swipes across the screen, how fluid is the display? How well does it keep up with her multitasking and hyper-fast keyboard entry? Do apps load instantaneously, without hesitation or stutter?
In all cases, the sixth-generation iPod touch excels. Those on a budget can get an entry-level 16 GB model for only US$200. The latest generation iPod is also available with 64GB of memory for $300 and tops out at a whopping 128GB for another $100. Like all Apple devices, the iPod touch supports Apple's wireless Wi-Fi-based AirPlay system, allowing audio and video content to be cast to a supporting receiving device such as the Apple TV and many home theater audio/video receivers (like my 2012 Pioneer models).
Cheaper than the previous model
Somewhat uncharacteristically of Apple, not only is the new iPod touch sporting twice the memory and several times the processing power of its predecessor, but it's also cheaper. The iPod touch fifth-generation 32GB model I purchased for my oldest daughter was $300; the new sixth-gen model is only $250 for the same memory configuration.
The aspect of the sixt- generation iPod touch that is most beneficial to my selfie-philia suffering daughter is the vastly improved camera. Sporting a slightly dumbed down version of the iPhone 6 shooter, the latest touch captures beautiful high-resolution images and high-definition (1080p) video. It even offers a 120 frames per second slow motion mode to further keep kids (and adults) entertained.
Sometimes faster than the iPhone 6
Because the iPod touch features only a 4-inch screen, not the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays of the latest iPhones, it actually loads some apps faster than its phone-based cousin. The math is simple: the touch is simply pushing fewer pixels, meaning it can execute many operations, especially graphically intensive tasks, faster than a similar device sporting a larger display.
Because the unit relies solely on Wi-Fi for connectivity, it supports the latest home networking standards (for those who own routers that also support the latest protocols and fastest data transfer rates). And, of course, like almost all Apple devices, battery life is stellar.
Sexy form factor
All of this technical gadgetry comes in a package that is slimmer than previous generations. The thickness reminds me of the feel I get when holding an iPad Air 2, with the thinness just begging for applause. Like all Apple hardware, the sixth-gen iPod touch is a sexy, fast beast that will satisfy even the most hard core user who doesn't need the cell phone network connectivity delivered by a device like the iPhone 6.
While kids love the iPad and, to a lesser extent, the iPad mini, they still cling to their most personal of devices, the one that fits in their back pocket. While all use cases vary, it seems that the most mobile of devices are the ones that both kids, teens, and adults most covet and with which they engage for the greatest number of hours.
I realize you might be eyeing a hand-me-down iPhone 4S or 5 for your teenage children, or possibly buying them their own iPhone 6. But for those who don't need the additional data plan and device charges on their monthly phone bill -- or who are typically within Wi-Fi range and willing to use Skype -- the sixth-generation iPod touch is a sleek, leading edge solution to the social media and image/video capture needs of today's millennials.
Curt Robbins is author of the following books from Amazon Kindle:
- Understanding Personal Data Security ($4.99)
- Understanding Home Theater ($4.99)
- Understanding Cutting the Cord ($4.99)
- Understanding Digital Music ($4.99)