July 30

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Less than two years after they each went into service, only one of the three Lightning cables pictured above is actually working properly. It’s not the big Belkin cable on the left, which is visibly pretty wrecked, or the thick, no-name 6-foot cable on the right, which looks fine on the surface but can’t properly supply power to a connected device. The one that works without problems is, amazingly, Apple’s official Lightning cable — the one that has been pilloried by numerous dissatisfied users, notably including our own Zac Hall, for coming apart after months or years of use.

These complaints aren’t without merit: even Apple-authorized Lightning cables do break, which is particularly infuriating given how expensive they tend to be. But there’s a lot of bad information about Lightning cables floating around right now, and having spent a lot of time using them and reading user complaints, I wanted to help people avoid some of their preventable failures. Taking a few precautions can save you a $10 to $20 replacement cost, as well as wasted time and stress…

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July 22

Apple has refreshed its entire iPod lineup and we’re discussing all of the details along with what to expect later this year. New hardware is expected, but aside from an iPhone what will Apple launch? Along with that, developers now have access to a new iOS 9 beta plus watchOS 2 beta and we discuss Apple’s latest earnings call. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.

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July 21

Roughly two weeks after the previous build with Apple Music support included, Apple has released iOS 9 beta 4 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to registered developers. iOS 9 includes new or redesigned built-in apps including the Flipboard-like News app and an overhauled Notes app, powerful iPad multitasking features, and a new system feature built around search and intelligence called Proactive. The previous beta included the first look at Apple’s News app, support for Apple Music and Beats 1, and other changes including Screenshots and Selfies albums in Photos and 4×4 app folders on the iPad. We’ll dig in to today’s release and update with changes in the latest beta. expand full story

July 19

Today we’re taking a look at Apple’s 6th generation iPod touch for 2015 and determining whether or not it’s worth the money. It’s been a while since the iPod touch has been refreshed and even though it’s a minor one, this time around it brings along some important changes. If you’ve had Apple’s iPod touch on your must-have gadget list, there are a few things you need to know…

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July 17

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You might have heard some discussing the state of Apple Music on the iPod nano and shuffle, two products that just got a minor facelift alongside a larger refresh for their bigger brother, the iPod touch. And you might have already guessed that streaming to the devices was a no-go from the lack of Wi-Fi capabilities, but it turns out you won’t even be able to store your offline Apple Music collection on the devices either.

The reason, according to sources, is simply to prevent piracy… expand full story

Apple introduced a new iPod touch on Wednesday as we expected after selling nearly the same model for almost three years, and today iFixit has shared its routine teardown to grade the device’s ability to be repaired and catalog exactly what’s inside Apple’s newest iOS device.

While the exterior of the new iPod touch remains largely the same aside from new color options and the removal of the Loop camera strap, the teardown does confirm the RAM upgrade caught in benchmarks earlier this week and a slightly larger battery than the previous model… expand full story

July 15

Earlier today, Apple released a refreshed iPod touch with a faster processor, improved cameras, and new color and storage options. The iPod shuffle and nano also saw minor refreshes with the two devices now being available in dark blue, pink, and gold variations. Apple’s overdue iPod refresh, however, has prompted many users to wonder if it’s even worth it for Apple to continue investing energy and time into the iPod line of products.

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As expected, Apple updated its iPod lineup today and I just wanted to add a few notes on the new hardware.

The iPod shuffle and nano lines got new colors but otherwise are the same internally with the 2GB and 16GB storage inside and same skeuomorphic UI for the nano. To me this is Apple saying the long goodbye to these products the same way the iPod classic was ushered out. Expect these to last as long as whatever inventory Apple decides to build.

The new iPod touch is much more interesting. It got the same new color palette and otherwise is the same externally – except losing the unpopular Loop strap. However, internally it gets supercharged with the same A8 processor as the current iPhone 6 and 6 Plus but running about 15% slower, the M ‘motion’ coprocessor, Bluetooth 4.1 – an Apple first and 1GB of RAM. Techcrunch was the first to run some benchmarks on a review unit:

We’ve got some of the new iPods here to play with and we ran an initial benchmark on the iPod touch. The processor appears to be running at 1.10GHz per core, vs the iPhone 6’s A8 processor, which clocks in at 1.39GHz. The Geekbench scores clock in at 1379 and 2440 right out of the box with as much idle state as I could manage. This means that the iPod touch A8 processor is under-clocked slightly from the iPhone 6, which is not surprising given the battery constraints I mentioned above. It also appears to have 1GB of RAM.

Starting at $199, the iPod touch costs less than the margins Apple makes on even its cheapest iPhones. Almost every human has or will have a phone and Apple surely wants everyone who buys a phone to buy an iPhone. But there are some important features to consider here: expand full story

 

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As we reported this morning, Apple has today launched a new version of the iPod touch, featuring a 64-bit A8 CPU. This breaks a long run of neglect for Apple’s cheapest iOS device, which last received an update way back in 2012. It will be a huge leap in performance over the previous iPod touch which featured an A5 SoC. Both the front and back cameras have been improved, with the back shooter now featuring 8 megapixels of resolution.

The new iPod touch is also available for the first time in gold matching the iPhone and iPad in addition to new dark blue and pink case options. The iPod touch is also getting a storage bump at least at the higher end — there is now a $399 128 GB model. The base $199 iPod touch remains the same with 16 GB of onboard storage, the 32 GB model is $249 and the 64 GB version is $299.

There are also updates to the iPod shuffle and iPod nano, although these are merely cosmetic changes to fascia of the products. The shuffle and nano now come in dark blue, pink and gold variants.

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Apple will be rolling out a refreshed line of iPods today, according to sources. As indicated by new colors recently found in iTunes on the Mac, the new iPod touch, shuffle, and nano will come in new darker blue and pink colors. A gold color will be added as well for all three iPods.

The new Nanos and Shuffles won’t get new features, but the iOS-based iPod touch will see a considerable upgrade. Here’s what we’re hearing is coming to the touch:

  • Major camera upgrade from 5 megapixels to 8, matching the count on the iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2.
  • New 64-bit chip for faster operation and better graphics for gaming. Will also help it plow through future iOS versions beyond iOS 9.
  • “M” chip from the iPhone for fitness, steps, and elevation tracking.
  • Pre-loaded with iOS 8.4 and Apple Music following the June 30th launch.
  • New 128GB model for $399, still starting at $199 for 16GB. There will also be a $299 model with 64GB of space.

As indicated by the references last month in iTunes 12.2, the overall designs and screens of the new iPods will remain the same as their predecessors. These are the first major iPod upgrades since 2012, and with Apple’s focus on the iPhone and iPad, these will likely also be the last for some time. expand full story

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Rendered image via 3DFuture

An anticipated update to Apple’s entry-level iOS device, the iPod touch, is increasing the likelihood that Apple will also tweak the low end of the iPhone range this year with an iPhone 6c. Historically, Apple has kept its least expensive iPhone a step ahead of the iPod touch, and a report from Jefferies analyst Ange Wu suggests that Apple will shift from the iPhone 5c’s ‘unapologetically plastic’ frame to a unibody metal casing made by Foxconn. (The image above is a render and solely for purposes of illustration.)

Left almost entirely unchanged since its introduction in 2012, the iPod touch has seen only small capacity, price, and feature tweaks since then, though Apple has continued to support its aging A5 processor with iOS 7, 8, and 9 software updates. After a wrist loop-less iPod touch in new colors was discovered earlier this month in iTunes 12.2, a report today claimed that Apple will upgrade the iPod with a 64-bit processor next week. The most likely candidate for the new iPod touch would be the A7 processor already found inside the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3. However, the leaked images from Apple suggest that the iPod will lack Touch ID support, a marquee feature of the iPhone 5s and iPad mini 3, but not the iPad Air or iPad mini 2.

Rumors about an iPhone 6c have circulated for months, including a March report from Digitimes that Apple planned to pair a 4-inch display with an A8 processor and possibly an upgraded camera. Plastic shells that were thought to be potentially for a 6c were generally written off as fakes, but the prospect of a new low-end model has continued to generate discussion, particularly as an updated 4-inch iPhone would appeal to users who prefer small screens.

While it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Apple to keep the A7-based iPhone 5s as its entry-level model when the 5c is discontinued, doing so would eliminate bright color choices from the family, and narrow the performance gap between the recolored $199 iPod touch and a $450 unlocked, contract-free iPhone. Since Touch ID, camera differences, and cellular calling abilities would be the only reasons to pick the iPhone 5s over the iPod touch, a boosted iPhone 6c in a new collection of colors could further justify the added cost.

Just yesterday I was speculating about the future of the iPod, and it appears we may not have long to wait until we learn a little more about it. French site iGen, which has a good track-record, says that the iPod line-up will see a refresh on or around 14th July.

It appears to have little hard information beyond internal model numbers, but based on those speculates that the Shuffle and Nano will see only the color changes spotted in iTunes 12.2, while the Touch may receive a more substantive update …  expand full story

July 9

The tech sector does love its hype. Every new product is revolutionary. All new apps are ground-breaking. Everything anyone ever launched is going to change the way we do X. Almost without exception, it isn’t, they aren’t and it doesn’t.

But the iPod in 2001 definitely qualified. That simple, clever marketing slogan – “a thousand songs in your pocket” – beautifully summarised something that really was revolutionary. For the first time ever, we could carry close to a hundred albums in a device that slipped into our pocket and could go everywhere with us. Most of us listened to a lot more music in a lot more places.

It also propelled Apple along a new path. It’s no exaggeration to say that without the iPod, there would likely never have been an iPhone. The iPod revolutionized music and also transformed Apple.

But there have been a couple of recent signs that Apple no longer views the iPod as an important product …  expand full story

July 8

Two weeks after the release of the second beta of iOS 9 and a week after the launch day of Apple Music, Apple has released iOS 9 beta 3 to developers. The update is available to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users  via Apple’s developer portal on the web and via an OTA rollout. The beta carries the build number 13A4293g.

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July 1

Apple could be preparing to refresh its aging iPod lineup with new colors, according to a new image found inside of yesterday’s iTunes 12.2 update for Apple Music. With the new update, when a user plugs in an iPod for the first time, the above image showcasing a dark blue iPod touch, a gold iPod nano, and a dark pink iPod shuffle appear. None of those iPod color options currently exist, indicating that Apple could be preparing to refresh its line with those richer tones. Interestingly, the Touch lacks a hole for the camera loop.

It is possible that the image is simply a Photoshop error, which would not be unprecedented, but our look into the previous version of iTunes, version 12.1.2, indicates that the image is actually new, which means that it was intentionally designed. There is currently no indication as to if and when Apple is planning to release new iPod colors, but we are told that iPod nano and touch stock at Apple Stores is currently seeing some temporary shortages.

Update: We’ve now spotted new gold, dark blue, and dark pink tones for all iPods:

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June 23

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Two weeks following the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference and release of the first iOS 9 beta, Apple has seeded iOS 9 beta 2 for compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches to developers. The update is available over-the-air via Software Update in Settings, and it will also become available via Apple’s developer portal on the web.

iOS 9, due to be released to all in the fall following a public beta in July, brings several under-the-hood enhancements to iOS as well as new features. The upgrade brings a new Proactive menu on the left side of the first Home screen, new features for the Maps app, an upgraded Notes application, and a redesigned app-switching interface.

Apple has also released Xcode 7 beta 2 alongside the new OS seeds. Some users of the first beta have complained about poor battery life and unsurprising system-wide bugs, and we’ll be tracking all fixes and changes in beta 2 below. expand full story

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