What does a new iPod Touch means for us? [Updated]

Ahead of WWDC updating the little guy may be a preview of what's next
Published on June 2, 2019 in Articles — 2 min read
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Update: edited the ‘Conclusions’ paragraph such as now it takes into account the released iOS 13 compatibility list.

4 days ago Apple launched a new iPod Touch. So what could the launch of a new iPod Touch mean for the iOS ecosystem ahead of WWDC and iOS 13?

Well, let’s start with its specs first. It is powered by the A10 chip, the same one shipping with the iPhone 7 and 7+, albeit the iPod Touch ships an underclocked version. Yet it is capable of running AR and let you join group video FaceTime calls. That’s why it is likely to have 2GB of RAM as those features are only available on iOS 12 for devices with a A9 chip (or newer) and 2GB of RAM (or more).

Twitter has been exploding with consideration about the new product and this blog post has gathered the most interesting ones. As pointed out by Micheal Love:

Actually this is very good news for iPhone SE fans, because if they’re launching a brand new 4-inch device now - which is therefore going to have to be supported by iOS until at least 2022 or 2023 - it seems like 4-inch screens aren’t going anywhere. Also, the article’s theory that Apple is about the drop the A8 - and therefore the iPhone 6/6+ along with the 5s - makes sense; those are the last devices left with only 1 GB of RAM, not to mention that the A9 was a huge performance leap over the A7/A8. So as of this summer, the new baseline is going to be an A9 and 2 GB of RAM. Which means that the oldest supported iOS device will have about the same CPU performance that the 2018 Android flagships did.

The interesting question is if the iPad Air 2 will be updated too, because unlikely other A8 devices it has 2GB of RAM. It was the very first to have. Also its A8X tri-core chip is faster than A8 thanks to one additional CPU core and more GPU cores. Reading specifications of newer (baseline) iPads gives us more clues. The 5th-gen one (introduced in March 2017) sports an A9 chip and its latest version, the 6th generation (introduced in March 2018) has a standard-clocked A10 chip. A9 was quite a big leap forward back in 2015 featuring advances in performance, efficiency and security. So high chances the Air 2 won’t be capable to run iOS.

Conclusions

Apple it’s very likely to drop support for A8(X) and earlier devices in iOS 13. This would make sense to create an homogeneous base of devices having common minimum hardware requirements, yet powerful enough as 2018 flagship Android phones. iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6/6+ owners shouldn’t be shocked: although still popular these devices will be 5 years old in a couple of months. On the other hand, iPhone 7/7+ owners may get even longer lifespan for their smartphones. And I’m pretty sure these will grab even more attention in the refurbished market.

Now let’s wait for tomorrow announcements.

Update: 9to5mac has published the iOS 13 list of compatible devices. As expected, iPhone 5S/6/6+ and iPod Touch 6th generation are not supported by next iOS update. iPhone SE also to be uptated, so 4-inch screen layouts are here to stay. Surprisingly enough, the iPad Air 2 is still on board. What an long-living device!

Thanks for reading.



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