Come September, will fourth-gen iPod touch be the MID to beat?

Iptouch Apple rumors always tend to be better received when taken with more than a grain of salt, but the latest whispers about the refreshed iPod touch do make complete sense, especially in light of the new whiz-bang features in the iPhone 4. According to MacRumors, prominent UK retailer John Lewis has been spewing a ton of specs that it's expecting the world's best-selling MID to contain.

Before Android MID and tablet makers barely get their feet in the door, Apple is about ready to take things up a notch, courtesy of iOS 4 and some nice hardware upgrades. Supposedly making the transition over from the iPhone 4 will be the 5.0MP camera and HD video recording feature, along with Apple's FaceTime technology, which means a front-facing camera will also be present. A gyroscope will help provide more control for gaming, and the 1GHz A4 processor should also make the cut, but there is one other bit that needs to make the jump.

What will truly convert the iPod touch into more than just a glorified media player or stripped-down iPhone is the "Retina display" that's been wowing just about everyone who has seen it. True, the iPod touch will still have a smaller screen than the trendy 4-inch plus screens finding homes in the HTC EVO 4G and Dell Streak, but does it really matter when the higher resolution of the Retina effectively gives you more real estate? Call me crazy, but I'd rather have more pixels crammed into a smaller screen than have less of them spreading out into a 5-inch display.

Coupled with more built-in storage, a lower price without having to worry about any type of carrier discounts or contracts, the smallest and most pocketable form, and the largest collection of apps, what else will possibly compete with the new touch? Even for regular Apple holdouts, the small MID alternatives just aren't there and may never be as large screens take over.

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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15 thoughts on “Come September, will fourth-gen iPod touch be the MID to beat?

  • Avatar of Plazmic Flame

    I have an iPod Touch and while something like the Retina Display would be nice, it still doesn’t change the fact that the screen is still 3.5 inches. For me personally, I’m looking for something that a little bigger within the 5 inch range just because having to constantly pinch and zoom get’s tiresome.

    An iPad is on the other end of the spectrum with almost 10 inches (but really 9.7 inches I believe) and it’s not something I can just whip out from time to time if I need to check something. It needs to be truly portable.

    I think the iPod Touch would be killer if they made it 5 inches but that would probably have their Devs in an uproar about having to support another resolution and thus creating fragmentation to the power of 3, lol.

  • I have no interest in this possible iPod Touch for myself… but I hope it seriously kicks that much butt. If the retina displays become the new standard, the competition will have to match it or stop playing, which’ll be a win for me. :)

  • Plazmic, exactly what I am thinking. A 4- 5 inch iPod touch will be logical for gaming and video. I will buy it to accompany my ipad.

  • The increased resolution doesn’t increase screen real estate per say. The same content is rendered but merely at higher resolution, making it more crisp, but not actually increasing usable screen space.

  • I love my iPod Touch 2nd gen, and with a camera (and maybe a GPS?) it would be strapped to my body more than it already is. Having a Touch and being able to even take advantage of all the photo-related apps would be a win.

  • I have been writing for ages that the iPod Touch is the only truly successful MID ever released, and that is just going to become more clear with the 4G models.

    I have been playing with an Archos 5 for the last day and really like the device, it will definitely be something that comes along in my gear bag daily…but it won’t replace my iPod Touch, it is just too big. The 5 inch screen is great, but it is just on the far edge of pocketable for me. Until it can fit quickly and easily in a jeans pocket, it will not dethrone the Touch for email and site management.

    At this point, the only thing that I anticipate replacing my iPod Touch 3G is an iPod Touch 4G…I will be scoring one as soon as they are released.


  • You’re right, it really has been the most successful MID. People have been so busy naming its shortcomings compared to this and that, but Apple just keeps selling millions of them. If the 4th-gen gains the Retina and a built-in microphone, it’ll be that much more of a complete MID.

    I think 5-inch devices fall in what I call “no-man’s land”…they’re too big to carry and use comfortably like a smartphone (EVO 4G, iPhone, etc.), yet they are too small to give the experience of a 7-inch tablet or a 10-inch iPad. The 5-inch devices just overlap too much with smartphones, and if I had to choose something to carry with me that was not going to fit in my jeans pocket, it would be my wafer-thin iPad 3G.

  • A 5 inch iPod Touch will destroy a lot of MID’s in it’s path. Every device that has a comparable size. Give it the Retina, All the sensors including the gyro, The iPhone 4G design, Front and Back cams, HID BT, GPS chip, We have a winner! It will prolly beat the iPad sales.

  • The retina display is not just a marketing gimmick, I swear I can see more web/pdf on it than I can on the HD2.

  • To be honest, it probably would be a hit in the 5-inch format. Maybe too much of a hit to where it takes attention away from the cash cow iPhone.

  • It’s definitely not a gimmick, the resolution and sharpness compared to any other smartphone is incredible. Put a new iPhone 4 and last year’s 3GS side-by-side loading the same web page, and the results are obvious to anyone.

  • Hi Chris:

    I do have a different opinion. I loaded the same page on the iPhone 4, 3g touch, HD2, 2004 era Toshiba VGA 4″ screen PDA, and Archos 5 / 7 Android. A single column page which displays with a very small font size on the 3.5″ iDevices was readable on both the 3g touch and iPhone 4, but was a bit sharper on the iPhone 4. The iPhone and touch had the same number of words on a line, the iPhone 4 did not display more words per line.

    If I set the IE font size to small (from its usual large), I can read the same page with a similar font size on the 2004 era Toshiba VGA’s screen with ClearType enabled. Ditto for the HD2. In all cases, the text was very readable with similar small font size, and similar words per line.

    I realize we all have different preferences, but for me, reading any page in a 6 to 8 point font is an experience I do not enjoy no matter how sharp the display may be. If the text size is still too small after double tap zoom on the iDevices (which frequently happens on forum pages, and generic mobile single column pages), you have to use pinch zoom which does not reflow the text. The choice is read some pages with a 6 to 8 point font, horizontally scroll to read each line, or use a bookmarklet which is a pain.

    With the HD2, I can set the minimum font size to a more comfortable size for my reading enjoyment, and the text reflows properly. If I decide to use pinch zoom in Opera on the HD2, the text will reflow, a feature sorely lacking in the iDevices IMO.

    On the 6 year old Toshiba, I can increase the font size in IE, and the text reflows, or I can use NetFront, Opera Mini, or Opera Mobile if the old version of IE has a problem with page. All the alternative browsers have a text size setting.

    The only Android devices I have are the Archos 5 and 7A. The stock Android browser reflows the text when you zoom using the virtual controls at the bottom of the page.

    The display on the iPhone 4 is super sharp no doubt about it. however, it still is limited to a 3.5″ screen, and for many single column pages, it displays the text too small for my comfortable reading. Unfortunately, Double tap zoom does not increase many pages, and pinch zoom does not reflow text.

    Again, we all have preferences for web viewing. Although the iPhone 4’s display is super sharp, the others are not slouches, and small text can be read fine if that is your preference. The other platforms offer more control over text size on the device so you can adjust the text to your liking, you do not have to adjust to the text size Apple deems is ok for everyone, or use bookmarklets. In addition, many of the 3rd party apps have similar too small a font problem, but bookmarklets are not an option.

    Videos on the iPhone 4 are sharp, but after using the bigger screen devices, the video, abeit super sharp, seems too small on the 3.5″ screen.

    I respect all opinions, just wanted to add a different opinion after using all devices. Your web viewing habits, and preferences may be different, and the small font sizes may be just what you desire.

  • Rumors said that Apple is looking for a 5.6″ and 7″ OLED Screen for 2nd Gen iPads Q4 of this year. They said that it’s main function will be an ebook reader rather than all in one multimedia device. Any which way, It’s seems like they are trying to fill in the gap. Whether it’s an iPod touch update or a 2nd gen iPad, It’s a win/win situation for a lot of iOS lovers.


  • True you do see slightly more than on the 3GS and it’s sharper, but the items on the screen are still too small for a majority of people to read without having to pinch/zoom. The primary problem is the 3.5″ screen. Apple missed an opportunity not going with a 4.3″ retina display. That could have been a huge game changer. But because of Jobs stubbornness of sticking to 3.5″ it won’t matter much with devices like the Streak coming on board. The Streak is the only “real” convergent data/voice that is practical and truly portable. It’s the best of both worlds for voice and data in one device and, let’s not forget, one data/voice plan.

  • If Apple was smart and Jobs ego didn’t get in the way, they would streamline their product line by combining the next iPhone and iPod Touch into one device that’s between 4.5″ – 5″ and reduce the size of the iPad to around 7″-7.5″ with the same high resolution screen if possible. Of course, they would need to add cameras and removable memory storage for the iPad and removable storage for the new combined iPhone/Touch device. No need to have different models with different storage capacities further simplifying the product line.


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