iPod

Hands-on with iOS 9 beta 4

I've been playing with iOS 9 beta 4 on my iPod touch, iPhone and iPad for the last few hours, and I'd like to share my thoughts on the beta release.

First and foremost, this is the first beta firmware to work on the iPod touch 6th generation, and as expected, it runs like a champ. The iOS 9 beta on the old iPod touch 5th generation was barely usable due to the device's lack of power, but this new iPod touch handles things with no issues.

Another big feature is the return of Home Sharing. As promised by Apple executive Eddy Cue, Home Sharing is now back where it belongs in the Music section of the Settings app.

I've created a video walkthrough to showcase many of the new features found in iOS 9 beta 4. Have a look and let me know what you think about this latest beta release.

iPod nano/shuffle won’t store your offline Apple Music collections due to piracy concerns

There will be no transferring your offline Apple Music collections onto the new iPod nano or iPod shuffle because Apple is overly concerned about piracy, as it should be, and so the company's decided to play it safe instead.

As 9to5Mac discovered Friday, attempting to transfer Apple Music songs marked for offline playback onto your nano or shuffle via iTunes produces a “some of the items in the iTunes library were not copied to the iPod because Apple Music songs cannot be copied to an iPod” message.

Of course, you can still sync your own songs that you imported into iTunes and music purchased on the iTunes Store, just like before, but Apple Music including songs marked for offline playback is off limits to the nano and shuffle.

iPod touch 6th generation review

I debated over it for a while, but I just couldn't resist ordering a brand new 6th generation iPod touch after looking at the specs of the device. The new iPod touch, despite not changing much from a use-case standpoint, is quite the compelling device.

When you consider how underpowered the previous generation iPod touch was, this really is a major upgrade. You're essentially getting an iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus level 64-bit A8 system on a chip (SoC) with its M8 motion coprocessor, along with double the RAM at 1GB.

The SoC and RAM alone would be enough to blow the previous iPod touch, which is downright painful to use on iOS 8, out of the water, but Apple has included significant improvements to the iSight Camera—bumped up from 5 megapixels to 8 megapixels—there's faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, an upgrade to Bluetooth 4.1, a 128GB storage capacity option, and more.

Make no mistake, the iPod touch 6th generation is more powerful than some of the lower tier phones hitting the market today. If you're serious about gaming, photos, and video, but don't need the capabilities of a phone, then the iPod touch 6th generation might be considered a bargain.

Watch our full video review for the unboxing, benchmarks, comparisons to the 5th-gen iPod touch and much more.

Here are some interesting tidbits about Apple’s ‘best iPod touch yet’

Apple yesterday refreshed its aging lineup of iPod-branded music players. By and large, the iPod touch has received its most substantial upgrade yet as Apple really went all out with upgrades on the hardware front.

Not only does the new iPod touch run the latest Apple-designed “A8” processor as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but includes the M8 motion coprocessor, a much-improved eight-megapixel camera on the back, three times faster Wi-Fi and the latest in Bluetooth networking.

Here are some interesting tidbits related to the iPod touch's hardware surprises.

Apple gives iPod touch A8/M8 CPU, 8MP camera, 3x faster Wi-Fi & more, new nano/shuffle colors

Following a recent discovery of hidden graphics assets inside iTunes 12.2 which have hinted at an imminent iPod refresh, Apple on Wednesday quietly refreshed its dedicated music player family with a press release and a website update.

The headline new model is a much improved sixth-generation iPod touch, “the best iPod touch yet.”

It now features the Apple-designed 64-bit A8 processor, essentially the same chip that powers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and runs Apple's M8 motion coprocessor. Apple really went all out with the iPod touch: there's three times faster Wi-Fi 802.11ac and also an improved FaceTime HD camera with an updated sensor and burst mode for even better selfies.

But the good news doesn't stop here: the back-facing iSight camera has received a substantial upgrade, going from five to eight megapixels with slo-mo and burst mode, 1080p video capture at 30FPS, cinematic video stabilization and more.

The screen size has remained the same, measuring four inches diagonally, and there's no Touch ID. The device runs iOS 8.4 with the all-new Music app and Apple Music integration. As for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, they have received a minor refresh with new color options available.

How Apple could reinvigorate the iPod line

It's no secret that iPod sales continue to decline year after year. Many of the people who were once targets for the iPod now opt for iPhones or iPads.

This isn't exactly a terrible problem for Apple to have. The company has never had qualms about cannibalizing its own products for the sake of the greater good.

But with Apple's historic, and now renewed, love of music, it just wouldn't seem right to let the iPod—at least its conceptual existence, and not so much the name—fade out into the sunset.

For that reason, I think that Apple should go back to the drawing board. Even if this year's rumored across-the-board iPod update is nothing more than just a meager spec bump and minor changes—I think that ultimately, the line is due for a complete overhaul.

How could Apple reinvigorate its flagship music player? By doing the following five things...

New iPods could be announced next Tuesday

If you're buying an iPod music player these days, hold off your purchase for just a little bit longer as Apple is thought to be unveiling new iPod touch, iPod nano and iPod shuffle models next Tuesday.

According to French blog iGen.fr, a pretty reliable source of Apple leaks, the iPod touch could get a substantial refresh in the form of a 64-bit processor.

The iPod nano and shuffle models are said to be receiving only cosmetic changes.

Hidden iTunes assets hint at new iPod colors

Apple yesterday unleashed iTunes 12.2 with Apple Music and Beats 1 integration and as per usual, enthusiasts combing through the installer have managed to find traces of unreleased products.

Hidden device graphics uncovered by MacRumors depicts new color options for iPods, including a gold iPod nano and a brighter pink iPod shuffle.

It's unclear if the unreleased devices are coming, if they might offer only new color options or if a more substantial hardware upgrade is in tow for the aging music player lineup, but additional assets suggest the new colors will be applied across the lineup.

Charge up to six devices at the same time with the Rapid Charge USB Wall Charger

It is highly likely that you have three, four, or even six rechargeable mobile devices in your home (possibly more). Whether you are using a smartphone, tablet, e-reader, wireless speaker, or some other device that uses a USB cable to recharge, there are probably a lot more gadgets lying around than you realize.

Choetech makes a six port Rapid Charge USB Wall Charger that, not only supports charging of six devices at the same time, but also provides fast charging with up to 10-amp output.

Sign of the times: Apple stops reporting iPod sales

The original iPod music player debuted on October 23, 2001, about eight and a half months after iTunes for OS X was released. The inaugural model was the size of a standard deck of cards, measuring 2.4 inches wide, four inches tall and 0.78 inches thick.

The music player had a tiny hard drive with only five gigabytes of storage, a monochromatic LCD screen, a mechanical click wheel interface for going through your music and a price tag of $399.

It took some time, but the iPod and the iTunes Music Store eventually went on to change the entire music industry and rebrand Apple as a music company. And now, after thirteen years, 400 million units sold and $65 billion in cumulative revenue, the iPod has quietly disappeared from Apple’s public reports.