It's obvious that the iPhone 5 is the star of today's show, but Apple's not letting its iPod line go untouched. The newest iPod touch takes a note from the newfangled display on its cellular sibling, bringing a vaster panel (the same 4-inch, 1,136 x 640 one found on the new iPhone). At 88 grams and just 6.1mm thick, it's also shockingly thin and light -- of course, the anodized aluminum backing makes it feel like a premium piece of kit. Premium, as in, right up there with the iPhone. In a world where Apple's seeing its iPod sales sink quarter after quarter due to self-cannibalization from the iPad and iPhone, it's interesting (but appreciated) to see so much effort placed on the new iPod touch.
The introduction of the dual-core A5 chip (that's dual-core on the CPU and the graphics side) is a huge boon for the touch. Apple's claiming a 7x improvement in graphics, and given that this thing is claiming such a huge swath of the mobile gaming market, it's pretty much a necessity. Indeed, our interactions with the device were notably faster than on the prior touch. We didn't exactly have 40 hours here to test the audio playback claims (in fact, we didn't even have eight to test the claims on video), but you can bet that'll be a huge selling point.
5th-generation iPod touch hands-on
Around back, it's impossible to glaze over the iSight (5-megapixel, f/2.4) camera with LED flash. It's actually an Apple first for the iTouch line, and while it's not quite as high-end as the shooter in the iPhone 5, it's unquestionably an improvement from the past. Oh, and that Panorama feature? It's here, too, along with Shared Photo Streams. Apple's making it quite clear that the new iPod touch is built to rival traditional point-and-shoot cameras, with the newfangled iPod touch loop acting as a conventional camera strap. (Guess no one's interested in optical zoom any longer, huh?) That aside, the device seemed to handle 1080p video editing just fine, and as with the iPhone 5, the panel was decidedly luscious.
In our limited testing, Siri worked exactly as expected. In other words, it's useful so long as you have WiFi nearby, but due to Apple's refusal to pop a cellular modem in here, it won't do you any good when you're offline.
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Update: We've added a hands-on video, which you'll find above.
Zach Honig contributed to this report.