In early September of this year, Apple introduced the fourth generation of its popular iPod touch. The new device is thinner and lighter, but otherwise looks like previous versions of the iPod touch. The best enhancements are under the hood or in software.
Under the hood
The new iPod touch incorporates Apple's new LED-backlit Retina display, with 4 times the number of pixels found in previous screens and 24-bit color. Gamers will appreciate this enhancement, but it also improves Web browsing, YouTube viewing, and other visual activities. In addition to the standard accelerometer, the new iTouch has a 3-axis gyroscope built into it. These features should also make for a better gaming experience for apps that take advantage of them.
The A4 chip found in the new iPhone 4 powers the fourth generation iPod touch, which should speed things up a bit and extend battery life. (Apple claims the device will get 40 hours on a fully-charged battery.) Finally, the new device has both front-facing and rear-facing cameras. Both allow you to capture still images and video, but the camera on the back of the device also lets you record HD video, which can be edited using an onboard feature incorporated into the Camera app. Note that the still image quality of the rear-facing camera is less than 1 megapixel and the iPod touch does not have an LED flash. The front facing camera supports FaceTime.
Incorporates iOS 4.1 enhancements
The new iPod touch ships with iOS 4.1 installed and includes enhancements found in that software. The most important of these are as follows:
Game Center is a social networking feature that allows gamers to find friends, use an"auto match" feature to play multiplayer games, and track your achievements.
FaceTime takes advantage of the front-facing camera and allows you to place a video call with other users via a Wi-Fi connection. You can use the rear-facing camera to show what you're looking at. (Limited to other iPhone 4 or iPod touch gen 4 users).
iMovie app lets you edit your videos and add titles and transitions.
AirPlay lets you stream audio, video, and photo content from your iPod touch to your TV via Apple TV.
iOS 4.1 upgrade for existing iPod touch users
Existing users of the 2nd and 3rd generation of the iPod touch can upgrade to iOS 4.1 for free through iTunes. Note that multitasking, custom wallpaper, and Bluetooth keyboard support is only available for 3rd generation devices and later.
The iPod touch 4th generation is available through Apple's online store (store.apple.com), Apple Stores, and other retailers. Prices are as follows: $229 (8GB file storage), $299 (16GB), $399 (64GB).