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Hands-on: the new iPod touch is faster and shoots better photos

Apple refreshed the iPod touch line for the first time in three years yesterday, adding new color options and bumping up the specs to bring the legacy device closer to the performance of current iPhones.

The new iPod touch is just as thin (6.1mm) and light (88 grams) as the 2012 version, but it still feels impossibly light. Hollow, even. Inside the new iPod is a lot of the same stuff that makes the iPhone 6 perform so beautifully. Apple's added the 64-bit A8 processor for faster performance, and it shows. Apps load quickly, and it takes less time to switch between them. Web pages quickly snap into view, and videos start up. (All of this happens solely over Wi-Fi, of course.) You can also now track your activity with the touch, because Apple's motion co-processor (the M8 chip) is inside as well.

One of the biggest upgrades to the touch is the addition of an 8-megapixel camera in back — a nice bump up from the 5-megapixel shooter found on the 2012 model. It can't shoot video at 240 frames per second, but aside from that, features are similar and the results look good. The cameras on iPads and iPods tend to lag behind the ones found in Apple's phones, so it's nice to see a decent sensor here for once.

The new iPod Touch next to an iPhone 6

Everything else is just as you'd expect. The iPod touch comes with the newest version of iOS (8.4), so it's Apple Music-ready. There's a front-facing camera for FaceTime and selfies, the battery can stretch to 40 hours without video, and there are apps you can't delete, like Stocks and Game Center. The only obvious omission is the silver wrist strap connector that used to occupy the bottom left corner on the back of the iPod Touch.

Apple also released new color options for the iPod nano and the iPod shuffle yesterday. Each device is now available in dark blue, hot pink, and gold, in addition to existing silver, black, and red options. Those don't come with any other software or hardware upgrades. The Nano still runs a strange, pared down version of iOS 6, full of bubble icons and harsh gradients, and the shuffle is still the same screen-less clip device.

All three new devices are already on the shelves at Apple stores. The new iPod Touch starts at $199 for 16GB of storage, with options all the way up to $399 for a 128GB version. The iPods nano and shuffle cost $149 and $49, respectively.


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