New Apple iPods, EarPods, iPhone 5 and iOS 6

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Today Apple announced the completely redesigned fifth-generation iPod touch, a brand new iPod nano and the iPhone 5, most of which run iOS 6, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. The displays on the new devices are remarkably larger, yet they’re all thinner and lighter than before. Read on for the most interesting highlights from the big event.

The new iPod touch

The new iPod touch shares many of the features found in the iPhone 5. Viewing it from the front, it looks remarkably similar to the new iPhone; however, they are very different looking on the back. The iPod touch is now only 6.1mm thick. That’s 1.5mm thinner than the new iPhone 5, and almost as thin as the new iPod nano. It will be available in 32- and 64GB versions in six colors: Black/Slate, White/Silver, Pink, Yellow, Blue and PRODUCT RED.

There are many sizable upgrades on the new iPod touch, but the biggest among them is the screen. It shares the same 4” Retina display that’s found on the new iPhone 5. The larger, high-resolution screen has an impact on everything you do. Photos and videos have more real estate, and it can fit five rows of app icons on every screen. The multi-touch display has gotten taller, but it isn’t any wider. You can still control the device comfortably in one hand, with a single thumb.

Siri, the intelligent voice command assistant from the iPhone, is now included on the new iPod touch. Thanks to the included new iOS 6 operating system, Siri is even more powerful. She can supply answers to questions about sports scores and statistics, and recommend restaurants and movies. Too exhausted to tap out that Facebook post or Tweet by hand? Siri will do it for you on the new iPod touch.

The built-in iSight camera on the new iPod has a five-megapixel sensor with backside illumination, a hybrid IR filter, autofocus, face detection, HDR, panorama mode, geotagging and a built-in flash. It shares the new sapphire crystal, five-element lens that’s found on the iPhone 5, and has a maximum aperture of f/2.4. You can shoot 1920 x 1080p Full HD video at 30 fps with the back camera, and the front camera can take 1.2 megapixel photos and shoot 1280 x 720p video at 30 fps. You can tap the screen to take stills while shooting video, and tap to focus as well.

The body is made of anodized aluminum, and weighs 0.194 lbs (88 grams), making it the lightest iPod touch yet. You can connect it to sync and charge with the new Lightning Connector, which is a smaller version of the old 30-pin docking port. The new connector is much smaller and easier to attach. Battery life has been increased, and it’s powered by a dual core A5 processor with dual core graphics, which sets you up nicely to explore the 100,000+ games available on the App Store. You can go wireless with built-in Bluetooth 4.0, 5 GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and AirPlay mirroring. And if you’re worried about dropping such an advanced device, it comes with a matching “iPod touch loop,” which is a matching color hand strap that attaches to a nifty circle that pops out of the back of the device. The new iPods also come with a pair of the new Apple EarPods. I’ll elaborate on those later in the article.

The new iPod nano

The new iPod nano is a tiny mobile device with 16GB of built-in storage, which enables you to watch widescreen videos, listen to music, look at photos and listen to FM radio. In keeping with the theme of making the products both smaller and larger, the completely redesigned iPod nano is the thinnest iPod ever, yet its 2.5” multi-touch display is almost twice the size of the one on the previous generation. It’s available in Charcoal, Grey, Purple, Blue, Green, Yellow and Pink.

Bluetooth 4.0 is now built into the iPod nano, which makes it possible to use separately available wireless bluetooth headphones and speakers. If you’re in a vehicle that supports Bluetooth on its stereo system, the new iPod nano can wirelessly connect to it as well. The built-in FM radio allows you to pause playback, and pick up where you left off later. You can rewind back up to 15 minutes, and fast forward to the live broadcast. The new iPod nano has special fitness-oriented features and a built-in pedometer, too.

Like an iPhone, the new iPod nano features a Home button, and like the other new Apple hardware that was just announced, it can connect and sync with the new Lightning Connector. Like the last generation of iPod nano, the new one doesn’t run iOS. It has an operating system called the iPod nano OS, which behaves very much like a regular iOS device, it’s just even more simplified and stripped down. The app icons are round, as opposed to being squares with rounded corners, all designed to make it easier to use.

iPhone 5

It’s been two years since Apple released an iPhone with a complete hardware overhaul, and while at first glance the new iPhone 5 may look similar to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s, it’s been completely redesigned. It’s notably thinner and lighter than the last generation of iPhones, and it has an eye-catching finely machined bezel that catches light like a piece of jewelry.

Like the new iPod touch, the biggest upgrade on the new iPhone is its 4-inch 1136 x 640 Retina multi-touch display. The larger screen lets you see and do a lot more, such as take advantage of its new Maps app and turn-by-turn GPS navigation. The last two versions of the iPhone featured glass on both the front and back, but the new iPhone 5 only has a glass front. The back is a solid piece of aluminum. It’s available in two color combinations: Black & Slate and White & Silver. The back features a matte metal finish, and on the Black & Slate model, dark-hued metal wraps around the device.

The iPhone 5 was built to operate on fast LTE mobile networks, and unlike competing smart phones, it does so without negatively impacting battery life. The processor has been upgraded to the new A6 chip, and Apple claims that it’s twice as fast as the A5 chip that was used in the previous generation. The built-in iSight camera now features better low-light performance, and it has a panorama mode that can capture sweeping 28-megapixel vistas. The new iPhone 5 also utilizes the new Lightning Connector.

iOS 6

iOS 6 is the latest incarnation of Apple’s mobile operating system, and its ease of use and the genuinely pleasant user experience it provides makes it stand out from the competition. The main new features of iOS 6 are its deep Facebook integration, the new Maps app, an even more multi-lingual Siri, and the Passbook app, which organizes digital plane tickets, coupons and movie tickets.

Maps uses vector-based graphics, so what you see will be very sharp, even zoomed in. You can tilt and rotate the views, and check out photorealistic flyovers of metropolitan areas. The aforementioned turn-by-turn navigation in Maps is in 3D perspective, and the instructions are spoken. On your way to your destination, you can ask Siri where you can pick up a bite to eat.  

New Apple EarPods

The new Apple EarPods are in-ear headphones that come bundled with the new iPods and the iPhone 5. They’re also sold as stand-alone accessory. The goal of the EarPods was to create an earphone that was a universal size that could comfortably fit into everyone’s ears. During R&D, Apple performed 3D scans of hundreds of people's ears, trying to find the commonalities among all of them. In order to achieve the best sound quality, EarPods feature sound ports on the inside, rear and the stem of the earpiece.

The new Apple iPods will be available in October, 2012.

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