Apple recently launched the latest iPhone SE, now with 5G, and the smartphone was divisive, to say the least. On the other hand, it’s an affordable iPhone with the latest A15 Bionic chipset, so you know you’re going to get great performance. On the other hand, it was launched with a design that Apple has been using since 2014 with the iPhone 6 – bezels and all.
Some may scoff at the fact that Apple is repackaging the design of a nearly 10-year-old smartphone into the latest affordable iPhone, but not me. In fact, I’m actually tempted to buy an iPhone SE, but only because Apple refuses to give me what I want: New and improved iPod Touch.
Still a fan of iPod Touch
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about wanting a new iPod Touch. Last year, some rumors circulated that Apple might release a redesigned version, but then 2021 came and went without a new iPod Touch. I was very disappointed, and I am still disappointed with every Apple event when they don’t announce a new iPod Touch. That’s literally all I want.
The current model of iPod Touch uses a very old chip from 2016 and an older design based on the iPhone 5. It has a four-inch screen that seems pretty small these days. Heck, I’m not even sure if the apps are compatible with that size anymore, let alone if even half the apps can run on the old chipset found in the current iPod Touch. I’m sure they probably can with some limitations, but I’m not willing to buy this iPod to try it out.
The reasons why I still like the iPod Touch remain the same. In a world where there don’t seem to be any decent, affordable music players, especially not running Android, the iPod Touch is a great alternative and secondary device where I can store my music and some apps, offload some of that usage from my smartphone and save some battery power. In my college days, I often wore my smartphone and iPod Touch. I also enjoyed it because, as a hardcore Windows (and eventually Android) person, it allowed me to use iOS without committing to buying an expensive iPhone.
In addition, the new iPod Touch can still make money for Apple by giving access to its various services such as Apple Music, Apple TV +, Apple Arcade, etc.
However, Apple hasn’t updated the iPod Touch since 2019, and even that only came with a “newer” chipset, which had already been around for a few years. And after not receiving an update last year, honestly, I’m a little concerned that Apple won’t give us the newly redesigned iPod Touch of my dreams. Something with a bigger screen, an updated chipset, and maybe even a headphone jack. Enter: iPhone SE.
iPhone SE could be a viable alternative to iPod Touch
The new iPhone SE may not be the most beautiful smartphone, even by Apple standards, but that’s not what affordable phones are known for. It’s here to reach people who wouldn’t be able to afford a more expensive flagship smartphone, and in these cases, looks aren’t a priority. Apple exudes a familiar design for all it’s worth, and frankly, I’d be OK with it if it gave us a cheaper iPhone. In fact, it’s almost cheap enough to be considered an iPod Touch alternative.
This may sound silly because at the end of the day I’m still buying an iPhone, but if I bought an iPhone SE, it would be with no intention of putting a SIM in it. I’ll keep it on Wi-Fi, download the apps and tunes I need, and get on with my day with my smartphone and “new iPod Touch.” However, this method can also work for another demographic – a much smaller demographic category.
One of the arguments I made about why the iPod Touch is still such an important device is that parents can give it to kids as a kind of smartphone training wheels. It will come with plenty of bells and whistles but no commitment and at a much lower price tag (compared to a typical iPhone). With the iPhone SE, you can still make it happen. $450 isn’t terrible, compared to a standard iPhone, and when you think your child is smartphone ready, you can just insert a SIM card, and they’ll be connected to a modern 5G network, all without having to buy a new device. I’m not a father, but that kind of thing seems like a nice deal to me.
Mark Grumman of Bloomberg has argued that Apple should consider selling the previous iPhone SE model at $199 less. That way, you’d give Apple a reason to take the iPod Touch out of its lineup (to my dismay) while still making money on services you can still access from the device, thus making up for any lost profit margins from cheaper hardware. This will also push the iPhone to a new low, allowing it to better compete with some of the best budget Android phones in different regions where iPhone sales may not be particularly strong.
It’s time to forget the iPod Touch
It seems more and more unlikely that I’ll ever get the iPod Touch redesign of my dreams. Who knows, Apple might surprise us and randomly release a new iPod Touch at some point. Until then, the new iPhone SE looks more and more like a viable alternative to my iPod Touch issues, with it being the most affordable way to join the iPhone camp for anyone who doesn’t want to buy a new iPhone 13.