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New iPod Touch 2021 tipped for fall launch — here's your first look

iPod touch 2021 renders
(Image credit: @SteveMoser / @AppleLe257 / @Apple_Tomorrow)

The iPod Touch hasn’t been touched by Apple since 2019. But that could be about to change. According to MacRumors writer Steve Moser, we may not be waiting too long for a stylish refresh.

“This fall Apple is planning to release the next version of the iPod Touch,” Moser tweeted, citing a rumor heard from Twitter user @AppleLe257. He included a number of renders created by @Apple_Tomorrow, which we’ve included here.

As you can see, the pictures show a device that looks remarkably like the iPhone 12 with square edges and Face ID for unlocking. That would be a welcome change, given the current iPod Touch design has remained pretty much unchanged from the fifth-generation 2012 version, which looked a lot like the iPhone 5. And while that means it has a home button for navigation, there was no Touch ID built in, so an upgrade to Face ID would be hugely welcome.

iPod touch 2021 renders

(Image credit: @SteveMoser / @AppleLe257 / @Apple_Tomorrow)
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It’s interesting to speculate whether an upgrade to current iPhone design would see other Apple modernizations being introduced to a new iPod Touch. The most recent model, for example, still has a 4-inch screen, which is a relic by modern standards – even Apple’s iPhone 12 mini packs a 5.4-inch display. The iPod Touch has kept the 3.5mm headphone jack, which makes sense for a device that’s dedicated to music and video consumption, but Apple’s phones haven’t had that connectivity since the iPhone 6s and original iPhone SE

Of course, even if a new iPod Touch appears with iPhone 12 looks, that doesn’t mean it will have iPhone 12 internals. The last iPod Touch used the Apple A10 Fusion chip, which was already showing its age, having debuted three years earlier with the iPhone 7. Bluntly, if Apple is looking to replicate the current iPod Touch’s $199 starting price this time around, then there’s no way it will include the iPhone 12’s A14 processor.

iPod touch 2021 renders

(Image credit: @SteveMoser / @AppleLe257 / @Apple_Tomorrow)

It’s important to note that even Moser himself calls this a “rumor” rather than a bona fide leak. “Please note that this information has not been independently verified and should be treated as a rumor, not a leak,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet. But, as Moser notes, some credence is given by Apple’s addition of the words “iPod Touch” to the Apple Music PR text last November.   

We will have to wait and see. Apple’s recent moves in the audio space – from introducing the $549 AirPods Max headphones, to adding lossless audio to Apple Music at no extra charge – point to a company that’s serious about music. Surely giving the original dedicated portable music player a 2021 makeover would be the biggest statement of intent yet.