iPod touch 4 has Retina Display but no IPS

Apple didn't list IPS (inter plane switching) as part of the iPod touch 4 specs for a reason -- the iPod touch 4 screen, while LED and "Retina Display" 960x640 resolution lacks the IPS technology of the iPhone 4 display.

IPS, which Apple has rolled out for everything from iMac to iPad to iPhone 4 provides a much greater viewing range than a standard display.

So the still camera isn't the only step down when you go from iPhone 4 to iPod touch, but does anyone out there care as much about IPS?


Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

iOS apps growing faster than iTunes music?

Next up →

Apple releases iOS 4.1 for iPhone, iPod touch

Reader comments

iPod touch 4 has Retina Display but no IPS


Nah... I personally wouldn't care if it has IPS or not. If anything it might add some privacy from noisy people. lol

You know I had not noticed IPS in my iPhone or iPad, until you pointed out its absence from the new iPt. Hah, that's actually pretty cool.
Not a deal breaker though

No IPS, no GPS, no Cell radio, no auto-focus cameras, no LED flash, extremely low res back camera, and a tinny sounding speaker.
Of all those the only one that bothers me is that they didn't spend an extra maybe $10 manufacturing cost on an LED flash and the back camera to make it auto-focus and at least 2MP.

yes I do care maybe next year I can't believe that Apple does not mach the iPod Touch specs to the iPhone there is a lot more money to be made with the iPod Touch see how more people buy it. I am not buying this year no need to upgrade my 3rd generation.

And just to be clear, I was simply comparing what the iPhone has the iTouch doesn't since some people want to try to claim that the iTouch shouldn't have a respectable still camera because the iPhone is $600.

Not sayin' "I told you so", but... I friggin' told you so.
I know, I know. You have to be responsible reporting the news. Thanks for checking it out, and finally posting. Even if I didn't get a "Thanks, mrjr84" shoutout. ;)
It's definitely a disappointment, but not a dealbreaker, per se. I'll probably still get one for the wife so we can FaceTime.

i am SOOO on the fence with this one. I want, then I don't want, then I want again.
Can I use an old iPhone 3G as an iPod if I don't have it set up as a phone?

Would have been nice, but not necessary. I am really disappointed in the camera. I just do not see why they would put out a device that is new, and updated, but not the camera. May be next year. Bad move on Apple's part.

That would then sound like another form over function line of BS. I'm skeptical about not being able to fit a basic 2MP auto-focus lens or even just an auto-focus lens for that matter and LED flash into the case even with the thinner casing. But if that is true, is there any justifiable reason that the iTouch needed to be 1/20th of an inch thinner. Because if they couldn't fit a respectable camera in there with that loss of depth then there is certainly reason for it to have remained the same depth as the 3rd Gen as I know a respectable camera would fit in that space.
And how many people honestly care that it's 1/20th of an inch thinner? Sure it was interest when it was showcased but who is actually looking at that as a selling point, especially for those looking to upgrade?

While I don't normally look at my iPhone at such an extreme angle the viewing angle on the iPhone 4 is really really good. On my iPhone 3G if you viewed it from the top/bottom at a good angle the colors would invert as well, this does not happen on my iPhone 4.

I don't think it should be a big deal. People are wanting too much from an IPOD! Stop complaining about everything. It shouldn't be an iPhone without the phone, it should be an Mp3 player with some cool features. If you people want an iPod Touch with all of the iPhone 4 features, go buy an iPhone 4 and leave it on airplane mode. Give it a rest, seriously.

iPod touch isn't subsidized by AT&T, so Apple needs to bring its hardware cost down as low as possible. That's why the camera doesn't have the same resolution as iPhone 4's and that's why the presumably less costly non-IPS display is used. But the screen pixel size must be the same as iPhone 4's to maintain a consistent iOS app GUI, hence Retina resolution.

@ Erik - "And how many people honestly care that it’s 1/20th of an inch thinner?" I see your point. Apple made the touch thinner because they could, not because they had to. The touch has no competition, so there's no need to out-thin anything else on the market. But that lack of competition also means Apple doesn't need to out-spec anyone else. In fact, they clearly want to keep the iPhone 4 at the top of the pocket-sized iOS iDevice line. So the touch will get less costly components. And don't forget that the touch isn't subsidized by AT&T.

@ Erik - "I’m skeptical about not being able to fit a basic 2MP auto-focus lens or even just an auto-focus lens for that matter and LED flash into the case..." Apple is making the touch a clear #2 in its pocket-sized iOS device line. The last thing Apple wants is for the touch to cannibalize iPhone 4 sales. They don't want you to get a free krap phone from AT&T and then buy a touch. That means less revenue for Apple. So they make sure people know the touch is less than an "iPhone without the phone." If you want all the goodies, you need to buy the iPhone 4. Simple enough for you to understand?

Sounds like Apple is using a video camera kit and pulling stills, rather than a still camera kit and pulling video like iPhone 4 does :-/

If I just wanted a PHONE with a high-end camera, I'd go by a Droid X.
I never said I wanted "all the goodies" just a decent camera lens that actually, probably costs as much to manufacture as the POS lens they put in there anyways and an LED Flash. Both of those are not expensive additions like say GPS circuitry or an IPS display. It's not an unreasonable request for a device like the iPod Touch that is trying to be an all-in-one portable MEDIA device. It's Apple trying to milk money out of people because they know there are people that will buy this new version and then buy the new one again next year when they include the cheap upgrades that should have been in this version, like a decent camera lens.

I'll be holding it in my hands and looking right at it why would I need to look at it from all different directions? It's a feature that is just there and not many people care about, I'm sure many people will get pissed and say stuff, but it isn't a big deal. Basically if you want a better camera and an IPS screen then go buy an iPhone 4. I couldn't care less about what megapixel the camera is, I'll be using as a point and shoot while I'm out places. If I want a better camera then I'll use my 14MP camera, it's not like I'll be taking a photo shoot with the thing.

I'd be willing to pay the $30 or $40 dollars more in manufacturing cost for a better quality camera and the ips display..... But that may not be the opinion of the masses...

The IPS might cost that much more but the camera and a flash would be negligible cost at best.
I'm now waiting for the Archos 43 to release next month with a 2MP camera and flash at $199. It'll be a little extra hassle needing to side-load any apps I might want since Andorid Market is only available on Cell enabled devices but that can just count as an offset to not having to deal with iTunes, proprietary "USB" cables/chargers, having a mini-HDMI output, and not having to deal with re-encoding media for the iTouch because it supports a smaller number of media formats.

@Erik, geez. you are such a baby... If you don't want an IPOD, dont buy one.. simple enough.. apple caters to no one if you haven't noticed. The thing is a freaking music player geez.. not a camera, its ment for listening to music, and taking some random facebook pics, not going out and doing a photo shoot. So go buy a 50 dollar MP3 player, and a 170 dollar camera, and there ya go.

I think people don't realize that concessions have to be made to get the ipt 4 even remotely in the ballpark of the subsidized cost of the iPhone. In reality, an iPhone costs over $2000 if you fulfill the contract (though it doesn't all go to Apple). I guarantee that Apples margin on the touch is significantly lower than that of the iPhone because of that price point, even with the technological concessions that were made.

The major cost factors effecting the $400 price difference between the iPod Touch 4 and the iPhone4 right now are: IPS, GPS, obvious lack of a Cell radio, and the iTouch 4 has half the RAM of the iPhone4. Those are were the real cost savings are coming from between the two devices. The $10 they saved using a 0.7MP camera is piddly by comparison.
You think it's unreasonable to want a portable media device to be able to take casual, in-focus pictures? It's not like I'm complaining that it doesn't have 200x zoom capabilities (or even 2x zoom for that matter) or a 12MP resolution. It's a portable MEDIA device, meaning music, video AND pictures. It's not unreasonable to be upset that they didn't spend an extra $10 on cheap auto-focus lens and an LED flash. The Nano, Shuffle, and Classic are music players (especially after they removed the Nano's video capabilities), the Touch has always been touted as being more than just another music player.

the point erik is making is that why wouldn't apple put in a more decent camera lens if the cost to them is negligible.

yeah, I have got the news. But I still love my iPod touch. It's a phone, without the phone, with a new Retina Display, the A4 CPU, two cameras which allow for FaceTime calling and 720p video recording, just magical!
What's more, with the 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen, Retina Display, which means it had equal resolution (960 x 640) and pixel density (326 ppi) as the iPhone 4, all make watching video entertainment an utterly new experience on it, U know Im a totally movies fans, now apple's iMovie upgrade adds the support for 4 generation, sounds maybe I don't need to use iFunia iPod video Converter to do the converting, at least sometimes much trouble was saved.
Besides, FaceTime calls and Game Center, can't wait to get one and experience!
Aha, overall, have to say Apple is the best. They have the ability to change the momentum of the market with great products. I like it!!

@Erik, yea, I do. So go find you an alternative... oh thats right... there isn't any.... so either, buy it, or don't. Apple isn't Kodak, I don't think they care one bit about not putting a giant camera in a MP3 PLAYER.

Anandtech review, "...the iPod Touch is admittedly less of an iPod and more of a general purpose iOS device that happens to play music."
Here's hoping next month's Archos 43 release gets it right rather than having to wait until next year to see the specs that should have been included in this year's iTouch.

I do. I was watching Inception on my iPod Touch today and found that the blacks were really washed out. This is a bummer because a lot of this film takes place in the dark. How am I supposed to enjoy a movie if I can't see the screen?

The blacks have nothing to do with IPS. It's the backlighting and LCD screen which are identical to iPhone 4. Also surprised nobody ever mentions one thing the IPT has trounced the iPhone with which is storage space. I'm a media junkie and filled 32GB of my 64GB IPT in 3 weeks. If I had and iPhone I'd be out of space and juggling crap around in my computer.