A bigger iPod touch: Engineered for even more funness?

In late June Apple rejiggered the iPod touch line, making a consistent feature set across the line, dropping the price and lowering the cost of additional storage capacity. It's probably enough to provoke some short-term sales increases of the iPod touch, but I'm more interested in what comes next. What I'd really like to see is a bigger iPod touch.

Now, we've heard a lot about a bigger iPhone. The rumor has been repeated often enough that many of us take for granted that it's on the way, though Apple hasn't actually said a word one way or the other.

The case for a bigger iPod touch

Assuming, for the moment, that the rumors are correct and that a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 is coming this fall, wouldn't it be great to see a 5.5-inch iPod touch, too?

I play a fair number of games on my iPhone 5S, and I find its 4 inch screen simply too small. As an active game interface, which most games require me to use, the 4-inch screen often gets in my way. Or rather, my fingers get in the way of whatever's going on on the screen. What's more, the screen's just too small to render a lot of game objects with enough detail for me to figure out what's going on.

Stepping up to the next largest device, the iPad mini, is just too big. I don't want a tablet — I just want a larger handheld.

I think there's a significant market for a larger iOS device whose main purpose isn't taking phone calls. If you need justification, look at Nintendo's sales of the 3DS XL - the larger-format version of its popular 3DS handheld game system. It's been out since the summer of 2012 and by the end of last year had sold over 15 million units.

By comparison, the smaller 3DS, which began shipping more than a year earlier in February 2011, has sold 43 million units to date. Obviously 3DS XL sales are a fraction of 3DS sales, but it's still a pretty significant fraction, and a good demonstration that given the choice, many gamers will opt for a larger device.

Gaming, of course, only scratches the surface of what a larger iPod touch could do - they're excellent media consumption devices, fine for messaging, surfing the web and other stuff. But games continue to rank as the number one category of apps in the App Store and they're unquestionably a huge draw for buyers of iOS devices.

iPod touches, in particular, appeal to families looking for systems for their kids without resorting to higher-priced iPhones and iPads.

Faster under the hood?

If Apple is working on a larger format iPod touch, I'd be willing to bet that it's going to have a much faster processor under the hood than the current model.

Today's iPod touch uses the A5 processor - the same processor that powers the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, Apple TV and iPad mini. It's in good company, but even at the time it debuted it was slower than its contemporary, the iPhone 5.

If Apple continues to keep the iPod touch a step behind the iPhone, my assumption is that Apple would stick an A7 processor inside of it, since that's last year's hardware. It makes sense to bring it to at least the A7, though, since Apple's focusing a lot of attention on Metal, new graphics technology that promises to speed up gaming graphics and computational work in iOS 8.

The Bottom Line

I've said in the past that I'd buy one if Apple makes a larger iPhone available. But a few weeks ago on The iMore Show podcast, Rene Ritchie asked me what I'd do if I could get a larger iPod touch instead.

I have to admit that the idea of a larger iPod touch actually appeals to me more than the idea of a larger iPhone. I've gotten quite used to having a small enough phone to slip in my pocket without noticing too much — jumping from 4 to 5 or 5.5 inches would be a pretty significant change. But a larger iPod touch isn't something I'd have in my pocket all the time.

How kids and others would handle it is a different story, though. That's a lot of device to carry around with you when you're 10 years old. But if they can manage their 3DS XL now, I'm sure they'd be able to handle a bigger iPod touch.

Are you looking forward to getting a bigger iPhone or iPod touch? Is games a big draw for you? Let me know what you think in the comments.

  • At what point then does a bigger iPod Touch blur the lines between that and an iPad Mini?
  • When you can carry the device comfortably in the front pocket of your pants 24/7. This allows you to surf the internet whenever you are in a free wifi hot spot. Bring it on. I have been dying for this device for far too long now.
  • At the point where the screen size is in between 4 and 8 inches. Lol Posted via iMore App
  • I've never thought about that. I would LOVE IT if apple kept the current sized iPhone (with the exact specs minus the bulk of a giant screen of the rumored iPhone 6) and offered a larger iPod touch in the mix! If probably skip the larger iPod touch for now since I'm rocking a 64gig iPhone 5S and iPad mini with retina, but in the future if my iPad crapped out, or if my eyes start going bad, or something warrants a bigger screen than the current sized iPhone I'd certainly consider the larger iPod touch. I DON'T want to have to carry around a phone physically much bigger than the 5/5S everywhere, and people talking on the phone with phablets/tablones look more ridiculous than people taking pictures or videos with full sized iPads IMO! Sent from the iMore App
  • I don't play a lot of games but I agree with you. I do enjoy games more on something the size of the Note 3. It's big enough to see more while your fingers are on the screen, but not so big that it's awkward to hold or carry with you. My 9 year old and 7 year old would be all over a larger iPod. They are too young for iPhones and will be for a few years. They want iPad mini's to play games on, but I think if they had a choice they would go slightly smaller and get something easier to carry with them. It will an interesting fall. Let's see what Apple does....
  • I agree. Do we think Apple will continue the iPod lineup or expand the iPad lineup. Perhaps the 5.5 inch product is an iPad nano Sent from the iMore App
  • I like that line of thought. Let's go all the way with the phone app for a second. There might be little to no phone functionality difference between iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch if and when they are all able to make phone calls. Sure, it would look stupid to hold a conversation while talking through your iPad. But if you're wearing a bluetooth earpiece, what difference does it make? You wouldn't need to hold up the iPad / iPhone / iPod touch at all. Just leave it on the desk or in your pocket. Of course, the cell carriers would need to be convinced that iPad and iPod touch would be money makers for them. It might only take a Numbers spreadsheet with plenty of dollar signs and trailing zeroes. On the other hand, Apple could ask for a huge subsidy on iPads and iPod touches just like they do with iPhones. And the carriers might balk at the thought of being completely overrun by Apple mobile products of every size. Interested to see what happens in the "iPhablet" space. Phone / no phone? Carrier subsidy / no carrier subsidy? And will any of this happen before "real 4G" is available? LTE is still 3G. The last gasp of the old 3G technology in fact, and it still requires separate voice and data connections. But once the voice and data are combined into a single IP stream, with "real 4G," then there won't be any difference between some potential future iPad's cellular chip and the iPhone's cellular chip. Same Qualcomm part. No technical reason why iPads wouldn't be able to make phone calls.
  • 5.5 inch ipod? Buy a iPad mini.
    One PMP needs portable size (daaaaaaa) the size of iPod is perfect.
    The iPod needs better processor, more RAM (512 mb? Oh god), more battery, and touch ID.
  • an iPad mini does not fit in my pocket
  • The screen size doesn't bother me, but I would like to see a spec boost to at least that of the 5 or 5s. What I would love to see is LTE added to the touch. If they did with the spec boost I would consider it over a new iPhone and go back to a feature phone. It would suit my needs fine.
  • GPS
    is the only thing I miss in the current iPod
  • I want this i want to win it lol
  • I want one device. I keep toying with the idea of just a data enabled ipad mini, but it doesn't fit in my pocket for the times i don't want to carry a bag.
    My brother was gifted a junky 6" android tablet from some no name OEM. It is total garbage, except that I love the size. I'm a tall guy and it fits just fine in my pocket and easily in one hand. My iPad mini fits in one hand but not comfortably. And doens't fit in any of my pants' front pockets. I'm realizing if i could get a data enabled 5.5-6" ipod touch/ipad mini, it may be exactly what i want.
  • The only thing keeping me from getting a new iPod touch is the old slower processor! When the iPhone 6 comes out, I'll buy it and keep my iPhone 5C as an iPod. Sent from the iMore App
  • Quietly laughing at all the people appalled by the thought of a device larger than 4" hah. Posted from my TARDIS!
  • I would love a 5.5 inch iPod touch with 128 GB of storage.
  • They need to release a bigger iPod in terms of storage. The iTunes business model flourishes when songs are sold for $1.29, or $0.99. Considering, I do not have data/wifi everywhere, I still carry around my iPod Classic, that is full at it's max "capacity" of 142gb. I have 318gb of music, at the moment. It is extremely disheartening to have to decide what I want to sync and what I can live without. The truth is, I shouldn't have to live without half of my library at my mobile disposal. They sell these phones with 64gb and all of these other great features, including antennas and TouchID's...for $600+ to those who pay full price. The iPod Classic was what, under $400? I would have no problem paying that amount, or a comparable amount for an iPod that is 320gb or 500gb... and touchscreen with a search function, because when you have a full iPod Classic, it's search function is basically useless.. Anyway, have a great weekend!
  • A 5.5 inch iPod Touch with 128GB storage. Yes please Apple. I would pick one up without hesitation. Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • Hopefully there will be another iPod touch. It's kinda a HUGE history for apple. Steve Jobs would have keep the iPod touch line going no matter what Sent from the iMore App
  • I keep saying it: iPod touch, larger screen, more current chipset, and LTE=bye bye phone.
  • An ipod touch plus? Myself, I prefer the older ipod touch 4 - it felt good in my hand, fit my shirt pocket, fit well in my front pants pocket sitting down, & a good size for the ladies or kids.
  • Idk bout 5.5 inch iPod.. But I think a 4.5 would be good!! Sent from the iMore App
  • Idk bout 5.5 inch iPod.. But I think a 4.5 would be good!! Sent from the iMore App
  • A larger-screened iPod Touch? It's not just kids and technophiles who yearn for this: I'm 75 -- and I'd dash out at once and buy a five-or-six-inch iPod Touch, if such was available. Wake up, Apple! Four inches is too small and your 'Mini' iPod is too bloody big to be pocketable.