It’s been nearly four years now since Apple released its latest (6th-generation) iPod touch. And while the company’s signature iPhone-styled device has sold hundreds of millions of units since it first debuted over a decade ago — within that same period of time, Apple’s more powerful iPhones have eclipsed the LTE-less iPod touch in popularity, prevalence and prestige.
Still, there’s at least some discernible market for the iOS-powered touchscreen mp3 player, which Apple still offers starting at $199 for a 32 GB model or $299 for 128 GB.
It is, after all, a solid, low-cost choice for anyone waning to experience the joy of owning and using an iPhone, minus the phone,and the longer-term costs of ownership.
And while it may sound counter-intuitive at this stage in the game, reports citing sources within Apple’s supply chain suggest the company may be readying a revamped, 7th-generation iPod touch for release
New iPod touch Rumors
According to the Japanese blog, MacOtokara, who was first to share the rumor, there’s not much currently known about the device’s features or design aside from that it’ll be the “iPod touch 7th generation” that takes over iPod touch 6th generation,” sources say.
Adding more speculation to the 2019 iPod touch refresh rumor mill is a new report published this morning, indicating that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently approved Apple’s requested extension of its iPod touch IP to include the coverage of “Hand-held units for playing electronic games; Handheld game consoles,” as pursuant with International Class 28 covering “games, toys, and sporting goods.”
Apple vs. Video Gaming
In the company’s application to the USPTO attempting to justify its request, Apple submitted a screenshot of its current iPod touch overview webpageconveniently showcasing the “Gaming” section, with red arrows pointing to both “iPod touch” and the “Buy” button.
And while it’s true that features like a A8 SoC, M8 motion coprocessor and 4-inch Retina display already provide what Apple’s dubs the “ultimate mobile gaming experience” with iPod touch — it’s also worth pointing out how outdated these core components are compared to the unmatched power of Apple’s current iPhone flagships.
What’s ultimately unclear, though, is why the company would even bother extending its iPod touch IP, from specifically covering “audiovisual and information technology equipment,” to now covering “games, toys, and sporting goods,” too.
Of course, Apple’s requested IP extensions could always be a simple technicality — as an act of defense against potential competitors or future litigation, for example.
But, even just considering how the current iPod touch hasn’t been updated in years, along with the timing of these rumors, Apple’s IP extensions, and even the company’s wide-open field of opportunities for making a splash in 2019 — it’s not entirely unreasonable to think that if an iPod touch update is truly in the works, then it’s bound to be substantial enough to warrant the company’s investment of R&D in the first place.
Although, whether the rumored iPod touch refresh ultimately embodies a gaming-centric device — either via a combination of advanced applications, hardware and/or accessories — is anyone’s best guess at this point.
Apple’s application requesting these extensions will be published for opposition on February 19, meaning that unless any “viable third-party opposition” to the company’s claims are presented, it will officially acquire its new IP protections later this year.