It's official. It's finally here. The brand new, updated, turbo-charged, better than ever... iPod Touch?
Wait, the iPod might be one of the most significant innovations Apple has ever created, but did anyone know it still actually sold them? I'm pretty sure I still have a 5th generation iPod Video in a drawer somewhere. I even swapped out the original hard drive for a compact flash card a few years ago, but I haven't used it since I bought an iPhone.
It turns out not only does Apple sell them, but the company just announced it has updated them with the A10 Fusion processor from the iPhone 7, with support for augmented reality (AR) and Group FaceTime.
Apple's announcement includes an especially interesting quote from Greg Joswiak, who is Apple's vice president of product marketing. In it, Joswiak says that Apple's "making the most affordable iOS device even better with performance that is twice as fast as before."
Here's why that's interesting. He didn't say "making the iPod even better." That's because Apple doesn't see the iPod touch as an iPod--at least not in the sense it's a music player.
The company basically sees it as a low-cost mobile iOS device, just without a cellular radio. Granted, it's missing a few other iPhone features, like Touch ID, Face ID, and Apple Pay, but it's pretty clear Apple is positioning it as a way for anyone to access the vast library of iOS apps, like games.
The obvious take here is, "Why would anyone buy this when they can buy an iPhone?" That's a good question, but I think there's a better one: Why would Apple upgrade a product hardly anyone knew it still sold?
It's actually a smart play, and it's one you should pay attention to.
The iPod Touch audience.
Look, there are probably two audiences for this device. The first are people who, for whatever reason, already have an Android phone and can't switch to an iPhone. Maybe it's because your work gives you something and you have no choice, but you still want an iOS device.
This audience probably isn't very large considering Apple didn't add any biometric security features--meaning it's a no-go for a lot of people in terms of storing personal or work information. Still, if you travel and want iOS features like FaceTime, Messages, and access to your Apple Music and Movies library, it might make sense.
The second audience includes people who want a portable gaming device that includes messaging, streaming video, and other iOS apps. Apple is betting big on games, as shown by the recent announcement of its upcoming Apple Arcade subscription gaming service.
It's time to get creative with existing products and services.
You might not be into games, but Apple clearly is. Video games are a huge business (over $134 billion in 2018), and Apple is making a move for a chunk of it. With that in mind, the updated iPod touch makes a lot of sense. It's the most affordable entry point to the iOS ecosystem and removes the barrier of a monthly cellular service contract that comes with an iPhone.
Apple can obviously afford to sell devices with the sole purpose of gaining customers for its services, which is its most profitable and fastest growing division. Chances are that your business probably can't, but that doesn't mean you can't get creative about how you use your existing products to help move your customers into new growth areas.
For example, maybe you're a business with an innovative product or service that's grown old and is just waiting for you to breathe new life into it. Amazon did it with its extra cloud computing capacity and turned it into a behemoth known as AWS, which powers much of the internet we use every day.
Here's the thing: you don't have to be Apple or Amazon, you just have to be smart about what you already have, and intentional about how you grow your business. Who knows, you might have an iPod touch lying around somewhere just waiting for the chance to transform your business.