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Apple's new iPods: what you need to know

We take an in-depth look at the new audio devices

We field your questions about the changes to Apple's music player line-up.

So what's new with the iPod touch, then?

The new model is as close to "an iPhone without the phone" as we've seen, gaining a Retina display, the microphone, two cameras - one on front and one on the back - and a few other features we'll get to below. It's a little bit sleeker than the last generation, measuring 4.4in tall, 2.3in wide, and 0.28in thick (compared to 4.3x2.4x0.3in, respectively, for the previous model). It's also a little bit lighter: 101g compared to 116g.

What are the iPod touch's camera specs?

As with the front-facing camera on the iPhone 4, the iPod touch's front camera promises 'VGA quality' - that means a resolution of 640x480. The rear camera shoots 720p video up to 30 frames per second (fps) and captures still photos at the same resolution (960x720, or seven-tenths of a megapixel), far lower than that offered by the 5Mp rear camera on the iPhone 4.

Does the iPod touch have a camera flash, like the one on the iPhone 4?

Sorry, no.

So does the front-facing camera mean the iPod touch now supports FaceTime?

Indeed it does. That's one of the marquee features in this generation of the iPod touch, thanks to a new dedicated FaceTime app. Unlike FaceTime on the iPhone 4, however, which up until now has used phone numbers to initiate FaceTime calls, FaceTime on the iPod touch is based on email addresses.

How will FaceTime work on the iPod touch?

When you first launch the FaceTime app on the touch, you're asked to enter your email address. (You can add more email addresses by entering them in the FaceTime section of the Settings app.) To make a call just open a contact (you can choose contacts from Favourites, Recents, and Contacts screens within the FaceTime app or select a contact within the Contacts app). On the contact's screen will be a FaceTime button. Tap it to initiate a FaceTime call. Alternatively, if you know that the person you're calling has an iPhone 4, you can simply tap that phone's number in the Contact screen and the iPod touch will place a FaceTime call. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection.

What other features does the iPod touch share with the iPhone 4?

As we mentioned above, the touch now features the same Retina display technology you'd find in the latest iPhone, which gives the screen a much-improved resolution of 960x640. The touch also features a gyroscope, just like the iPhone 4. Apple likes to tout the iPod touch's prowess as a gaming device, so these features seem like natural fits and should be welcomed by gamers - the Retina display will mean improved graphics while the gyroscope promises to bolster gameplay.

The new iPod touch also gets an upgrade to 802.11n wireless (from 802.11g in the previous model), but only the 2.4GHz flavour, not the full 5GHz version that Apple uses in its wireless base stations. Oh, and the touch now runs on an Apple-designed A4 chip, which the company says will improve performance and extend battery life to the tune of 40 hours of audio playback and seven hours of video-watching.

NEXT PAGE: GPS in the iPod touch?

  1. An in-depth look at the new audio devices
  2. What's new with the iPod touch, then?
  3. GPS in the iPod touch?
  4. Watching videos on the nano
  5. What's changed with the shuffle

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