The latest Apple chatter suggests an upgrade is on the way for the iPod Touch -- and that could mean the company's new mobile operating system iOS 5 running on it.
If that happens, it wouldn't really be a surprise. Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch tend to run the same processors and sport similar features.
Still, Apple blogs are abuzz with what could be the first sign of next-generation iPod Touch hardware. Buried within the code for iOS 5 is a reference to "iPod 4,2." Given that the current iPod Touch is identified as "iPod 4,1," this could suggest that Apple's next media player could be a minor evolutionary upgrade -- or this could just be an odd bit of code that means nothing.
Apple has already broken its tradition this year by not launching a new iPhone in the summer, as the company has done for the last three years. Rumors suggest that the iPhone 5 will launch in September, so perhaps Apple will introduce a new iPod Touch at the same time.
Last year, both devices got a 1 GHz A4 processor, "Retina" displays and front-facing cameras (although the iPod Touch's cameras are of lower quality than the iPhone 4). This year, the iPhone 5 is rumored to get a dual-core processor and better cameras, so it is possible the iPod Touch could get similar upgrades.
But hardware will ultimately take a backseat to software, with Apple planning to launch iOS 5 this fall. The new software includes PC-free setup, Twitter integration, better notifications and iMessage, which lets iOS send text messages without a service plan. Apple will also launch iCloud, an online service for wireless backup, document storage and syncing of iTunes songs across devices. It'll be more of a surprise if Apple doesn't launch new iPod Touch hardware to take advantage of these features.