Apple iPod Touch (16GB)

Camera compromise makes Apple's new 16GB iPod Touch a mixed bag

If your kid's been begging for an iPod Touch, I've got some bad news. Apple has quietly discontinued the most affordable entry point into the world of iOS, the $199 16GB 4th-generation iPod Touch, an update of the 2011 model with a 3.5-inch screen. It's just as well since little Junior would have suffered some peer humiliation for not sporting one of the latest, greatest 5th-gen iPod models -- clearly distinguished by their bigger screens and candy-colored aluminum casing. Those models start at $299 for 32GB, or $399 for double the storage.

Until now, anyway. Apple has conceded a new 16GB model of its iPod Touch, available now for $229. This latest entry-level option looks and behaves exactly like the rest of its 5th-generation kin, except that the rear camera has been removed and your only color option is black (with the bare aluminum backside). Also gone is the loop hand strap -- presumably, since you won't be using this as a handy point-and-shoot camera.

Those subtractions notwithstanding, the new iPod model does introduce several improvements not previously available in a 16GB configuration. You get the latest dual-core A5 processor, the larger 4-inch Retina display, Siri-compatibility, and the inclusion of Apple's Lightning Connector in lieu of the classic 30-pin port, which has now disappeared on all iProducts, save a handful of legacy models (iPod Classic and iPad 2, we're looking at you).

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