- Apple on Wednesday unveils a new, upgraded line of iPods
- iPod Touch mirrors upgrades on iPhone 5
- Nano gets thinner, but with a bigger 2.5-inch touch screen
- Overshadowed by iPhone, iPad, iPods are still relevant, developers say
In the shadow of the iPhone 5 reveal, Apple rolled out updates to its most enduring mobile product, the iPod, on Wednesday.
They include a bigger, yet lighter and thinner, iPod Touch that mirrors the stretched-out new iPhone and a bigger screen on the tiny iPod Nano.
The new Touch is 6.1 millimeters thick, making it the thinnest Touch yet, and weighs in at a dainty 3.1 ounces.
Siri, Apple's voice-activated "digital assistant," is also making her way to the iPod Touch, and that's not the only way Apple's premier iPod, which some already called an iPhone without the phone, is getting closer to its smartphone cousin.
In addition to the same screen update, it will run Apple's latest operating system, iOS 6. It will have the same processor as the iPhone 4S and it adds a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, featuring auto-focus and a flash.
The Nano got more svelte as well. It's down to 5 millimeters thick, which makes it the thinnest iPod yet. But it's also getting a bigger, 2.5-inch touchscreen display.
Favored for exercise, the Nano will come with fitness features like a built-in pedometer and support for Nike+. It also has an FM radio feature that allows users to pause and resume music.
Like the iPhone 5, both new iPods will come with new, smaller inputs, but, unlike the phone, they won't come equipped with an adapter that will let users convert their old Apple cords.
Along with the new iPods comes an advance in how folks will listen to them. After coining the term "earbuds," Apple has moved on and showed off EarPods on Wednesday. They're round, unlike the flatter earbud, and have two grills for sound in each one. They'll come with the new Touch, Nano and iPhone 5 and be sold separately for $29.
Pre-orders for the iPod Touch begin Friday. The 32GB model will sell for $299 and the 64GB model is $399. It will be available in pink, yellow, blue, black, slate and a white and silver combo.
The 16GB Nano will be available in October for $149. It comes in pink, yellow, blue, green, purple, silver and slate.
In recent years, iPods have been largely overshadowed as smartphones and tablets emerged as the mobile tech of choice. But they've been massive for Apple, selling more than 350 million units since being introduced in 2001, when they were credited with helping a flailing Apple launch an epic turnaround.
They quietly remain relevant, developers say.
"The iPod Touch is an underappreciated part of the Apple ecosystem -- particularly for the youth and education markets," said Brendan Cahill, CEO of outdoor-lifestyle app NatureShare.
Dave Castelnuovo, the co-creator of popular iOS game "Pocket God," said Wednesday that more than 50% of the game's player base uses an iPod Touch.
"A large group of users still use the second-generation iPod Touch, which was holding back our implementation of new features," he said. "I believe that these users were not upgrading the new hardware because there hasn't been a substantial iPod Touch iteration until now. With the larger screen, new design and assortment of colors, I think we're going to see a very large adoption of the new hardware."