We need fewer things that do everything.
The iPod Touch—which is ultimately an iPhone without the phone—is a device without a clear purpose. Its cohort is large and, it seems, endlessly growing: 12 years after the LG Prada arguably launched the smartphone as we know it, we’re drowning in rectangular, internet-connected screens with apps that let you do the same thing over and over. Even your fridge can have a big tablet grafted to the front, and yes, you can watch TV on it.
So, we certainly don’t need a new iPod Touch. But Apple is rumored to be developing one anyway.
Let’s ignore for a second the thing that most demands our attention—a literal heap of electronic-waste that grows with each new gadget shipment—and think about the situation in terms of pure utility. The iPod Touch exists more for the company than it does for you: As AppleInsider has pointed out, it’s a relatively inexpensive ($199) way to get an iOS device to customers and, therefore, a route to funnel money into services like Apple Music and iTunes—services that are increasingly valuable to Cupertino.
The device doesn’t exist in a vacuum, of course. The iPod Touch launched in 2007, six years after the introduction of the first iPod and shortly after Steve Jobs stepped on stage with the iPhone. “This changes everything,” he said. And it did. As smartphones and wireless internet spread, it seemed that everything with a screen should in fact have a touchscreen and that the availability of apps should be taken as a given whenever possible. Today, the Nintendo Switch has Hulu despite its junky display, the Google Home Hub has Crackle and Deezer, and your Michael Kors smartwatch can run iHeartRadio while you text from it. Touchscreens, internet, and apps are the three ingredients in the techno-molasses that has trapped us all.
Because our telephones are now essentially appendages linking our fingers and minds to the ever-growing expanse of the World Wide Web, we expect some continuity of service when we move from device to device. If you start a movie on your iPhone, you should be able to finish it on your PlayStation, and you should be able to stream Fortnite to Twitch with your Xbox for someone to…