LOS ANGELES — For the first time in four years, Apple has released an updated version of the iPod touch.
The new Touch does not have some of the same capabilities as the newest iPhone, and is being compared to the iPhone 7 which was first released in 2016 and is the oldest iPhone version available for sale in the Apple store.
The new Touch features augmented reality improvements and group video chat through FaceTime, as well as larger capacity options. Touch users were previously unable to use AR apps and only had storage up to 128 gigabytes.
The Touch comes in 32, 128 and 256 GB options ($199, $299 and $399 respectively) so users can download more AR games and music. The updated Touch also has group FaceTime capabilities that were introduced to iPhone users earlier this year.
The Touch is available online and through the Apple Store smartphone app now, and will be in retail stores later this week. While some of its capabilities have been updated, Apple is sticking with a similar design as previous Touches with a camera and a home button. The current iPhones have edge-to-edge screens and no home button.
The iPod Touch first came out in 2010 and has been marketed as a gaming and music device, and has especially been popular among children and frequent music listeners, which are the target audience of this new release, according to analyst Tim Bajarin.
Bajarin does not believe the new Touch will be a huge seller for Apple, as their dominant product is the iPhone, but it makes sense for two audience groups — parents who don’t want to buy their children smart phones and smartphone users who “want music available and play it often” without draining their phone battery.
The most expensive 256 GB iPod Touch at $399 is still cheaper than the iPhone 7, which sells on Apple’s website starting at $499. iPod Touch apps typically only work when it is connected to WiFi, differentiating it from the iPhone.
Gamers are also frequent users of iPod touches, and can now use the new AR features and larger storage quantities to play some of the newest games without taking space on their phones.
Apple previously announced it will be creating a game subscription service, Apple Arcade, which gives subscribers access to over 100 new and exclusive games. Apple Arcade will be available starting in the fall, and boasts of an ad-free experience. Subscribers also do not have to buy additional add-ons within games with their subscription.
More: Apple’s Siri needs an update. Here are 7 ideas to be more competitive with Alexa and Google
More: Why does my iPhone screen crack so easily and what should I do now?
Follow Madeline Purdue on Twitter @madelinepurdue