Uncertainty remains about the launch of the 5th generation iPod, despite it’s announced launch last week and pre-order status.
When we covered the Apple news conference about the headline launch of the iPhone 5, it was also announced that a new 5th generation iPod, and iOS 6, were to be released as well.
However, while the iPhone 5 is currently under pre-order status, Apple have stated it will hit the shops from September 21st.
iOS 6 has been officially slated for release on September 19th.
But as yet, no launch date has been provided for the 5th gen iPod, with any pre-order on the Apple website simply suggesting a delivery date in “October” but with no suggestion as to whether this will be at the beginning or end of the month.
A new iPod
The Apple iPod’s 5th generation is a much improved affair - it gets the same larger 4″ screen as the iPhone 5, and will also sport the iPhone 4’s coveted iSight camera, allowing for 5MP photos and 1080p HD video recording.
It will also come with iOS 6 preloaded, and Apple’s new Earpod headphones - as well as the same new colour range as the iPhone 5.
Although the iPhone 5 will have a 8MP iSight camera, the iPod 5 will in effect be an iPhone without the phone capabilities - which is hardly a bad thing for anyone who doesn’t want to spend the few hundred extra pounds on a new iPhone.
However, confusion remains as to when the iPod 5 will be launched.
No set date
Unlike other Apple products announced at the 12th September news conference, the iPod 5 has yet to be given an official launch date.
While the iPod 5 is available to pre-order from the Apple store, there is no delivery date provided - simply the message “Dispatched: October”.
This can only be disappointing for those people looking to either upgrade their iPod, buy it as a mini-tablet, or else treat it like a phone-less iPhone 5.
Especially for those of us looking to not only buy one for ourselves, but also as a birthday present for a loved one.
The danger is, that by delaying the sale, iPod 5 sales may end up being cannibalised by a heavily-rumoured mini-iPad release.
Mini iPad - the new iPod
Normally Apple can never be considered a budget manufacturer. The company sells at premium prices, making around 30% gross profit on each item sold.
While Apple reinvented the tablet PC market for mass appeal, there have been clear budget rivals intruding on the scene, not least the Nexus and Kindle Fire, both of which are 7″ tablets that retail for less than £200.
Apple has no 7″ tablet - Steve Jobs was originally against the idea - but it has been heavily rumoured that Apple are about to release a new product line known as the iPad mini.
That would mean a 7″ tablet joining Apple’s product range, standing somewhere between the iPod and iPad.
However, if that really is the case, then what we would then be looking at is a homogenisation of Apple’s products. The iPod, iPad mini, and iPad, would also effectively be nothing more than different size tablets, at 4″, 7″ and 10″ respectively.
That also suggests that Apple could even end up dropping the names - why call something an iPod when it’s just a small iPad? And what’s mini about the iPad mini when it’s just a big iPod?
So far Apple have let on very little. Yet because of the general accuracy of the iPhone 5 rumours, it remains quite likely that we will see the iPad mini coming in early October at Apple’s new big product launch.
The question is, if the iPod 5 isn’t going to be released until then, then why announce it alongside the iPhone 5 and not the iPad mini?
Either way, the lack of clarity on Apple’s iPod 5 release can only disappoint consumers ready to part with their cash for them.
While Apple may be hoping some of these buyer will instead be tempted to “upgrade” to an iPad mini, the iPod is an established best-selling product, and Apple customers, past and present, certainly should expect a little more information on the release date of a product already announced.