Apple folding iPod touch 6th generation release date into iPad event?

Wither thou, iPod touch? Apple made waves without saying a word by failing to unveil the iPod touch 6th generation when it revealed the iPhone 6 last week, leaving would-be iTouch buyers wondering what’s going on. It’s the first time in years that Apple has introduced an entirely new iPhone (non-S) model without updating the iPod touch accordingly. It’s also the first time Apple has released radically larger iPhones. Are these two facts connected? A look ahead to Apple’s upcoming iPad launch event may help clarify things.

In reality the “iPod touch” was never an iPod so much as it was an early forerunner of the iPad, albeit in a much smaller sub-tablet size. It was intended as a stepping stone for those who couldn’t or wouldn’t switch to the early carriers which exclusively had the iPhone, and in that sense it’s largely run its course. The current iPod touch 5 is primarily used by teenagers whose parents won’t let them have a real iPhone, international travelers who want to avoid data roaming issues, and various retail business niches.

In that sense the iPod touch 6th generation must evolve not so much in lock step with the iPhone 6, but instead on its own terms. That may be why Apple held it back from its September press event, as the iPod touch is now more accurately a member of the iPad family. In fact it wouldn’t be shocking to see it get rebranded as an “iPad nano” and come in a 5.5 inch size, positioned as a quasi-tablet for those who want to travel light. And in such case when Apple holds its October press event to unveil the new iPad models, the iPod touch 6 could surface alongside them – albeit with a new name.