iPod touch 6th generation: NFC, Apple Pay, and release date holdup

The iPod touch 6th generation continues to be missing in action even as Apple scores major victories with its NFC based Apple Pay on the iPhone 6, and it’s only fair to ask if the two are related. Apple stunned consumers by failing to offer a new iPod touch model during its iPhone press event in September, instead opting to quietly continue selling the by now outdated iPod touch 5 in its online and retail stores. As the release date of the iPod touch 6 continues to slip without so much as a peep, speculation continues as to the reason behind the holdup. But the answer may be right in front of us.

Apple opted not to include NFC on the new iPad Air 2, which makes practical sense, as no one wants to be stuck in line behind the guy who’s trying to pay for something by swiping his iPad at the register. But the iPod touch is a pocket sized device like the iPhone, and logically should have NFC built in so it can be used for Apple Pay in stores. It would require no additional effort on the part of retailers, and would allow Apple to collect revenue from svn more purchases. But with Apple Pay on a gradual rollout, it also makes sense for Apple to hold back on the iPod touch 6th generation until after Apple Pay has worked any early kinks out. That means the iPod touch 6 release date could still come before the start of the holiday shopping season.

There is, however, another less optimistic explanation. It centers around the issue of why the iPod touch still exists. Its began as a bridge for those who weren’t ready or able to buy an iPhone due to contractual or carrier reasons. No such reasons exist anymore on any real scale, with the iPhone available on nearly every platform and carrier. The iTouch is now largely aimed at teenagers and niche business users. Parents buy their kids an iPod touch specifically because they don’t want them to have a smartphone or real communications abilities; the last thing they’d want is for their kids to be able to run up the family credit cards with an Apple Pay swipe. Apple may be facing an internal identity crisis when it comes to what it wants the iPod touch 6th generation to be and who it’ll be aimed at – and in the mean time, those who do want to buy one will have to wait in limbo.

Phil Moore

Phil Moore

Phil covers tech for Stabley Times.