Though largely neglected in recent years, the iPod line could soon get a fresh upgrade to keep it relevant in the era of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, code from the leaked iOS 11 golden master suggests.
The GM makes reference to a device labeled only as "iPod8,1," frequent leak source Benjamin Geskin said on Monday. In one string within setup.app, the code even includes the line "Unlock you iPod with your Face," suggesting it will support Apple's Face ID technology coming to the iPhone X.
Geskin suggested however that a new iPod was merely possible, and that it probably wouldn't have Face ID in practice — instead, Apple may simply be future-proofing its code.
Apple would presumably release a new version of the iPod touch, having eliminated all other iPod models. The Touch was last updated in 2015, and equipped with a 4-inch display, an underclocked A8 processor, and between 16 and 128 gigabytes of storage.
A new version would presumably jump to an A9 or A10 chip, and improve storage options to be consistent with other recent Apple devices. That could potentially involve adding a 256-gigabyte version, and/or making the base capacity 64 gigabytes instead of 32.
iPods have become increasingly sidelined in light of smartphone ownership in Apple's main markets, and to a lesser extent the popularity of the iPad and Apple Watch. The iPod touch continues to serve some niches however, such as kids, fitness, or simply home-based media control.
Apple could announce a new iPod at its Sept. 12 press event, but might also choose to launch it later or more quietly, preferring not to divert attention from new iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV models.