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A faked icon, said to be in the latest iOS 12.2 beta, allegedly depicts a seventh-generation iPod touch with an all-screen front panel. But even without the graphic being accurate, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that a new iPod touch is coming very soon.
The file, named "HLSipod2," shows slim bezels with no home button or even a camera notch, according to self-described leaker Johnathan Mitchell. It was purportedly discovered while doing coding work involving the 12.2 beta.
The authenticity of the icon from the start was questionable for multiple reasons. Not only was the silhouette of the device is off-center, but the device lacked any kind of nods to cameras, bezels or otherwise. While the new iPod touch could conceivably remove a home button from the Touch and add Face ID, even the company's most expensive iPhones — the XS and XS Max — continue to have notches to fit TrueDepth cameras. Additionally, a reputable leaker, developer Guilherme Rambo, indicated that the graphic is fake based on his own checks of iOS 12.2.
None of this means that the device isn't coming. There are many signs that it is.
Breadcrumbs on the trail
Apple has let the Touch line mostly fall by the wayside, now that even many kids and teenagers have smartphones and tablets. In the past though it has been a popular option as a first mobile device, since it offers many of the same features as an iPhone or iPad without the size or cost. For adults it can be handy for exercise, as a dedicated audio/smarthome controller, or as a cheap phone replacement so long as it's connected to Wi-Fi.
Other references to a new Touch have been discovered in past iOS 12.2 betas. It's not clear why Apple would decide to revamp the product in 2019, but Apple is becoming increasingly dependent on revenue from services like Apple Music and the App Store — a $199 entry point into the Apple ecosystem could be useful. Mac Otakara claimed that Apple is updating the player for this reason.
A tangential comment to Mitchell's "leak" suggests that Apple will add True Tone to seventh-generation hardware. That feature gauges the color temperature of a room and adjusts onscreen colors to match, making images seem more natural.
It's not clear when a new model might ship, but the company is expected to hold a press event on March 25. A new iPod touch would be a low-cost entry device for an expected subscription "Apple News Magazines" service.
The sixth-generation Touch first shipped in July 2015 and is now largely seen as archaic. It has a 4-inch screen and neither Touch ID nor Face ID, on top of outdated camera and processor technology.