The iPod's 'Sixteen Candles' Moment

For the first time in three years, there's a brand-new iPod Touch for you to play with. Despite the iPod being the device that launched the Age of Apple and defined your teenage years, the old-school device has fallen out of favor in recent years, with the iPhone and MacBook becoming mainstays instead. On Thursday, however, Apple launched a line of colorful, new and improved iPod Touch models, along with a makeover for the rest of the iPod family.

If you're unfamiliar with the iPod Touch, it's basically a stripped-down iPhone. It now comes in gray, silver, and gold — just like the iPhones — and pink and blue. You can listen to music, download apps, and even call and FaceTime using WiFi, although the devices don't feature cellular data (since, you know, it's not actually a phone). The new iPod makeover brings the device closer to the iPhone, and not just in appearance. It's the thinnest Apple product on the market, making it look more like the slim, sleek iPhone 6s unveiled last fall.

For the latest iPod Touch model, WiFi capabilities get a big boost, and one of the largest changes is the new camera now available in the iPods. Each iPod Touch will come equipped with an 8 megapixel front camera, which is on par with iPhone cameras. In addition, you can play around with photo features, like being able to take 10 shots per second, or record slow-motion video. Also, the 4-inch retina display screen makes it an ideal device for handheld gaming.

So why give the iPod Touch its Sixteen Candles moment now? Well, the new Apple Music streaming service, of course. The subscription music service launched on June 30, and for $10 a month Apple hopes to take on music streaming giants like Spotify and Pandora. Unlike the latter two, Apple Music doesn't offer a permanently free option (unless you sign up for their 3-month free trial), but it's basically like having the world's most extensive iTunes library, right at your fingertips. Curated playlists, staff recommendations, and specialized music suggestions are Apple's main offensive in the music-streaming war, and the iPod Touch just might be their secret weapon.

According to Apple, the release also coincides with the 10 year anniversary of podcasts — something that iTunes heavily endorsed long before Serial came along. In the 10 years since iTunes launched their podcast section, Apple estimates there are over 1.5 billion podcast subscriptions worldwide, and that there will be 8 billion new podcast episodes this year. To celebrate, Apple is offering a selection of curated podcast collections, in addition to its extensive library on iTunes.

Apple is also pricing the iPod Touch competitively, offering a variety of devices ranging from a $199 16 GB model to a $399 128 GB model. According to ABC, the iPod brought in 55 million sales back in 2008, but last year 2014 Apple sold 14 million devices (compared to 169 million iPhone sales).

Images: Apple