Well That’s Awkward, New iPod Touch Is Slower Than The iPhone 5, But…

| Monday, October 15th, 2012

The Geekbench team has released a long list of Apple products and their benchmark scores on their site today.  The results, at first glance, are pretty shocking once you notice just how far apart the scores are from the latest iPod touch and the new iPhone 5. Problem is, though, there’s way more to this story than the numbers, lost in a myriad of iOS device scores, can tell us at first glance.

Apple’s 5th generation iPod touch, according to Geekbench, is significantly slower than the iPhone 5. Using Geekbench’s benchmark analytics, the iPhone 5 scores 1573 while the 5th generation iPod touch scores 454.

That’s a pretty large difference between the two models. Here’s how it breaks down.

When you take a moment and compare the iPhone 4S to the 4th generation iPod touch, Geekbench reveals that the iPhone 4S hits about 630, and the 4th generation iPod touch hits between a 350-390 by their benchmarking metrics. But, here’s the problem with comparing the last iPhone with the last generation iPod touch. The 4th generation iPod touch was actually released a couple of months after the iPhone 4, and not around the same time as the iPhone 4S. When comparing those two devices, the numbers are actually quite a bit closer for the benchmark. The iPhone 4, released on June 15, 2010, was actually right around the levels of the iPod touch, putting the iPhone 4 right around 370 – 390 by Geekbench’s standard.

That got me thinking.

As you can see, the huge discrepancy between the iPhone 5 and the newest iPod touch is a large one. But, not checking the growth differences from one iPod touch to another is a bit of a disservice, so here’s how the iPod touch benchmarks have grown from one device to another over the years.

Here’s how the iPod touch has grown from the first version through to the last, benchmark-wise. We’ve rearranged the Geekbench findings to isolate the iPod touch from the rest of the iOS devices.

Now here’s the same, but for the iPhone lineup only. As you can see, and given our limited space here, the iPhone 5 explodes off our listing, and increases dramatically over the iPhone 4S.

Standard growth from one device to the next, but if you take a moment and look back at the iPod touch listing, and then again at the iPhone listing, you’ll notice something. Go, do it quickly, then look below.

Here’s where things get interesting

When we place the two lineups in their own graphs, they both seem to follow a similar growth pattern, but when we place the iPod touch graph over top of the iPhone graph, something entirely different is revealed.

As you can see, it’s quite easy to forget that the iPod touch (blue) has one less iteration under its belt than the iPhone (green). Additionally, the iPod touch and the iPhone line graphs have grown almost identically when it comes to benchmark results. This time around, however, the iPhone absolutely destroys the iPod touch, but there’s also not a sixth iPod touch to compare it to yet. If I were a gambling man, my gut tells me that the next iPod touch update will land somewhere right around the iPhone 5’s benchmark results.

Now the deeper question here is why Apple hasn’t released a new iPod touch at the same rate as the iPhone (remember, we’re one device off). Again, this is pure speculation on my part, but I’d guess that it has something to do with getting the manufacturing costs down for the iPod touch so Apple can continue to sell it at a fantastic price. Refine the process with a ground breaking iPhone, sell the iPod touch cheaper once the cost per devices is as low as the company can get it.  It’s just smart business, but it also explains why we may be looking at a dramatic difference in benchmark between the iPhone 5  (the sixth actual iPhone) and the 5th generation iPod touch.

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