updated 02:35 pm EDT, Tue October 16, 2012
Alleged e-mail explains omission
Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, has reportedly responded to a customer inquiry regarding the lack of an ambient light sensor in the fifth-generation iPod touch. Surprised by the lack of auto-brightness setting for the new Touch, Raghid Harake asked for further explanation. Schiller allegedly replied, noting that the fifth-generation devices lacks an ambient light sensor and explaining that "it's just too thin!"
MacNN cannot verify the authenticity of the e-mail, which was published by iDownloadBlog, though the concise response does appear to match the occasional e-mail from Apple executives to customers.
Like its predecessors, the new iPod touch carries many of the same features as the iPhone, including a four-inch Retina display, three-axis gyro, accelerometer and dual cameras. The ambient light sensor was omitted from the latest design, despite its presence in each of the previous models.
The fifth-generation Touch is approximately 1mm thinner than the fourth-generation model, and approximately 1.5mm thinner than the iPhone 5. Aside from the ambient light sensor, the Touch also lacks the iPhone's cellular connectivity hardware and a proximity sensor to disable the touchscreen when the device is held against a user's face.
Apple has yet to make an official statement explaining the hardware change. Despite the common specs between the iPhone 5 and fifth-generation Touch, a recent teardown suggests Apple chose cheaper components, such as the display panel, to shave costs from the flagship iPod.