Engineering a sleek device like the new iPod Touch can't be easy. In fact, Apple's Phil Schiller explained to one customer that sometimes, you just have to leave stuff out functional features, like an ambient light sensor, to create the product you want.
The ambient light sensor has been a key feature of touchscreen Apple devices since Steve Jobs announced the very first iPhone.
The sensor detects the amount of ambient light, and then adjusts the screen brightness automatically. By only being as bright as necessary, the device is able to conserve precious battery life.
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It was therefore surprising to discover that Apple had cut the sensor from the fifth generation iPod Touch. Fortunately, Apple's Senior VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, was kind enough to respond to an email from customer Raghid Harake asking about that particular missing feature.
"Thank you for purchasing a new iPod touch. It is a remarkable device!" began Schiller.
"The 5th generation iPod touch does not have a built-in automatic light sensor (it's just too thin!)" he continued, before casually signing off his response, "Phil".
Thin is in
The new iPod Touch most certainly is thin, measuring in at a paltry 6.1mm thick. That would have undoubtedly posed some problems for Apple's engineers when creating the device.
In order to hit the 6.1mm thickness target, sacrifices obviously needed to be made and the ambient light sensor was obviously the first to go.
Whether the new iPod will miss the sensor in the long run is something we'll discover during our comprehensive review.
But given the battery performance of the iPhone 5, which features the battery-draining LTE mobile antenna not found in the iPod touch, the lack of an ambient light sensor probably won't make much of an impact to performance.