Vibration hasn’t been included on the first, second, or third generation iPod touch devices, so it is strange that this wasn’t mentioned at the Apple Music Event on Wednesday. Regardless, it appears that the newest incarnation of the device will ship with vibration for use with notifications, such as incoming FaceTime video calls. Read on for more information, and evidence of this new feature.
Apple’s own site
Here is the first piece of evidence, and it is on Apple’s very own website. Located on the Accessibility page for the iPod touch, you can scroll down to the ‘Video calling with FaceTime‘ and clearly see the following: “… If somebody wants to start a video call with you, you’ll receive an invitation — along with a vibrating alert — on your iPod touch asking you to join. …”
Of course, this could be the result of copy/pasting the info from the iPhone’s Accessibility page, which reads exactly the same. However, after multiple people from our forums chatting with Apple Experts, would the page still, after at least a day, read the exact same? You can’t tell me that all of Apple has been on coffee break for that long.
Mixed messages by Apple Experts
Here’s where things get even more confusing. Instead of getting a straight, yes or no answer from anyone at Apple, many in the forums, including myself, have received very mixed messages. For example, this chat I had with an Apple Online Expert named
- Tim: Hi, my name is Tim M. Welcome to Apple!
- Tim: Good Afternoon! How may I help you with your online shopping today?
- Me: Hi, I’ve got a question about the new iPod touch and something I read on your accessibility page.
- Tim: Certainly!
- Me: http://www.apple.com/ipodtouch/features/accessibility.html under the ‘video calling with facetime’ it lists vibration as a feature. Is that true?
- Tim: Yes, that is correct- as a notification feature when you get a video call!
- Tim: Do you like that option?
- Me: Wow, that’s is insane. I didn’t think a vibrate would be able to fit. Now I’m very excited for my iPod to get here. I pre-ordered it just yesterday.
- Tim: Outstanding! Did you add the AppleCare plan to extend your warranty and get unlimited support for 2 years?
As you can see, this particular Apple ‘Expert’ believes that there is, indeed, a vibration motor used for notifications. However, in a VM to me, forum member Jawcl says the following: “Lol, I just talked to an Apple person on the phone. She said hold on and then she talked to the engineers for ten minutes and came back to say no it doesn’t have vibrate.”
That’s just one of the many instances where these so called Experts have come back with very mixed messages regarding this feature.
Of course, I’ve reached out to Apple PR regarding this, and have yet to receive a reply. So that is a dead-end.
This is where everything gets a little bit more concrete. Thanks to the FCC for tearing apart an innocent iPod touch 4G, we got a look at its innards. At first glance, you can’t see much. But, looking a little bit closer, like matt912836 did, we see something a little out of place.
The ‘Vibrate Motor’ was added by matt912836, but the original picture can be seen here. For comparison’s sake, here’s some other vibration motors found in cell phones:
The above vibrate motor, from what I can gather, is mostly seen in Samsung phones. Having an old, beaten up, and non-booting Verizon Samsung Alias on hand, I proceeded to tear it down, limb from limb. And, of course, I found a part resembling this:
From what I can tell, this type of vibration motor is extremely good for small spaces, where parts and components are jam packed to make the device as thin as possible, à la iPod touch 4G. From my experience with the Alias, the vibration isn’t the most aggressive, although it definitely isn’t terrible. If that component in the iPod touch is a vibration motor, and does perform like the one to the right, then I’d say that this is something interesting, and possibly extremely useful to some.
Something else to note is that this vibration motor may be locked down to being notifications-only. It may not be available for third-party developers to utilize, at least not at first. In other words, you may not get vibration on the iPod touch 4G like you would on a Dualshock 3, iPhone 4, or Xbox 360 controller.
Of course, this is still a rumor. However, from those three pieces of information and evidence, it isn’t impossible to jump to the conclusion that that mystery component is, in fact, a vibration motor. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time Apple included something that they didn’t advertise.
Hit the ‘Comments’ link to read through the thread in full, and add your opinion to the mix!
Thanks to everyone who took the time to contact Apple, or research this!