A few days ago Apple released the new iPod touch. It took them 3 years to refresh it, skipping every generation of the iPhone since the 5.
Now for most people this is an irrelevant device. Everyone who already has an iPhone or an iPad would get fairly little use out of the iPod touch.
Especially anyone techy usually scoffs at the touch as a device for children too young for their first phone or old people who want to facetime with their grandkids.
But I want to make the case that it is actually the ideal device for a certain subset of us tech-minded individuals.
The android-using, budget-conscious, independent Webdeveloper.
When building Zolar.io, I ran into so many issues with iOS it became a running joke among my iPhone using friends. "What bugs will Leo have us find today?" or "Oh Leo is here, when will he ask for my phone and open Zolar?"
There are so many things that mobile safari does very differently than other browsers, from not-loading html5 videos over handling drag events differently, to ignoring certain font settings and the list goes on.
Every time I asked one of my friends to borrow their iPhones I found new bugs, new weirdnesses and sometimes cool and neat behaviours that I didn't see anywhere else.
Asking your friends to load your site every time of course isn't the best way to debug your site on an operating system... So every webdeveloper should have an iOS device.
But which to choose?
Well if you can, ALL OF THEM or at least an iPhone 6 and an iPad Air 2. But not everyone has that kinda money.
It used to be the best budget option to go with an iPad Mini 2 for $300, but I think that now there is a new king in town - the new iPod touch, for just $200.
When it got refreshed, it received the most recent ARM chip from Apple, the A8. The iPad Mini 2 which costs a hundred dollars more is still rocking the A7.
The A8 will make sure that your iPod touch will be running the most recent version of iOS for a long time.
There was pant-up demand when Apple finally released bigger phones with the iPhone 6 and they sold a lot of them.
If the iPhone 6 with its A8 is supported - which they are incentivized to do because there are very many of them - then the iPod touch will be too.
You might say that the iPod touch is small and has a much lower resolution than an iPhone 6 which is probably the most important device for most sites, but I don't think that having the same resolution is important.
You can try out different resolutions and scalings in chrome's dev tools all day, but what it can't give you is an environment to test out all those special behaviours of mobile safari that I talked about above.
So if you want to min-max the value of your iOS test environment, then I think the iPod touch is the way to go.