Apple often continues to sell previous editions of its products after launching their replacements, and in the case of the iPod touch it was previously selling the 5th-gen model in 32GB and 64GB capacities, and the 4th-gen edition in 16GB and 32GB; the latter two options are replaced by this new model. Read our review of the new 16GB iPod touch.
This refresh therefore simplifies the line-up, by reducing the options to a 5th-gen spec in three different capacities.
There are a couple of differences between this iPod touch and the other available versions of the device. It doesn't feature a rear-facing iSight camera, for one thing, and for some reason has lost the loop for attaching a wriststrap. It would probably be fair to say that the latter was not universally loved. Oh, and the colour options are far more limited - just black and silver at this point, although it's reasonably common for Apple to add colour options some way down the line.
The long wait for a big Apple product launch
It says a lot for the paucity of big-name product launches from Apple recently that such a small update feels like big news; as BusinessInsider observes, Apple will have gone 230 days without a product launch by the time WWDC rolls around.
BI thinks this indicates that something has gone wrong in the Apple pipeline, and it's certainly possible that a number of delays and U-turns have combined to leave the company's launch calendar unexpectedly empty.
But Apple has always bet the farm on its products, and rushing out an unfinished or imperfect product merely in order to pad out its launch schedule would be entirely out of character for the company. Its existing line-up continue to sell well, and the worst response to the burgeoning fortunes of rivals such as Samsung would be to release something that doesn't meet fans' expectations.