We got a short time with Apple’s new line of iPods yesterday afternoon. Of the lot, my interests were focused on the 4th generation iPod Touch and the totally re-invented iPod Nano which is already in its 6th generation.
When I first saw the 6th generation iPod Nano, I thought this was the most radical design overhaul Apple made in its entire history of iPods.
The Nano was originally just a smaller version of the legacy iPod MP3 player — smaller, thinner, lighter, less storage but with a very similar form factor. That’s why it was called iPod Nano. It has undergone so many iterations (6 to be exact) but this last one doesn’t resemble anything iPod Classic at all.
The new iPod Nano really looks very different and if you’re familiar with the iPod design history of Apple, you would actually name this iPod something else.
Here are three possible alternative names I’ve come up with:
- iPod Touch Nano. Full touch screen with a smaller form factor. If the smaller version of the iPod Classic is called an iPod Nano, it makes sense to call a smaller version of the iPod Touch an iPod Touch Nano.
- iPod Shuffle Touch. If you remember the 2nd generation iPod Shuffle and you saw this new iPod, you might say it’s like an iPod Shuffle Touch. Solid aluminum body, tiny control buttons on the sides and the belt clip is the signature of the Shuffle. Add a touch screen and you have an iPod Shuffle Touch.
- iPod Nano Touch. This is different from the iPod Touch Nano. If you have an existing line of iPod Nanos and add a full touch screen to the next generation, then the logical way to call it is an iPod Nano Touch.
Of the 3 suggested names, I think Apple execs might have came close to the 3rd option (iPod Nano Touch) but I guess Steve Jobs didn’t want to split the Nano nomenclature anymore so they settled with the original and simple naming convention.
But that debate is over and the new design of the iPod Nano is a risk Apple is taking. It’s just a question if people will bite it or not.
The Nano used to be the best-selling player in the iPod line. Now, it has been taken over by the iPod Touch. Maybe a re-design will change all that and bring the Nano back to the top.
The interface of the new iPod Nano reminds me of the iOS (although Apple says it is not a trimmed-down iOS at all). Navigating the UI is very similar to how you’d do it with the iPod Touch or the iPhone except for one caveat — there’s no home button. So, in order to go back to the home screen, you’ll just have to scroll thru several windows and from my limited use, it doesn’t seem very intuitive.
Then, there are basic features that were introduced in previous versions of the iPod Nano which are no longer available on the new one. The Apple rep who showed these to us tells me they don’t want to talk about what was removed on the device but focus on what is added. Still, I miss some of the features of the old iPod Nano.
- Video playback. Yes, it has a small screen but I loved playing my video podcasts in there as well as other smaller clips.
- Camera. They added this only on the 5th generation and then removed it again. Perhaps Apple thinks people weren’t using the camera of the iPod Nano so they won’t miss it.
Of course, I also missed the click-wheel and the physical buttons. If you’ve been using the old iPod Nano as a gym buddy or running buddy, strapping it to your arms, I don’t think you’d be able to do that as easily with the new one any more.
I’d have to stop my first impression review right here or else this would end up as the full review. We’ve ordered the entire line of new iPods 2 weeks from the US and they should arrive this week-end. We’ll have to really play with it for some time and do a more thorough testing before we can post our final review. Watch out for that soon.