6th Generation iPod Nano
Type: Mobile, Music
Usage: Audio, Handheld
6th Generation iPod Nano
Now with multi-touch and with a smaller-than-ever form factor, the newly released, 6th generation iPod Nano raises eyebrows not just for what's been added but also for what has been removed.
Available at the Apple Store and most tech retailers for about US$150, C$160 (8GB) or US$180, C$190 (16GB), the new iPod Nano redefines the same portable music player segment the old Nano-'pods have been dominating for years, mainly by doing away with the iconic clickwheel - the sole control feature for iPods since the very first one shipped in 2001. This absence plus a notably reduced screen size makes the iPod Nano look and feel unbelievably small and waffer-thin-dinner-mint-like.
As the middle iPod product between the yet smaller iPod Shuffle and the comparatively huge and multifarious iPod Touch, the Nano clearly borrows elements from both. It takes the touch approach and faux iOS look, feel and dynamics from the Touch but in a Lilliputian form factor; its thin profile and clip are clearly inherited from the Shuffle. The round +/- volume buttons, meanwhile, seem to take inspiration from Apple's latest smartphone, the iPhone 4.
While diminutive, the 1.54-inch touchscreen on the new iPod Nano is clear and bright. Its 220 pixel per inch display really shines when viewing album art, photos or whathaveyou.
That said, the screen isn't ultra-vivid like that of the new iPhone 4, but doesn't need to be. In terms of multi-touch navigation, sausage fingers notwithstanding, anyone should be able to manage the swipe, pinch to zoom and rotate function of the screen quite easily. It fact, it makes the venerable clickwheel and its endless scrolling feel outdated if not utterly obsolete. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, clickwheel.
The new Nano The iPod Nano is now bundled with an accelerometer and, fittingly, features the shake-to-shuffle shtick that you'll probably want to toggle off before you go jogging. And speaking of jogging, said accelerometer can be used in tandem with the iPod Nano's built-in pedometer. What's more, pedometer data can be uploaded to an online Nike service to track calories burned.
The new Nano also sports an FM radio - no big deal by itself, except that the Nano allows you to pause live broadcasts with a buffer of up to 15 minutes - like a PVR for radio.
For what it's worth, sound quality using decent earbuds - i.e. not the one's included - is just as good as or better than the previous iPod Nano.
Funny, but the iPod Nano series seems to be one product that Apple doesn't mind experimenting on with wild abandon. Generation to generation, it was firstly plain and plastic, then tricked out with sexy aluminum, then made fat and stubby but with a bigger screen, then thin again but with a rotated screen orientation, then made bigger again with an added a camera for HD Video recording. Practically an identity crisis save for the fact it's always been the middle-child iPod named Nano that happened to scream for a new set of exclusive peripherals once a year. A brat, really.
Now Nano is itty-bitty on a belt clip, stripped of its former ability to record or play back video, and divested of extra functionalities like a World Clock and the ability to play games.
Yet despite all the features that have been removed, you really do get a pretty robust, music-centric, uber-portable player in the iPod Nano, always the thing's strength. To have over a couple thousand songs in something that's barely larger than a postage stamp is unquestionably cool, and that should keep most users happy for a good long time - up to 24 hours at a time on a single charge, as a matter of fact.
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