Fri, 19 Oct 2012 iPod nano review
A welcome return to form for Apple's mid-range music player
iPod nano: a hands on
by Karen Haslam
Apple had to update the iPod nano in our opinion because they ruined it last time around, that’s what we told the Apple representative at the recent press event.
Along with the iPhone 5 and iPod touch Apple also let us get our hands on the new iPod nano in the post-keynote media centre. It bought back memories of the same event last year where we looked at the square iPod nano and feared that it had become a mere shadow of itself, loosing the ability to play video and display photos in a suitable format. It was no more than an expensive iPod shuffle, as far as we were concerned.
In the case of the iPod nano, bigger definitely is better, but this is by no means a big iPod nano. Compared to the generations before it really is a feat of engineering. It’s the thinnest iPod nano yet, a massive 50% thinner than the previous generation at 5.4mm, and while it is longer than its square predecessor, it’s shorter than all bar the squat third generation iPod nano, which was 70mm tall, compared to the 76.5mm tall seventh generation. It’s narrower than the previous generation, but a few millimetres wider than generations four and five.
With the exception of the previous generation iPod nano it's also the lightest, weighing just 31g.
But it’s seeing that’s believing, and this really is a tiny device that packs a lot of functionality into the palm of your hand.
The multitouch display is 2.5in, which might seem a little small compared to the 4in iPod touch, but it is sufficient for the slimmed down operating system that the iPod nano runs (you don’t get the standard iOS on this device, but the OS is better than the old-style operating system that appears on the iPod classic – which isn’t updated but is still available, at least for now). It’s the same OS that came with last year’s nano. You get icons that you can tap to take you to the Music, Videos, Fitness, Photos, and Radio apps, although they aren't apps in the sense of the iOS store, and you can’t shop there.
We had a look at The Avengers running on the screen and it looked great, especially since it was in widescreen, though it was a little on the small side. Of course small is key with this device so the small screen size is more of a bonus than a disadvantage.
One hint at the market for the iPod nano is that Fitness icon and the built in pedometer and support for Nike's Nike+ software. The one thing it lacks that last year’s model had is a clip, ideal for attaching it to sports wear. That is an opportunity for accessory makers.
The other target market is probably youth, and we can see the new colours appealing the younger market, although we were just discussing that they are a bit “girly”.
We do wonder about the price, however, priced at £129 for 16GB, you might as well pay £40 more and get a fourth generation iPod touch (which is still available for £169). The iPod nano will go on sale in October.