The truth behind the new iPod Nano/Shuffle

iPod Nano cut. I love Reddit, especially for things like this. This image shows the real truth behind the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle. Was it years of careful industrial design an planning? Nope. It was the scissors tool in Photoshop.

If you take a look at the two new music players it gets harder and harder to deny that it just looks like the old iPod Nano has been cut in half, leaving behind a screen (which is now touch sensitive) and a control scheme (welcome back, hardware controls – glad you’re off those headphones).

As good as Reddit is for these little gems, the discussion can be a bit polarized. Continue through those comments at your own risk.

Apple Keynote reveals new iPod Touch, Nano, Shuffle, and AppleTV

iPod family.

Apple’s media event today brought a lot of big news, the biggest of which was probably the update to AppleTV. The new iPod Nano looks pretty cool, though, and I’m glad to see the return of physical buttons to the iPod Shuffle. If I were on a more reliable connection, I’d dig up one of those stupid VoiceOver ads, just so you could laugh at it with me.

Instead I’m leaving you with this cute little picture, courtesy of Engadget, of the new iPod family. I’ll have more thoughts and impressions on the full lineup of Apple changes tomorrow (yay home internet connection).

New iPod Nano will be more ‘nano’ than ever

iPod Nano comparison.Do you remember your reaction when you saw the first iPod Nano commercial? Those two hands fought over something that seemed, at the time, ‘impossibly small.’ By today’s standards, that first Nano would look commonplace – some people might even mistake it for a new iPhone. All signs point to a Nano announcement at this week’s Apple event, and from all the leaked pictures and accessories, we know it’s going to be small.

This picture, which comes from Apple Insider, shows an old Nano up against a render of the new, touchscreen version. There have been some concerns raised about controls – that screen is awfully small to comfortably navigate your music library. Apple could be headed toward an inline control system, similar to that of the iPod Shuffle. Personally, I hate the idea. I want to be able to use my own headphones without worrying about a stupid control dongle.

From the looks of things, I’d say Apple also scrapped the crappy little camera it added to the most recent generation of the Nano. Thank god. That thing was the laughing stock of Flip SD owners everywhere, to say nothing of all the portable HD handcam owners of the world.

Apple’s iPod Lineup Change Roundup

the-ipod-lineupAs expected, Apple made some changes to its iPod lineup today. With a few improvements, a few additions, and a few unexpected omissions, the new models may or may not be all you’ve been waiting for. This post is a short list of the changes made to each model. I’ll have detailed posts for each model change over the next day or two.

iPod Shuffle
It’s the smallest of the bunch and got very few changes. You can now get a 2GB model for $59 and a 4GB model for $79. Apple is still committed to that ridiculous VoiceOver feature, so you’ll be seeing more headphone manufacturers with VO support built in. Oh, you can also get the shuffle in five different colors. Nothing else to say, so you won’t get a breakdown post for this one.

iPod Classic
This old boy got the smallest (or biggest) update of all. The Classic is now up to 160GB of storage for $249. Boring.

iPod Nano
This is where things start to get interesting. Steve Jobs said today that the Nano has sold more than 200 million units, making it the most popular music player the world over. This is where most of the event was focused – new features for the Nano. As you’ve probably heard, Apple added a camera. It added a video camera. Only a video camera. More on that later.

The unit also got a microphone to go with video recording, which means it’s got voice recording capability as well. There’s also a pedometer inside and Apple even added FM radio capability. Really, this is the MP3 player that just about everyone else on the market has been making for years, plus some video, plus that special Apple touch. You can now get the Nano in nine different colors. Read the full update…

iPod Touch
You feel that? That’s the feeling of disappointment. The iPod Touch didn’t get a camera. Period. No camera. Instead, this model got a price reduction on the low-end and a processor boost on the in the upper two-thirds. The 8GB model is down to $199 while the 32GB and 64GB versions, both of which have the faster processor from the iPhone 3GS, will cost $299 and $399 respectively.

The real update for the iPod Touch is iPhone OS 3.1, adding peer-to-peer gaming functionality, Genius Mixes, and Genius Recommendations for apps. In fact, Apple’s whole presentation surrounding the Touch today pitched the model as a “great pocket computer.” Unfortunately that computer didn’t get the camera update we were all expecting, forcing the average consumer to choose between the functionality of apps versus a video camera.

Scosche tapSTICK Gives The New Shuffle Some Buttons

Scosche tapSTICK.When I first saw Apple’s new iPod Shuffle, I knew it would just be a matter of time before someone found a way to put actual buttons on the device. Scosche has done just that with their new tapSTICK.

The tapSTICK doubles as a case for the 3rd generation shuffle, adding protection and a few buttons to make control more…well…natural. Apple’s new VoiceOver control strikes me as less slick and more stupid, particularly on a device targeted at an active population. The last thing I want while I’m cycling is to listen to a computerized voice read track names, and then fiddle with a single press control dongle.

The tapSTICK runs a beefy $39.99 (available for preorder), a solid 50% upcharge on the price of the shuffle itself. At least you’ll have buttons, right?

Product Recommendations – iPod Shuffle (3rd Generation)

Apple has been dominating the news lately. They just released a new iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro. iTunes recently got an update to version 8.1. The new iPhone OS 3.0 is going to be unveiled on March 17. Apple’s core OS called Leopard is rumored to be replaced by Snow Leopard in June. And there are rumors of Apple purchasing large quantities of 10” touch-screen displays for what might be there first try at a netbook.

Amidst all this, Apple just released their 3rd Generation iPod Shuffle. And the changes from the previous version are quite large for an extremely small device.
As seen from the picture on the right, the 3rd Generation Shuffle is quite small. Half that of the previous version. And you may notice from the picture that all the buttons have been removed from the device. Now you only have a port for your headphones, an off-straight-shuffle slider for turning the device on, and a clip to attach it to your clothes. That’s it. No really, that is it. Where did the rest of it go? To the headphones.

Apple moved the volume and next-last buttons to the headphones. They also added a feature called VoiceOver. The basic premise is that you can adjust the volume or change songs with a click on the headphone wire. Should you want to switch playlists (yes, the Shuffle finally has playlists) you can press and hold until the VoiceOver takes control. It will read to you the current playlist then read to you other playlists. When you hear the playlist you want to listen to, click again and it will start playing it. It does this same thing to tell you the current song you’re listening to. Also, the Shuffle now differentiates between audio books and music, so when you shuffle your songs it won’t play you a chapter of War and Peace.

My recommendation: Thanks, but no thanks. The new features are neat, but sound completely impractical. The best use of the Shuffle is when you’re active. I can’t imagine trying to navigate through songs and playlists while going for a jog. Also, if you misplace the headphones, you get no controls whatsoever. Sure it will play music, but you can’t change the volume or skip songs. What good is that?

I think Apple got a little too fancy on this one. They could have easily put some controls on the device itself. I would recommend purchasing or keeping the 2nd Generation Shuffle and treat the 3rd Generation as a novelty.