Today we saw the return of the 2nd generation iPod shuffle as a smaller, 4th generation upgrade that features VoiceOver and a familiar scroll wheel in pale yet lovely shades of silver, blue, green, orange, and pink. Arriving in similar hues with savvy graphite and slick (PRODUCT)RED coats, the iPod nano has truly become the nano charm I’ve always wanted: a no-camera, no-video mini music player featuring an interactive multitouch interface and a clip-able form factor that’s perfect for my morning jog. I’m incredibly satisfied with this year’s offerings, and the click-and-go functionality of Apple’s latest iPods are great.
The new iPod shuffle
The 3rd generation iPod shuffle delivered a buttonless interface that was controlled with VoiceOver from an included pair of headphones. A year later, the iPod shuffle has returned to its origins as the basic clip and go music player you love to touch; I still own the 2nd generation shuffle and use it with a pair of in-ear headphones as I mow the lawn. While there isn’t much to write home about with the 4th gen shuffle, I am impressed by 15 hours of music playback that will be offered (a lot of juice for a device so small). It still connects to your Mac and syncs through the headphone jack, and a physical button is available on the iPod shuffle to activate VoiceOver (how stiff it is will ultimately decide how I continue to use the iPod shuffle).
If you remember the 2nd generation iPod shuffle, the on/off switch and the play-in-order/shuffle switches were separate. In this 4th generation model, this all one switch. The new shuffle is also Apple’s smallest yet (though I will miss the spectacular 3rd gen form factor) at 1.14 inches tall x 1.24 inches wide x 0.34 inches deep.
With 2GB available for $49.00 USD (which costs $79.00 a couple years ago), this new iPod shuffle is the model to get if you’ve been holding out on a purchase. I haven’t used the device, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s Apple’s strongest shuffle yet sporting
The amazing iPod nano
I really think the new iPod nano is something amazing. The camera is gone (thankfully). So is the video player. But it has really returned to its roots as the Apple music player to get if you want the perfect workout/general iPod device. The iPod nano has always been the staple of Apple’s product line, and today’s update is nothing short of incredible.
Yesterday I might have mentioned that I was skeptical about the clip. Today, I’m completely sold. Maybe it’s because of the shiny new multi-touch interface, or the inviting look of the iPod nano itself, but I really like what Apple has done here. Many of us that own iPod nanos wear it when we’re exercising - it’s a huge Nike+ device. Just to be able to clip this to my shirt without having to wear one of Nike’s tight arm-straps is enough to encourage me to spend the $149 entry price for an 8GB model.
I really like the multi-touch interface Apple has introduced with the iPod nano. The two finger rotate will be moaned over, but it has to be done: the screen would have been constantly flipping as you ran or walked down the street otherwise. It’s not iOS, but the translation to the iPod nano makes it very accessible to everyone - more so than a complicated scroll wheel. Instead of scrolling through albums, you’ll simply be flipping through your features with the same kind of finesse you get on Apple’s higher end models. Really, I see this being the grassroots “must have” iPod for twenty/thirty somethings who have an iPhone and don’t need the iPod touch. It’s something that’s perfect for everyone no matter what kind of music player they’re looking for.
Click. Clip. Go!
iPods are always getting feature updates, they get smaller, and they inevitably make us want to be kids again. But no matter how old you are or what kind of music you listen to, the new iPod shuffle and iPod nano have matured into some really incredible products. The iPod nano especially has incited a bit of technolust that I can’t seem to quell: everything about it is perfect for any activity. Forget pockets - the jean/shirt clip is in, and it’s better than ever since it’s accompanying only some of the coolest iPods to be revealed in the last three years. If there’s one thing Apple has taught us, it’s totally cool to clip it and go: music should be as portable and as accessible as you are.