Friday, September 3, 2010

Apple Revamps iPods... again

The buttons are back on the shuffle, and gone from the nano, replaced by a touch screen that allows it to be half the size of the last gen. Its kind of become a baby touch, and speaking of the touch, its gotten thinner and they've added both front and rear facing cameras.

They've taken the best features from their current star performer, the touch, and integrated them into the nano, and shifted some of the nano's features, the camera and the FM tuner, to the touch. Very nice.

The nano appears to be morphing into the shuffle of the future, as the smaller size and the built in clip make it a lot more functional for on the go activities. My wife loves her little pink 2nd gen shuffle for her walkabouts, but I could never get used to a device without a screen, I just don't like flying blind. My nano is my portable of choice, and if there was one thing I'd change about it, it would be to add a secure way to fasten it to my clothes.

The improvements to the touch, while great, are way overdue. The cameras and the tuner should have been added to the 3rd gen touch. The 3rd gen was basically a fix. When they released OS3, they turned on the hidden Bluetooth functionality of the 2nd gen touch, and quickly realized that it wasn't quite up to the task of supporting Bluetooth and running the new OS. It became a flakey battery hog, hence the new processor in the 3rd gen, but why did they stop there? A Wi-Fi device as slick and powerful as the touch cried out for a camera, skype anyone?, and not integrating a tuner was one of those mysterious Apple tics that you just can't understand. My theory is that at some early design review Steve Jobs said "Radio is dead.", and from that point on, talk of incorporating a tuner became a taboo subject.

So, with these latest changes, the touch and the nano are finally dressed properly for the occasion, so to speak, and the shuffle has reverted back to it's most popular form. All of the devices have become more functional in their particular niche, and that's a good thing. I give Apple a solid B for this new crop, I just wish they'd slow down a little.

Check out the video below for a "first look" at all the new iPods, plus a preview of iTunes 10 and the current top apps:

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