Say hello to the first new iPod nano in over two years. Apple’s seventh generation pocket tune chucker keeps the touchscreen of the last model - and 16GB capacity - but changes just about everything else. The screen’s wider, ushering back in the option to watch videos, there’s an FM radio on board as well as Bluetooth for wireless headphones and Nike+ exercise integration. But does it still serve a purpose in today’s world, stuffed with super slim smartphones and apps?
Apple can never seem to make its mind up when it comes to the iPad nano. First it was long, then it was fat, then it was long again, then square, and now once again, it’s long. It was a smart choice though: the 5.4mm thin aluminium frame is as sturdy as it is beautiful.
It’s an iPod nano, it’s an Apple device: you don’t need us to tell you by this point that it’s easy to use. Still, we’re happy to confirm that: the 2.5-inch screen is bright and sharp, and offers the same pinch to zoom gestures on photos as the iPhone and iPad do.
But despite the multi-touch support and iPhone-esque home button, this isn’t iOS. You can’t install any other apps, but it does have almost every iPod nano feature we’ve seen come and go over the years that’s actually worthwhile (There’s no rubbish video camera). The radio option is particularly well done, letting you even pause it and rewind up to 15 minutes, Sky+ style.
It’s also nice to see the option to watch videos return once more, although they do need to be the right format and in standard definition to work on the tiny screen. You won’t want to watch an entire series of 24 on here, but it’s enough to catch a sitcom on the train without causing too much eye strain.
Lastly, Apple’s bundled its new EarPods in with the new iPod nano: though audio purists will still turn their nose (or their ears) at them, they’re certainly more comfortable and higher quality than the crumbly white buds Apple used to churn out.
Yes, the new iPod nano certainly is pretty. But it’s an iPod nano that plays video and connects to iTunes to sync all your media. In other words, it’s the same as it was in 2007. Minus the clickwheel. It’d be tempting to pass it off as “don’t fix what ain’t broke”, but this is Apple, and we’re not giving it a pass. Why not fix it?
Wi-Fi for one, wouldn’t go amiss, for iTunes streaming or even - gasp - apps. And nor would integration with the iPhone and iPad now that low power Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity is standard across most Apple products. Why not have an iPod nano smart watch with notifications, like so many people tried to turn the last nano into? Think different, Apple, like you used to.
Those with Apple accessories like speaker docks might also want to watch out for the new Lightning port that appears here, as on the iPhone 5. It’s smaller and easier to plug in, but does mean the new iPod nano won’t work with older docks, unless you shell out £25 for an adapter.
The bottom line
There’s no doubt that this iPod nano is the best one Apple’s created - and its existence next to the iPod shuffle is once again justified. But now that it resembles the iPhone more than ever, it raises the question: why doesn’t it do more? For work out addicts, it’s still a great companion, but for everyone else, the smartphone remains the go to media player.