After all, the iPod was losing lustre and similar media functionality was showing up in smart phones even prior to the iPhone’s launch. The iPhone is more of a handheld computer than a phone. And the iPod? Well, that’s yesterday’s news, right?
Long Live The iPod
Allow me to prognosticate the future of rock ‘n roll. It still fits in your pocket. It’s still affordable. It’s still loud. Apple’s latest iPod models are so cool they’re hot.
Why does Apple even bother with the iPod? Whatever an iPod can do, can’t the iPhone do even better (and make calls)?
By most reckoning, Apple still owns about 70-percent of the portable media player market, so there’s half a dozen billion dollars of annual revenue to consider.
iPod sales aren’t going up, but they’re also not dropping as quickly as pundits who get paid to pun would have lead us to believe in years past.
In my hands today is a shiny new iPod nano, circa 2012. It features an all new body which is about the size of a credit card and just over 5mm thin.
The latest iPod nano comes in eight vibrant but-not-quite-pastel colors, and with a pair of Apple’s new EarPods (designed to fit in the ear, not make the ear change size to adapt to the EarPod).
Also included is Apple’s new Lightning Connector which is amazingly thin. It sits on the bottom left of the iPod nano, while the EarBud jack is on the bottom right.
The new iPod nano’s display is crisp and bright and features round app icons instead of the iPhone’s standard rounded square icons. The front looks similar to the iPhone, though, and features the familiar home button at the bottom.
The 2.5-inch display is quick and easy to navigate, and album art, controls, movies, and photos display crisp, clear, and colorful. Shake it and the music shuffles.
Bluetooth 4.0 is built-in and it’s simple to pair with Bluetooth headphones or speakers. There’s also a built-in FM radio with a 15-minute rewind button. Nike+ support is built-in, too, and there’s a pedometer.
No previous iPod nano ever felt this good in your hand. It’s light enough that you may not feel it in your pocket. Light? Just over an ounce. Interestingly, the iPod nano has only a 16GB storage option. Take it or leave it. Video isn’t quite HD. The battery should play for about 30 hours, while video can play for over three hours.
This iPod is Apple’s cleanest yet, and uses arsenic-free display, and it’s free of BDRs, Mercury, PVCs, and the aluminum body is recyclable. The box is typical Apple. Clear plastic. But there’s no charger. You’re free to use the USB to Lightning cable to insert into Mac or Windows or an old charger.
While I was in the Apple Store annoying their young associates with questions, I took time to play with the new iPod touch. I’ll do a review on the touch later, but if you have time, stop by a Store to check it out. If you thought the iPhone 5 was thin and light, wait until you hold the iPod touch.
Also notable is the price tag. The iPod nano is $149 for a 16GB model (the only model). The iPod touch starts at $299 and has only 32GB and 64GB models. My guess is that pricing range sets the stage for a $349 7-inch iPad Air with 16GB of storage.