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Unboxing the Apple iPod nano (6th generation)

While I was on the playa, Apple announced a new music-centric iPod shuffle nano with a touch screen. I was so intrigued that after returning to civilization I picked up the red 8 GB model.

But wait! Let’s start at the beginning…

In the summer of 2002, 9 months after Apple launched the original iPod and before iTunes for Windows even existed, I purchased my first Apple product, a 10 GB iPod (2nd generation), together with a FireWire card for my PC.

See, despite developing on Macs for most the ’90s, I’d never owned an Apple product before the iPod, and I settled on building my own PCs running DOS, DESQview, Windows & linux at home, while using Macs, RS/6000s, Alphas, Suns & SGIs at work.

Music is a huge part of my life (I both listen and play) and I’ve always been an early adopter of formats (from cassette, to CD, to DAT, to MiniDisc), so getting an iPod was the next logical step, especially when faced with traveling for 2 months without my music collection.

Yes, my love affair with Apple started with the iPod, soon followed by a 12″ PowerBook G4 rocking OS X. The rest is history: I’ve lost track of the number of Apple products, new and second-hand, that I’ve acquired since.

So, back to the iPod nano. After years without upgrading my iPod (which is still working fine on its original battery), and after owning each new iPhone, why would I bother with this iPod nano?

1) It’s extremely cute. I’m a sucker for sexy devices that pack a lot of tech into a tiny package. It’s been a while since Apple wowed me this much.

2) It’s beautifully simple. I’m happy to see Apple focus on music again. What’s the point of watching video on a screen barely larger than a postage stamp? That’s what the iOS devices are for.

3) It’s incredibly small. Like Michael Gartenberg recently pointed out, whether by design or by accident, Apple is rekindling the market for “invisible devices”.

4) It’s almost cheap enough to be an impulse buy :)

I’ve been using the new iPod nano for several days now, and I’m in love. It’s easy to use, and both battery life & sound quality are excellent.

I’ve been keeping it on my night table, connected to my Etymotic ER.4S and it’s been putting me to sleep with hours of music, undisturbed by notification messages.

Still not convinced? I’ll let my unboxing pictures (slide show) and video do the talking:

8 thoughts on “Unboxing the Apple iPod nano (6th generation) Leave a comment

  1. The nano could have been the new shuffle.

    Apple could have then made a gadget similar in size to the old nano and have it run iOS.

  2. Apple really dropped the ball on this one. Its not a Nano, its a shuffle with a screen. This is great if all you want is music and just music. But I think people are use to Apple going up on features not down.

    • Guess you didn’t read my post :)

      Some people don’t like watching videos on a screen barely larger than a postage stamp!

      Some people want a small, simple, cute, music-only device…

      • I agree! That’s All apple staff like engineers say on the documentaries I have watched like the film documentary ‘Welcome to Macintosh’ is that what’s the point in having video on a screen that’s tiny how long can you hold it up for in your eye view :s People who complain about video capability on an Ipod nano are ridiculous

  3. I got one of this as a gift at the end of the year. Pretty nice, I like it. But it has at least one bad design flaw, in my opinion: the hold button (although technically it does not completely hold, since one can change volume with the screen off, which is nice). It’s very easy to accidentally press it while carrying it or putting it away, etc.. It’s happened to me two or three times already in two months of light use that I turned the thing on and my hand accidentally started the music or did something else. Now, if I still have the earphones on, fine. But usually I don’t, and the iPod stayed playing all day before I noticed, once. Good thing it has nice battery life, then. That button should have been a sliding switch, like in my 1st generation nano.

    Another big problem is Apple being bastards and encrypting their databases all over again so the iPod only works using iTunes. All my music is in Linux. But the hackers haven’t cracked the thing yet, so I can’t manage it with gtkPod or any other program for that matter. I have to do horrible, slow juggling to load it with music. The 1st gen nano worked from the start in Linux, and I was very happy with it at the time. Why change that? Just out of spite, of course, against a small minority of people who can’t use iTunes. Very much like Jobs nowadays, apparently.

  4. I’m with J on this. I recently bought this iPod, only to be rather annoyed at Apple’s pervasive nazi tactics. And I even own a MacBook! This iPod requires iTunes 10, which requires OS X 10.5.x or higher. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with OS X 10.5 or 10.6, but I have seen no good reason to upgrade from my happily-running 10.4. And it’s a $150 upgrade! There is absolutely no reason that Apple should encrypt the music database… not even if they’re afraid of illegal file sharing.

    Regarding Linux, it’s very telling that Apple is completely willing to put out iTunes for Windows, but not for any Linux distros. I would think that Apple would be more sympathetic to Linux users than to Windows users… it’s not like Linux steals a significant portion of the market from Apple (at least not for personal use… servers, sure). And the Darwin kernel is certainly much more similar to Linux than to the Windows kernel.

    • It’s a $29 upgrade from any OS X version to Snow Leopard (10.6) – just pick up a retail box for $29 at any Apple store or Best Buy and it will install over 10.4 or 10.5. I’ve upgraded from 10.4 to 10.6 that way. There are no tricks – Apple just does not endorse/encourage it. Who’s being a Nazi now?

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