How would you change the iPod Nano?

I don’t think I’m alone in saying the latest design of the iPod Nano grates on my nerves. It’s short and squat, and the rolled-edge-surface-treatment doesn’t leave the wheel and screen with enough breathing room. I can’t argue with its technological advancements from previous versions, but aesthetically, I think the design team dropped the ball on this one.

Here’s an alternative idea to get the conversation started…using existing tech from the rest of the iPod line. (With the goal of keeping the pricing structure in the same ballpark.)

There are 2 key functional changes from the existing Nano that make this “feasible” in the conceptual sense:

1 - Screen “flips” depending on left or right click wheel orientation (similar to Touch and iPhone rotating from vertical to horizontal)

2 - Click wheel has backlit LED labels that allow the controls to “flip” based on left or right orientation

What would you do?

I think its pointless to have it play videos personally. Remember a few years ago when the big thing in cars was to have little monitors in your rear/side view mirrors that played some video through the other 15 screens in your Escalade?

I think this is the same thing. Video (hell, and pictures for that matter) just for the sake of having video.

The form is cumbersome as well. It doesn’t feel as sleek and polished as the previous version. I like where you’re headed with the new designs.

When the new ipods launched on the apple site, the proportions of the nano really bothered me, “why would they do that?” I cried. Then one of my co-workers asked me if I’d seen it / played with it on person and when I finally did, it really didn’t bother me nearly as much and continues to grow on me.

Would I buy one?
-probably not, but that’s more price, storage, feature issue.

Agreed, aesthetically the new nano is a step backwards. I thought the pinnacle of iPod design was the first-gen Nano (not to be confused with the colorful iPod mini.)

I like your concept with a twist: switch the UI to portrait-orientation. Let’s face it, navigating long lists is best done with a taller display. Why didn’t Apple capitalize on that? When you want to watch a video, simply rotate the device as you would with the iPhone.

Interesting…when I finally saw it in person, it actually bothered me more. The area where the bottom of the click wheel intersects with the edge transition kills me.

Agreed, indeed. I made my first iPod purchase when the 1st Gen Nano’s came out and still use it today. I still can’t get over how solid it is…from all angles: aesthetically, functionally, technologically.

I was thinking the same thing last night after I posted this…if I suggest they rotate the screen, why not have the option of going vertical as well?!

Now if only Steve would return to the simplicity of the S, M, L product portfolio.

My ideal:

S = iPod Shuffle, 2gb
M = iPod Nano, (your version!) 60gb
L = iPod Touch, 120gb

S = iPhone shuffle, 2gb
M = iPhone Nano, 60gb
L = iPhone Touch, 120gb

I phone shuffle?? haha does it call numbers at random?

Only if you put Windows Mobile on it.

Actually that might work with a small twist!

Imagine shuffling between your music and apple-provided audio-content via a toll-free, ad-sponsored phone number? It would be like your own personal radio station filled with all the same content you get on your iPhone, but in audio format.

Looks like Apple is in agreement with me…

I especially like the new feature that lets you “Shuffle” to the next song just by shaking it…no messing with the buttons, and a great way to maximize the accelerometer.

i remember thinking of this post when the new nano came out - very foresighted of you!

Good call Nate!
Is the shaking function at all like the sansa shaker?
How does the shake function work when you’re jogging,
Maybe on/off in the settings?

its useless its like the previous version of nano…

what an insightful and eloquent crit.

Hm. I always thought the previous nano looked chubby, but then I saw one in real life and changed my mind. It looks great. I don’t really see why apple changed the design. The short chubby nano must be better in your pocket than the new “long” one and has the same (?) screen/same dimensions at least? And why would anyone want to have curved glass in front of the screen?

I seem to be stray a bit from the rest on this one, but if I was looking for a nano now I’d rather buy the old one.

No way, the first two nanos were awesome in your pocket, I would be walking around the studio and forget it was in my pocket (when not listening to music). However Apple needs to make an Ipod for people with nice headphones. I use shure se530’s and the nano makes a lot of noise. A professor I had saw me doing this (ipod + nice phones) and made a joke about it.

make it a reel to reel, and then its real, you know…

Hm. I always thought the previous nano looked chubby, but then I saw one in real life and changed my mind. It looks great. I don’t really see why apple changed the design.

They tell you its NEW. Then you have to buy it. Just like everything else with Apple.

Agreed that listening to compressed digital audio on high end headphones seems silly, but even CD audio isn’t good enough for some audiophiles. It’s my opinion that the source is more critical than the media (a sh** studio recording, poorly engineered will always sound bad) while a really good recording will reproduce well across media. Your professor could have mocked you for using cheap headphones with 320kbps AAC songs. Regardless, if the listener enjoys the music, it should be good enough. 80/20 rule here.

Back to the tangent, I always thought ipods were pretty good at being electronically “quiet”- my ipod touch is hardly noticeable- nowhere near the buzz of my MBP. I’ll have to compare, I have access to a nano.

Oh yeah, haven’t held the new nano yet, but my gf thought the last gen was a really good size/weight, almost too small, but just perfect with a case.