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Review: Apple's fourth-generation iPod nano

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
For its third anniversary, the highly portable 4G iPod nano gets a new tall and slim design, Genius Playlists, audio recording and other new software features, twice the storage at the same price, and a new array of colors. It continues to offer high quality audio, and plays video games, podcasts, TV and movie downloads, and movie rentals. Apple still refuses to give it a capital n, however.

Hardware orientation

The most obvious difference over previous nano models is the 4G's return to a tall orientation. Last year's thin square model gave the nano line the full video playback features of the previous full sized iPod, including support for video games, by putting a reduced size but full resolution iPod video display into a new square case. In our review, we called the 3G iPod nano "a 5G video iPod in a nano-thin shell." This year, Apple delivered the 4G iPod nano as an enhanced version of the full sized iPod in a more conventional tall nano form factor.

In introducing the new model, Steve Jobs said that users didn't prefer the compact square form factor, so the new nano uses the same display in a dual orientation format, with menus presented in a tall portrait view, and videos and Cover Flow features that work in the horizontal landscape orientation. The new change brings obvious comparisons with Microsoft's flash based Zune models introduced last year; however, that design didn't sell well at all for Microsoft, no better than the original Zune. With the new 4G nano, Apple delivers a number of design improvements that address fatal flaws in the Zune.

The first is a coherent physical interface. The Zune presented a 'squircle' touch controller with no labels and two external physical buttons above it, one for play and pause and the other marked with a back arrow. When held sideways (a mode arbitrarily determined by the video being played), the touch controller reconfigured how it worked, but the physical buttons didn't (and couldn't obviously). This changed the layout and the relationships between the buttons, making them frustratingly unintuitive for everyone but the most determined users, and doing absolutely nothing to boost Microsoft's sales.



The 4G iPod nano, like earlier iPod models, presents the familiar iPod click wheel that always works the same. Its buttons are clearly labeled, and the most common feature, scrolling up and down or across (in Cover Flow) is performed by running your finger around the circle. Held sideways, the click wheel continues to work as expected.

Apple's hardware experience really shines with the 4G's software integration. While it makes sense for a direct feedback virtual interface to change, such as the touchscreen of the iPhone and touch does when held sideways, changing the way physical buttons work between orientations is not the correct behavior. For example, if you hold your hand sideways while using a laptop trackpad, you don't want the computer trying to account for your body position and movement and changing how the mouse moves.

However, when playing certain video games, the new 4G nano presents a screen indicating that controls are remapped for compatibility. A contradiction? Not really, as when playing back music the device works the same in both orientations, but when converting into a horizontal games machine, it enters a mode that makes sense for the given game.



Hardware form factor

Apple also applied its slick industrial design savvy to enhance the new 4G nano. It returns to a iPod Mini-like metal tube design similar to the second generation nano, except that rather than being a flat oval, the latest design pinches the long edges to a smooth corner, which results in it feeling even thinner than it actually is. Not that that was necessary; the new nano is already the thinnest ever even in advance of the svelte tapering illusion of smallness.

There are two side effects of the new case being thinner at the edges. The first is a slight curve over the glass face of the screen. In seeing the leaked design specs, we worried that this would result in a TV tube-like distortion, and other critics have suggested that this will cause excessive glare, as the glass could catch light from additional angles.

In actual use however, neither turned out to be the case. First of all, unlike a CRT tube, the nano's LCD screen is of course perfectly flat behind the curved glass. In order to see any "Coke bottle" distortion, you have to hold it at a very unnatural angle. Even from an extreme angle where you can start to see the roundness of the glass, the screen still remains clear and readable.

As for glare, while it's easy to position the nano screen in a way to pick up glare on purpose, we found that whenever we saw glare, making a very slight change to how we were holding it made it easy to remove any glare at all. In comparison, the glossy screens on MacBooks and most modern PC laptops do have a problem with glare, and there is often no way to escape from the glare without completely repositioning yourself to put the offending light source behind you. That kind of glare problem is simply not present on the new 4G nano. The only way to experience distortion or glare with the new 4G nano is to hold it at an awkwardly acute angle while being willfully obtuse.

In fact, the only problem we could imagine with the new shape is its two rounded but still butter knife sharp corners on both ends of the player. If you hold it like a stopwatch, the corners can be pointed enough to be uncomfortable in your palm. This time next week, there will no doubt be a class action lawsuit charging that the 4G nano's corners are at least as dangerous to unattended children as a spoon or perhaps a pencil. Of course, many nano users will have the device inside a case or arm strap, so this issue is also hard to get worked up about.



On page 2 of 4: Accelerometer features; Speaking of Genius; and Software Interface

Accelerometer features

Another feature Apple is using on the nano to set it well past aspiring competitors is an accelerometer. Just as with the iPhone and touch, if you hold the new nano sideways you'll enter Cover Flow mode automatically; the feature is navigated by spinning around the circle on the click wheel and clicking the center to select.

The other feature of the accelerometer is "shake to shuffle." While playback is rarely affected by bumping the device, if you give it a deliberate shake, you'll hear an electronic tone and a random new song will begin playing. This feature can be turned off in settings if you don't like it.

Another use of the accelerometer is in playing new games that take advantage of it. Apple includes a tilting Maze game to show the feature off. Despite all the critics moaning about how Apple has lost its edge and excitement at this (and every previous) iPod event, the company continues to lead in various innovations, some small and some significant, but usually always marked by an understated simplicity that reveals a certain genius.

Speaking of Genius

A recurring theme of Apple's "Let's Rock" iPod event was the Genius feature, which was outed as a marketing name by industrial spy leaks, but not really revealed in any detail. Rumors specified a Genius Playlist and Genius Sidebar without explaining what they would do, and didn't anticipate the Genius feature on the iPods themselves.

In iTunes 8, Genius is the new marketing name of two features. The first, Genius Playlists, is an automatic playlist generator that works a bit like Party Shuffle, except that rather than intelligently picking out your favorites, it selects music that "goes well with" a song you have selected. This is genius for users who have a song in mind and can't really quantify how to construct a series of smart playlists to select other songs like it. Genius Playlists uses algorithms developed by Apple to find similar music, and requires users to upload metadata up to the iTunes Store in order to get regular updates that progressively make the system smarter at finding similar music based on the millions of aggregate associations of participating users.

Opting into Genius Playlists also activates the Genius Sidebar, which is essentially a renamed iTunes Mini Store. Apple gives iTunes away for free in order to encourage users to use its iPods. It also encourages iTunes users to buy content from the iTunes Store. In order to make the entirely optional store more prominent, Apple introduced the Mini Store as a sidebar that popped up in iTunes 6.0.2, offering users suggestions of related music they might want to buy. The web collectively freaked out that Apple had turned this feature on "without permission" in its software, and that it was anonymously delivering information about the user's music library back to Apple in order to make the feature work better. Apple promptly made the system opt in a few weeks later.

Genius Sidebar is the next iteration: you still get to opt in, but Apple now offers more carrot to lead you toward giving the company prominent advertising space next to your music library. In exchange for giving up a strip of the iTunes interface to the Genius Sidebar, Apple will create Genius Playlists for you from your own music. Unsurprisingly, the Genius Playlist feature works better when used with purchased music that has complete and predictable metadata on it.

If you turn on the Genius features and decide you don't like the deal, you can opt out by turning Genius off, which converts your dynamic Genius playlists into standard playlists and stops exchanging data between you and Apple's iTunes cloud (below).



To ice the deal, Apple has also added 'Genius Playlist to go' features to its new iPods, including the 4G nano, the new 2G touch, the second-gen iPod classic, and the existing iPhone, iPhone 3G, and the original iPod touch. Earlier classic models do not support the Genius Playlist features, despite mistaken rumors that suggested this might be in the works. The new 4G nano uses a revised software platform that puts it ahead of the iPod classic and earlier iPod models, and of course, all of the iPhone and touch models support the same software, so adding forward support for the new Genius feature was easy for those models.

If you think Genius is a blood boiling outrage of epic proportions, you will no doubt be particularly enraged by the offer Apple throws up to check out new games when you plug in a new iPod to sync it (below). Oh the humanity! Apple is clearly in business to make money, and expects users who download iTunes for free to occasionally at least consider browsing its wares.



Software Interface

Last year's non-touch iPods got a new software menu interface that presented animated graphics on the right half of the wide screen. Now that the 4G nano has a tall screen, it has moved this animated album art to a strip below the menus. Apart from this rejiggering, the new nano works very similar to the previous model. Again, nothing has changed with the iPod classic's form factor, and so predictably, nothing has changed with the iPod classic software. As we predicted last year, the iPod classic is only being kept around for users who want more storage than flash RAM can currently, affordably provide. There's no hard drive based touch or iPhone, and the classic itself looks ready to retire in a year or two.

The big difference with the new 4G nano is that when you hold it sideways, it goes into Cover Flow mode automatically, which you spin through with the click wheel. This works exceptionally well; it's both very rapid and smooth with no hesitation.

This very visual presentation of your music library puts emphasis back on album cover art, and works identically to the view on the iPhone, except that you control things from the click wheel rather than via direct touch. Because the 4G nano's controls amount to spinning and clicking, you don't need to think about orientation of the player and how the controls might be changing or not, it just works.

For visually impaired users, the new nano supports audio controls that are activated in iTunes. Turning the "use spoken menus for accessibility" feature on (below) copies menu audio files to the device so users can hear navigation as they use the device. The voices are generated by the desktop system, allowing users to customize the voice used as desired.



The new nano software also sports an optional audio crossfade feature, which blends one song into the next during playback if you like that sort of thing.

On page 3 of 4: Recording software and mics; Audio In Killed the Video Cable; Photos, Nike+, Radio Remote, and iPod Games; and What ships in the box.

Recording software and mics

Another change across the new iPod models is audio recording. Along with the new 4G iPod nano, the classic and 2G touch (but not the original touch) also gain audio recording, although this requires a mic, which is not included with any of the models. Apple plans to release two sets of headphones with an integrated mic and volume controls next month: a standard $29 earbud pair and a premium dual driver in ear set for $79.

Until then, if you want to play with audio recording you'll have to settle for iPhone headphones, which correctly function both as an audio input, headphones, and as a pause button (single click) or a skip button (double click). Three clicks start the song from the beginning, or if you are really fast, go back to the previous song, although timing rapid triple clicks requires some snappy finger action.

This explains why Apple's forthcoming mic-equipped headphones are not listed as compatible with the iPhone; the iPhone wasn't designed to respond to triple clicking. The new headphones will handle this for you by sending a triple click to navigate. All this clicking is communicated over the mic conductor, which adds another wire between the iPod and the headphones.

Rather than offering a lot of complex options for audio recording, the new iPods automatically record in mono when you use a mono mic (like the integrated one on the iPhone headphones), and use stereo when you use a stereo mic (as with a third party dock connector mic). They also only record in Apple Lossless, so if you want to work with the audio later, you might need to transcode it into another format, which is simple to do from QuickTime. The new recording app will also let you mark chapters in your audio recording file for easily referencing portions of the audio capture.

Audio In Killed the Video Cable

In order to use audio input without a dock connector dongle, you'll need an iPod with a four conductor headphone jack. As we explained last year, iPods used to use the fourth conductor for video (the first three are used for audio: right, left, and ground). Apple changed this with the iPhone, reassigning the fourth conductor to audio input to allow for an integrated mic. All of the subsequent iPods began relying on the dock connector to export video rather than the headphone jack; now, new models (those just released, not the 2007 models) use the fourth conductor exclusively for audio input.

This rearrangement of video output and audio input has the net effect of forcing modern iPods and the iPhone to use a dock connector for video, but enables the iPods to now handle audio input from the headphone jack, a significant enhancement over requiring a dock connector dongle to provide audio input. After all, far more users are going to want an audio recording feature on the go than a mobile video output system.

Given that video output is more likely to run the battery down than audio input, it also makes sense to bond video out and power into a single clumsy cable. The writing was on the wall that this was going to happen, leaving us to feel comfortable in criticizing conspiracy theorists who demanded that Apple was making the change solely to hurt users and take away their cheap or even do it yourself video cables.

At the same time, it has since been proven that during the audio/video headphone jack move, Apple introduced a video output security system that prevents third parties from making dock connector video output cables and devices without joining the Made for iPod program and paying fees. in addition to "monetizing" its iPod ecosystem and taxing the Chinese cable duplicators, it also appears that this video output DRM is related to movie rentals, as only last year's or newer iPods (including the iPhone, the classic, 3G nano, and touch) can play back video rentals. None of those models support headphone composite video output. This was a move to appease the studios.



Photos, Nike+, Radio Remote, and iPod Games

This years nano supports all of the mini apps and photo features that were introduced last year, including TV-out photo slideshows when used with a dock connector video cable. The photo viewer now takes advantage of the accelerometer to automatically shift the view from tall to wide as you reposition the unit while stepping through each photo. Photos look excellent on the screen and display is extremely fast, making the new 4G nano a really nice way to show off your photos.

The new nano remains compatible with the existing Nike+ receiver that plugs into its dock connector; unlike the new 2G touch, the nano doesn't bundle a transmitter into the device itself, likely because it is an entirely metal case with no existing wireless features. The new nano provides subtly enhanced Nike+ software when using the separately sold transmitter.

The new nano doesn't power over FireWire anymore, just as the latest iPhone 3G. It also relies on the external Radio Remote for users who want to listen to FM radio or pick up broadcast TV audio at the gym. It and the classic are the only modern iPods that support the Radio Remote. The new nano also now supports a radio tagging feature for selecting a song that is playing and using that information to buy it later from iTunes, although it seems unlikely that an iPod user would be listening to the radio to shop for song purchases.

While iPod games have played a silent second fiddle to the iPhone Apps Store, there's now a respectable selection of three dozen different titles for the iPod nanos and classics, all of which remain compatible with the new 4G nano. Note that "iPod G5" games purchased prior to a year ago will not play on the nano, and Apple didn't offer an up upgrade to buyers after revising the games to make them compatible. The nano ships with three games: the previously mentioned, accelerometer controlled Maze, along with the Klondike and Vortex games that Apple bundled with the previous 3G nano.

What ships in the box

The new nano comes in the same 'glass coffin' plexiglass case with the standard stickers, guide book, Universal Dock adapter, standard earbud headphones (no mic), and a USB to dock connector cable. There's no power adapter or dock or, in a nod to Apple's increasing environmental efforts, any other superfluous packaging. The new nano is also advertised as having a recycle-friendly aluminum design that uses arsenic-free glass, and no Brominated Flame Retardants, mercury, or PVC plastics.

The 8GB model will retail for $149, while the 16GB model is $199. Both models come in a spectrum of 9 different colors: silver, purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, pink, (PRODUCT) RED and black. All have a white click wheel apart from the black and silver models, which sport a black click wheel. The 16GB model holds up to 4,000 songs, 14,000 photos, and 16 hours of video, and the 8GB model holds up to 2,000 songs, 7,000 photos and eight hours of video.



On page 4 of 4: Power action figures; Product Review Rundown; Rating, and Pros & Cons.

Power action figures

Apple tells users to expect up to 24 hours of music playback or four hours of video playback; we had no problem listening to music for 30 hours. How much you skip songs, how often you turn the backlight (and how brightly), and how loud you have it set to play back music will all obviously have an impact on real world playback times.

As for video playback, the unit lasted through two hour and a half movies and then another hour and 45 minutes, when set to about half brightness. That's again more than Apple promises, but appears to be an hour less than the previous 3G nano, which stated five hours of playback and typically exceeded that by about 45 minutes as well. Being able to watch two full length movies from this tiny device seems pretty exceptional. When playing video games, the battery is taxed significantly harder, and it lasts roughly half as long, a bit over two hours.

Product Review Rundown

With the latest 4G iPod nano, Apple has delivered a more versatile, ultra thin form factor that should appeal to a broader audience than last year's square 3G nano. It has also polished and enhanced the software, with smart accelerometer integration, a slick Cover Flow view, greater accessibility, a handy Genius function, and audio recording features that the company has seemed too hesitant to add to the iPod line until now.

What's missing? Apple didn't set up a way to have uncompressed audio transcoded on the fly to the new iPods, a feature that would have appealed to audiophiles with time to spare. It cut a few corners such as FireWire charging to make the device even smaller and cheaper. And there's no AM radio feature for people who like to listen to angry static. Finally, it delivers less battery life than last year's larger, square nano in video playback, but its more than four hours of video lifespan seems very reasonable; users who want to watch the Lord of the Rings Trilogy on a transoceanic flight can bring along an external battery pack.

It's simply hard to find much wrong with the new 4G iPod nano, which might be expected given that Apple has put another year's worth of polish on what was already a pretty cool little device. Anyone in the market for a slim, easy to use MP3 player should be extremely satisfied, particularly when they discover a handful of useful new features and twice the storage capacity at the same price as last year's model.

Rating 4.5 out of 5


Pros

Thin and compact, scratch resistant, sturdy construction.

High quality, bright, scratch resistant screen.

Great photo playback features for TV slide presentations.

TV output for movie rentals and downloads.

Includes 3 free games, accelerometer support.

Audio recording features using an iPhone-style integrated mic.

New audio menu accessibility feature.

Cons

Less battery life that previous model when using video.

More photos

High-quality fourth-gen iPod nano unboxing photos

Where to Buy

iPod nano 8GB & 16GB - Amazon.com
post #2 of 64
I'm so tempted to buy one. But for another 100 or 50, you can get the classic.

Hm.. I'll just stick with my 5G video for now.
post #3 of 64
"This year's slightly revised "maintenance mode" iPod classic and earlier models do not support the Genius Playlist features, despite mistaken rumors that suggested this might be in the works."

Apple's product page says the new classic does support the new genius feature. Perhaps you should revise the article (unless if by "maintenance mode" you're talking about a previous ipod classic model...you did not include it in the list of the ones that do support the feature)?
post #4 of 64
I have an iPhone 3G and I was really skeptical of this new design with the curved glass before it came out, but I just had to have one. First off, the full screen adds balance to the design of the player. The old skinny nano had that tiny screen on top that just looks bizarre. The 4G is full and well-balanced. The software is on track too with an excellent display scheme. Now playing is gorgeous and the drop-down menus from holding the center button are awesome. I can't stop looking at it and playing with it. Well done Apple.

(I chose blue...it was a hard choice)
post #5 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"shake to shuffle." While playback is rarely affected by bumping the device, if you give it a deliberate shake, you'll hear an electronic tone and a random new song will begin playing. This seems like an obvious feature to add, which raises the question of why this hasn't been widely introduced before by anyone else.

The Sony Ericsson Walkman range has had this for over a year.
post #6 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbansprawl View Post

I have an iPhone 3G and I was really skeptical of this new design with the curved glass before it came out, but I just had to have one. First off, the full screen adds balance to the design of the player. The old skinny nano had that tiny screen on top that just looks bizarre. The 4G is full and well-balanced. The software is on track too with an excellent display scheme. Now playing is gorgeous and the drop-down menus from holding the center button are awesome. I can't stop looking at it and playing with it. Well done Apple.

(I chose blue...it was a hard choice)

Sounds great. Do you have an option to tilt it clockwise or is it just one way? I'm a leftie. Thanks.
post #7 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by cagliostro View Post

"This year's slightly revised "maintenance mode" iPod classic and earlier models do not support the Genius Playlist features, despite mistaken rumors that suggested this might be in the works."

Apple's product page says the new classic does support the new genius feature. Perhaps you should revise the article (unless if by "maintenance mode" you're talking about a previous ipod classic model...you did not include it in the list of the ones that do support the feature)?

I picked up a new 120GB iPod Classic on Friday, and the genius is on it and it works as expected.
post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by cordisco View Post

I picked up a new 120GB iPod Classic on Friday, and the genius is on it and it works as expected.

Yes, I made a quick correction. Thanks guys.

K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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post #9 of 64
There is no setting to disable the shake to shuffle feature. At least I couldn't find one. What I was told (but didn't try) at the Apple store is to use the hold button. When on hold, shaking doesn't shuffle.

That seems like the best of all decisions. Typically you'll put it on hold when running so that you don't accidentally hit the buttons.
post #10 of 64
I'm personally unimpressed with the 4G nano. Its the first time its not significantly better than the previous generation.

For all the joking about the fatboy, its extremely comfortable to hold and use. The 3G nano feels tiny but has a BIGGER screen than the 4G. I don't see that anything significant has been added to the 4G. Double the memory is about it, and a simple price drop could have accomplished that.

I think Apple is thinking fashion to much and too the fatboy criticism too seriously and didn't realize people liked it just fine after it was released.

I also like that the 3G nano is smooth and rounded all over, where as noted the 4G has rough sharp edges at the top and bottom. Seems that they could have smoothed that down some. I'd be tempted to break out the sandpaper.
post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by dontlookleft View Post

I'm so tempted to buy one. But for another 100 or 50, you can get the classic.

Hm.. I'll just stick with my 5G video for now.

I think the new iPod touch is a better deal. Now they have 3 iPods grouped around the same price. 4G nano 149/199, iPhone 3G 199, iPodTouch 229. I think the iPhone 3G is the best deal unless you don't want to deal with AT&T in which case the iPod touch for 229 is by far the best deal with lots of additional function over the nano.
post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

Typically you'll put it on hold when running so that you don't accidentally hit the buttons.

Shake to shuffle isn't supposed to be sensitive enough to be triggered while running anyway.
post #13 of 64
Quote:
If you think Genius is a blood boiling outrage of epic proportions, you will no doubt be particularly enraged by the offer Apple throws up to check out new games when you plug in a new iPod to sync it (below). Oh the humanity! Apple is clearly in business to make money, and expects users who download iTunes for free to occasionally at least consider browsing its wares.

I'm sorry, but I find that sentence pretty offensive. I think it's perfectly reasonable to complain about advertising in a product I paid for. (I had ads for MobileMe with the iPhone.) The fact that iTunes is free doesn't matter. Should we be grateful to get iTunes for free when it is the ONLY way of syncing the device?

Anyway, I certainly don't come here to be mocked.
post #14 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by kresh View Post

then it is no wonder MacRumors ran all over them in the site traffic category.

Where do you go to compare traffic levels between different sites?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

For all the joking about the fatboy, its extremely comfortable to hold and use. The 3G nano feels tiny but has a BIGGER screen than the 4G.

It's the same size screen, both are 2" 4:3 screens.
post #15 of 64
You guys need to check your FireWire sync section of the comparison chart.

You have the 3rd gen Nano listed as not being able to charge via FW. In reality, it can. It just doesn't support FW sync.

You might want to check the ability of other models as well...

I believe that only items starting with the iPhone 3G dropped FW charging. IE, the only models that do not support it should be the iPhone 3G, 4th gen nano, 120GB classic, and 2nd gen Touch.

Seeing as the 3rd gen nano supports FW charging, I'd imagine that the 80 and 160GB Classics from 2007 support it as well.
post #16 of 64
Imagine it is already in the works to add GPS to the iTouch. You always need to hold something back for next year.

Figure that eventually everything will morph into an iTouch. The thing is just aching to somehow add OLED for the flexible bigger screen or make it a projector so you can also drop your IPOD on a desk and watch the video as a 32" projector. Then, have 2 side by each with a slight offset and put on your 3D glasses...

Can only imagine what the IPOD 10th Generation model will have...

24" iMac, 2 MB Pros, iPad Version 1, 2 x (iPhone 4s), Apple TV 3, a Shuffle and a couple of iTouches somewhere in the house. Spot on wall reserved for an Apple TV of some description. Oh yeah..and...

Reply

24" iMac, 2 MB Pros, iPad Version 1, 2 x (iPhone 4s), Apple TV 3, a Shuffle and a couple of iTouches somewhere in the house. Spot on wall reserved for an Apple TV of some description. Oh yeah..and...

Reply
post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by retroneo View Post

Shake to shuffle isn't supposed to be sensitive enough to be triggered while running anyway.

It's not triggered at all if the screen is off so it's a moot point unless you actively controlling the clickwheel while running. I assume that using the headphones with controls will not activate the display or accelerometer, like in the iPhone/Touch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by foobar View Post

I'm sorry, but I find that sentence pretty offensive. I think it's perfectly reasonable to complain about advertising in a product I paid for. (I had ads for MobileMe with the iPhone.) The fact that iTunes is free doesn't matter. Should we be grateful to get iTunes for free when it is the ONLY way of syncing the device?

I love Genius, but I am currently only using the playlist creator within in iTunes and on my iPhone. But that doesn't mean that I won't be using it in the future to find new music. The best part of Genius' networked feature is that will recommend new music that fits your interests. If you don't like the feature, you don't have to turn it on. You also aren't forced to purchase any of Genius' recommendations from the iTS. You seem to be equating it to a popup or overlay in a trial app, but this isn't the case. Isn't Genius off by default?

Quote:
Anyway, I certainly don't come here to be mocked.

Where do you usually go?
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #18 of 64
Quote:
I'm personally unimpressed with the 4G nano. Its the first time its not significantly better than the previous generation.

I disagree, The change from the 1G iPod nano to the 2G iPod nano wasn't very significant, save for the aluminum casing. They didn't add any new features between the two or anything like that.

Quote:
For all the joking about the fatboy, its extremely comfortable to hold and use. The 3G nano feels tiny but has a BIGGER screen than the 4G. I don't see that anything significant has been added to the 4G. Double the memory is about it, and a simple price drop could have accomplished that.

The 3G and 4G nanos use the same exact 2" screen, the 4G is just flipped on its side. As for added features, I think the inclusion of the Genius playlist creator is a pretty big one. I for one hated having to go and personall make on-the-go playlists if I went to the gym or anywhere else and needed to listen to some music. With the Genius feature, it will do all the work for me, which is a huge time saver. And the inclusion of the accelerometer is big too, not only for cover flow, but for picture viewing and games, too, which was stated in the article. And let's not forget voice recording too. If people are able to use their iPod to make voice memos and other things, that's one less device they need to carry around with them.

In all, I think Apple did an excellent job with the new nano's, and am extremely tempted to go out and get one. And I almost forgot, they got rid of those hideous pastel colors! That should have been a listed feature all by itself!
post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by dontlookleft View Post

I'm so tempted to buy one. But for another 100 or 50, you can get the classic.

Hm.. I'll just stick with my 5G video for now.

They are different uses. Focusing only on one measure is pretty short-sighted. I had a regular iPod already, but the weight and size of the nano was a lot more tenable to my needs, and nanos are a lot more durable. Even though the occasional accidental drop isn't supposed to hurt the hard drive because it's usually parked, they still do accumulate damage a lot more readily than flash.
post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by polar315 View Post

Imagine it is already in the works to add GPS to the iTouch.

How would you get GPS apps to work efficiently?

Without 3G or Wi-Fi, you would need a larger antenna, open to the sky and a data base of usable maps. Otherwise, reception would be spotty and you won't have access to Google maps.
post #21 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

I think the new iPod touch is a better deal. Now they have 3 iPods grouped around the same price. 4G nano 149/199, iPhone 3G 199, iPodTouch 229. I think the iPhone 3G is the best deal unless you don't want to deal with AT&T in which case the iPod touch for 229 is by far the best deal with lots of additional function over the nano.

iPhone looks like a better deal, but that is because a lot of that is paid through carrier subsidy, it's folded into your contract, and you pay for the 3G data plan whether or not you need or can get 3G service.
post #22 of 64
Well GPS function could be added, what you need to do is similar to what Nike did, make a RF receiver that contains SirfIII GPS chip and it will send the positioning data to the Touch or iPhone through RF

Of course you need to make a map plotter software that doesnt require Google Maps.

I like the new Nano looks but like some other user posted, the fatboy nano is actually very comfortable to use but because of the shiny scratch able surface it caused me to put ugly protective film or cover it with silicon cover. I wonder if Apple would be able to offer a shiny back surface that wont scratch easily (as in normal use).
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post #23 of 64
personally I think Apple did a nice job updating nano and this review reflects that. Really the only disappointment is the price. For a straight forward MP3 player it is very well done.

I really wish I could say the same about Touch. There they blew the capacity issue which is important to many. Plus installing BluTooth capable hardware and then not implementing it just fans the flames of disgust.



Dave
post #24 of 64
The new screen looks great, but I'm not crazy about having to turn it sideways, nor about the controls being oriented different from the picture. It's a nice unit but frankly I like the configuration of the "fatty" better.

So with the genius feature, is there a way to turn off the sidebar? I mean turning off the sidebar (which just wastes space on my machine) but still use the genius feature to create playlists?

Also, is there any way to provide feedback to improve genius results? The first time I tried it I picked a recent "alternative" song - some of the results made sense but it also picked things like Hound Dog by Elvis.
post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Plus installing BluTooth capable hardware and then not implementing it just fans the flames of disgust.

I am disappointed apple hasn't offered the option of wireless syncing on either model. It would be particularly useful for people who listen to things like podcasts, especially ones that are updated often.
post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

personally I think Apple did a nice job updating nano and this review reflects that. Really the only disappointment is the price. For a straight forward MP3 player it is very well done.

I really wish I could say the same about Touch. There they blew the capacity issue which is important to many. Plus installing BluTooth capable hardware and then not implementing it just fans the flames of disgust.

1) What is wrong with the price of the Nano? They doubled the capacity and added some nice HW and SW features.

2) How did they blow the capacity in the Touch? The 32GB was just released earlier this year and 64GB is still prohibitively expensive. I'm not even sure it will be an option for the refresh in early 2009.

3) They did include Nike+ in the Touch. Apple says it's not 802.11 or Bluetooth, which is correct since it's proprietary, but it uses the 2.4GHz spectrum and would most closely match the low pwer, short range Bluetooth over 802.11.

Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

I am disappointed apple hasn't offered the option of wireless syncing on either model. It would be particularly useful for people who listen to things like podcasts, especially ones that are updated often.

I'm not a fan of wireless media syncing as a general rule, but for podcasts it does make sense. I understand Apple's take on not allowing it over the carrier's network, but offering it over WiFi would be nice, as well as having giving you an option to enable the Push service so you know when a new one is available.

PS: Since Apple isn't allowing it, there may be a market for a website that will allow you to import your podcast list from iTunes on to their site and then send you an email of SMS to your iPhone letting you know you have a new podcast from 'whomever'. Then you could access the site and listen/view it there.
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post #27 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

I'm personally unimpressed with the 4G nano. Its the first time its not significantly better than the previous generation.

For all the joking about the fatboy, its extremely comfortable to hold and use. The 3G nano feels tiny but has a BIGGER screen than the 4G. I don't see that anything significant has been added to the 4G. Double the memory is about it, and a simple price drop could have accomplished that.

I think Apple is thinking fashion to much and too the fatboy criticism too seriously and didn't realize people liked it just fine after it was released.

I also like that the 3G nano is smooth and rounded all over, where as noted the 4G has rough sharp edges at the top and bottom. Seems that they could have smoothed that down some. I'd be tempted to break out the sandpaper.

The 3G screen is the same size as the 4G screen, it is not BIGGER.
The screen is actually the same screen just rotated.
post #28 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

The new screen looks great, but I'm not crazy about having to turn it sideways, nor about the controls being oriented different from the picture. It's a nice unit but frankly I like the configuration of the "fatty" better.

So with the genius feature, is there a way to turn off the sidebar? I mean turning off the sidebar (which just wastes space on my machine) but still use the genius feature to create playlists?

Also, is there any way to provide feedback to improve genius results? The first time I tried it I picked a recent "alternative" song - some of the results made sense but it also picked things like Hound Dog by Elvis.

Yes you can turn off the Genius Side bar and the Genius playlist creation still works.
These two features are not linked in any way - which is not the impression the article gave at all.
Just turn off the side bar by clicking the small icon in the lower right hand side of the iTunes window. You then have the great playlist creation feature and are not 'sold' to by the store unless you want it (you can turn it back on with the same icon).

As for the stupid comment about 'doubling the memory at the same price' - well that IS exactly the same as dropping the price!!!
post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

How would you get GPS apps to work efficiently?

When I keep hearing questions, like the above on the various forums, I really have to wonder if people have any idea at all as to what GPS is?
Quote:
Without 3G or Wi-Fi, you would need a larger antenna, open to the sky and a data base of usable maps. Otherwise, reception would be spotty and you won't have access to Google maps.

I'm not sure where this falicy about the antenna size comes from. The GPS antenna in the iPhone works really well. Sure it helps to have a clear sight on the sky after all that is where the satilites are. But let's face it Cell and WiFi signals do get blocked by dense buildings so what is the point in relying on those services? That doesn't even include simply being out of range of a cell tower.

As to google maps and their requirement to be always on - screw them. There are already apps on the app store that address this. There are apps for position data and marine navigation. From all appearances there are many more to come.

There seems to be an impression, with city boys, that the whole reason for GPS is to help them find the next Starbucks location. I don't want to bust any bubbles here but that is not what GPS is all about. Frankly many of us have never been in a Starbucks.


Dave
post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The GPS antenna in the iPhone works really well.

I've been wanting to test this but I can't help but be in cell range everywhere I travel. How long did it take get your initial position? Did the long and lat accurately follow your position? What is the worst weather condition that you tested it in (because antenna and power do matter)? What App Store app did you use to get a visible location?
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post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

So with the genius feature, is there a way to turn off the sidebar? I mean turning off the sidebar (which just wastes space on my machine) but still use the genius feature to create playlists?

Also, is there any way to provide feedback to improve genius results? The first time I tried it I picked a recent "alternative" song - some of the results made sense but it also picked things like Hound Dog by Elvis.

Click the arrow in the bottom right of the iTunes window and the Genius sidebar disappears.

ITunes gives feedback automatically if I understand the feature correctly. You can always update Genius under the Store item in the menu bar. I think if we do this once a month, Genius will get smarter and smarter as Steve said in the Keynote.
post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorre View Post

Click the arrow in the bottom right of the iTunes window and the Genius sidebar disappears.

ITunes gives feedback automatically if I understand the feature correctly. You can always update Genius under the Store item in the menu bar. I think if we do this once a month, Genius will get smarter and smarter as Steve said in the Keynote.

Thanks for the info on hiding the bar.

How does iTunes get the feedback? If I have a genius playlist with some terrible choices, how does it know I don't think those match? If I delete songs from that genius playlist, does iTunes send that info back to the server?
post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

How does iTunes get the feedback? If I have a genius playlist with some terrible choices, how does it know I don't think those match? If I delete songs from that genius playlist, does iTunes send that info back to the server?

iTunes isn't recording your Genius playlists. It's recording your entire library and the songs you play the most. It's probably also recording your user made playlists since those do have info as to what you group together, but none of that is being sent to the iTS Genius servers unless you specifically tell it to. They certainly are using the info you send them for future marketing purposes, but it's not a Big Brother setup that is constantly monitoring what you listen to. If Clippy ever pops up asking you if it can help you create a new playlist then you might to watch out.
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post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

I am disappointed apple hasn't offered the option of wireless syncing on either model. It would be particularly useful for people who listen to things like podcasts, especially ones that are updated often.

I think podcasts are the one really good reason to have that, most of the other arguments for it aren't all that strong in my opinion. Most podcasts don't update more than once a week, but there might be an update in the middle of the day, and I could fetch it over WiFi and listen to it within minutes rather than wait until the next day to listen to it. It's a shame that Apple didn't want to offer it, and they didn't want anyone else to make a program to do it.
post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorre View Post

Click the arrow in the bottom right of the iTunes window and the Genius sidebar disappears.

Any way to make the genius logo disappear from an iPhone playlist and playhead scrubber bar? It seems that the iPhone should know that I declined to use Genius and not waste any screen space with branding not relevant to me.
post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I think podcasts are the one really good reason to have that, there might be an update in the middle of the day, and I could fetch it over WiFi. It's a shame that Apple didn't want to offer it, and they didn't want anyone else to make a program to do it.

I think Apple would allow a simple App Store app that used the Push service to inform you that a new Podcast in your list has been made available. Since it's not DLing the app, notifying you that it's available I don't see this violating the SDK in any way.
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post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think Apple would allow a simple App Store app that used the Push service to inform you that a new Podcast in your list has been made available. Since it's not DLing the app, notifying you that it's available I don't see this violating the SDK in any way.

I really haven't looked very deeply in the brouhaha, but supposedly the Podcast app didn't violate the stated terms of the app store.
post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

iTunes isn't recording your Genius playlists. It's recording your entire library and the songs you play the most. It's probably also recording your user made playlists since those do have info as to what you group together, but none of that is being sent to the iTS Genius servers unless you specifically tell it to. They certainly are using the info you send them for future marketing purposes, but it's not a Big Brother setup that is constantly monitoring what you listen to. If Clippy ever pops up asking you if it can help you create a new playlist then you might to watch out.

If that's the case, I'm skeptical about how much the odd picks will improve. Personally I'm more interested in the genius choices getting better and I don't really care what info they analyze - it's not like they're going to find out anything personal about me from the songs I listen to.
post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I really haven't looked very deeply in the brouhaha, but supposedly the Podcast app didn't violate the stated terms of the app store.

Check out this post from Abster2Core.
http://forums.appleinsider.com/showp...1&postcount=26 As I stated in a previous post, a website that grabbed your podcasts list from iTunes, and sent you and email/SMS when it was updated, and let you play them in the browser as a streaming file would work as Apple or the carrier has no legal way of blocking this.
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post #40 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

This explains why Apple's forthcoming mic-equipped headphones are not listed as compatible with the iPhone; the iPhone wasn't designed to respond to triple clicking. The new headphones will handle this for you by sending a triple click to navigate. All this clicking is communicated over the mic conductor, which adds another wire between the iPod and the headphones.

My 1st gen iPhone responds to triple clicks with the 2.1 software update. I just hope it supports the volume up/down feature as well.
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