Ars critiques the 6th-generation iPod nano: all computer screen, every the duration

If you suspect Apple is getting a little predictable with its yearly device refreshes, you probably haven’t been charting the improvements of its iPod nano. While most equipment in the Apple line receive an enhance every 12 months or so, few have lived through the kind of annual reinvention of the nano. It’s a rare example of this of the company highly re-thinking a product with such regularity — or of simply not really realizing what to make of it.
Depending on how you look at it, this new seventh-generation iPod nano is either the latest, most optimal design of the long-running series, or it’s Apple’s latest shot in the dark. Even the cynics will have to acknowledge this is a pretty good shot, thinner than ever and packing more functionality than in the past — including Bluetooth 4.0. It sure doesn’t make much of a wristwatch, but is the latest littlest iPod worthwhile the $149 price of programs to its 16GB capacity? Read on to find out.
It’s a tiny simple thing, this new nano. No, it isn’t the smallest in terms of volume — that honorific resides with the decidedly square sixth generation, which measured 37.5 x 41 x 8.8mm. This new, clipless model is far thinner, just 5.4mm, but it’s also taller (76.5mm) and a bit wider (39.6mm), developing a device that is overall slightly larger. But, that’s like saying Gerard Butler is a slightly hunkier dude than Hugh Jackman. Both individuals are pretty hunky.
This new nano is adequately tiny. Its weight, 31 grams, is less than half that of the new iPod feel and about the same as 10 sticks of au jus Fruit.
Indeed, this new nano is competently tiny. Its weight, 31 grams, is less than half that of the new iPod touch and about the same as 10 sticks of Juicy Fruit. It weighs less than the batteries in many modern smartphones — those that still have removable batteries, anyway. Put it in your pocket, even the tiny fifth budget that Steve Jobs famously pulled the former nano from back in 2006, and you definitely won’t be able to tell it’s there.
The reason for this change in capacity is the move away from the square, 240 x 240 determination LCD found in the last-gen nano. That’s replaced by a 2.5-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio, multi-touch LCD that clocks in at 240 x 432. It’s actually a slight step downward in terms of pixel density, but the further space is more than worth it, as now this can make for a indifferent video player. In a grasp.
Still, even overlooking its size, this panel won’t dazzle you like the one on the new iPod touch does. It’s bright and clear and reasonably good-looking, but viewing angles are not this thing’s forte. Tilt the screen descending and the contrast quickly plummets, and the color balance looks pretty sickly when staring onward from any other direction.
Situated beneath that display is a tiny home button, a first on the nano. (Previous iPods had click-wheels or no such buttons at all.) That produces one of five buttons here — yes, five. There’s a slim power button up on the top and, on the upper-left, a three-way volume cradle like those found on many BlackBerry handsets. With this you can alter volume and, by putting in the middle, play/pause music or indulge in any of the Morse code-like commands for shuffling or skipping tracks.
This rocker is situated flush with the side of the device, the indentation in the middle serving as the only thing that sets it apart from the left extent. Still, it’s easy to find, but given the size of this thing we think you’ll probably want to rely on the inline distant on a pair of suitably endowed headphones. Sadly, the EarPods included with the device are lacking in that context.
On the bottom are the three methods of connectivity — two ports and a tiny plastic window through which this thing’s Bluetooth 4.0 antenna talks. On the left is the 3.5mm headphone jack and on the right, the Lightning connector. As on the iPhone 5 and the new iPod touch, the extremely connector is a huge upgrade in terms of usability and size — far easier to connect and, of course, much smaller. But, that comes at the expense of adaptor-free compatibility with the billion of iPod docks out there today.
The design speech of the device is simple, clean and, frankly, not too far off from the previous nano.
The design foreign language of the device is simple, clean and, candidly, not too far off from the previous nano. The anodized light weight aluminum chassis curves around to cradle the LCD on the left and proper, but it’s flat on the top and bottom, with edges exhibiting the subtle chamfering that appears to be all the rage these days. It has a soft, polished finish to it that we think will hold up sanely well to scratches. It will, at least, be far more scratch-resistant than the previous mirrored, stainless stainless steel backs.
Overall, the new nano isn’t quite the creatively arresting device that the latest iPod touch is, but that’s at least in part because it’s so much smaller — it’s harder to appreciate the design features. Look closely, but, and the attraction to detail shines through. This is a great-looking and great-feeling device.
iPod nano review 2012
Users of the previous-gen iPod nano will really feel right at home here, for the most part. Not an awful lot has replaced in the interface or functionality, though things are a bit more flowing than before. It’s still the same basic iOS-like UI, but again we’re not talking actual iOS. There are nine icons this time, spread out across two pages — with just three icons taking up the second. Thankfully you can re-arrange them and relegate your least-used functions to the deepness of the second page.
Music and playlist equipment are all contained beneath the single Music icon now, which brings up the familiar iPod interface for checking tracks by artisan, album or playlist. There are the equivalent loop and shuffle playback options as before. Making a triumphant return after a few years off is the video player, which makes the best use of the limited screen real real estate to play back footage in 16:9 Tinyvision.
ipod nano 6th generation (2012) interface
Nike+ usability is still here, made even better in this iteration by having everything built into the hardware. You no longer necessity to clip on a receiving system or put an accelerometer on your shoe to track your moves or runs, and you can even connect Bluetooth cardiovascular system rate monitors wirelessly. That makes this an even better workout companion than before — though the lack of the integrated clip will be seen as a little step backward by those whose running shorts lack pockets. (Surely some intrepid case maker will fix that dilemma in short order.)
iPod nano review 2012
Photo screening is still possible, made better with pinch-zooming this time around. And, thanks to the accelerometer, images will auto-rotate as you go from portrait to landscape. Radio viewing 3d videos is largely unchanged, including song tagging and the Live Radio pausing, which enables up to 15 minutes of time shifting. There are lots of clock deals with, made somewhat less required thanks to this thing’s shape being unsuitable for wrist wearing, but we have no doubt someone will prove us wrong on that leading. Finally, pop in a headset with a microphone and you’ll get the Voice Memos icon, which allows the recording of little reminders.
But, since the set of EarPods contained with the nano lack inline controls and the inline microphone, if you want to make such videos you’ll have to BYO ear buds.

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