Without question, Apple’s new iPod nano is the most impressive piece of technology to come along in years. Not to mention that it’s also the most attractive gadget ever.
I’ve always loved the iPod. It’s a phenomenal device. Heck, I’ve owned six of them now.
But, to my mind, the iPod was always an obvious accomplishment. It’s effect on me was more “d’oh!” than “eureka!”.
The iPod wasn’t the first portable MP3 player, just the first one done
well. It wasn’t mindblowing in its abilities, it performed as expected.
But, with the iPod, Apple just seemed to “get it” where nobody else did
— or yet does.
In short, while it was a brilliant machine, the iPod succeeded so well in part because its competition sucked so bad.
Yet, while its form was always beautiful to hold and behold, there was something awkward about it.
The nano, on the other hand, is a flawless piece of industrial design.
Everything about it oozes perfection. It represents the exceptional
utility of previous iPods in a package of unsurpassed elegance.
To be honest, I didn’t like the nano when I first held it. It seemed too small, too light. And it felt fragile.
Through use over the past couple of weeks, though, I’ve come to love
it. There are times I find myself just sitting there, admiring it like
some fine artifact. It feels like it’s meant to be in my hand. And it’s
proved itself more durable than I’d expected.
There’s nothing really astonishing or new in the iPod nano, compared
with past iPods. Apple has just taken every great iPod feature ever and
wrapped them up into an amazing new form factor.
And the form factor is just that: amazing. Or maybe it’s stunning. Or phenomenal. Or unbelievable.
Whatever you want to call it, there’s no denying the iPod nano’s tiny
size demands big words. It’s so small, in fact, that when I first held
the nano, I couldn’t believe it would actually work.
Barely as large as a few credit cards stacked on top of each other, it
felt like it would float out of my hand. It carries no weight.
I was scared of it at first. I just left it on my desk and looked at
it. I feared I might squeeze it too hard and snap it in half.
I can attest to its durability, however. The other night my son and I
were wrestling in the living room for a while. Afterwards we stopped
for a snack and read a book while he sat on my lap.
It was only after he was in bed that I remembered the nano in my pants-pocket. Too afraid to look, I left it there till morning.
This is the risk of the iPod nano, actually. You can forget you’re
carrying it. No doubt there will be many of these things that end up in
the washing machine.
I found my iPod nano unscathed in my pocket the next morning. Nary a
dent, wrinkle, or scratch on it from the previous night’s activities. I
wouldn’t take it into a rugby game or anything like that, but it
definitely can handle the general rigours of the average day.
In addition to storing and playing music from an iTunes library, the
nano can also store and display photos. While quite small for this, the
nano’s colour screen is extremely vibrant and very sharp.
In fact, to my surprise, this may be my favourite feature of the iPod
nano. Instead of stuffing my wallet full of fading, wrinkled pictures
of family and friends, I can have an almost unlimited supply of visual
memories in my pocket. Plus, I can set them up as a slide show and play
it to my favourite music.
Your geek friends — the ones who think they know everything — will
tell you that the nano doesn’t have enough capacity. That’s bullocks.
Research has shown that MP3 owners, on average, carry little more than
about a gigabyte (GB) of music. So at either 2 GB or 4 GB, the nano has
more than enough room for most people.
In fact, that’s pretty much what makes the iPod nano so perfect–it’s
targeted at regular folks who will use it for regular things. Geek
friends I’ve shown it to have bemoaned the lack of this or that in its
feature set. (Right after they exclaim, “How did they make something
this small do all that?” Go figure.)
Everyone else swoons at its beauty and is mesmerized by its simple utility. And then they want one.
I know I’m joining a large chorus of pundits and critics who are
singing the praises of Apple’s new iPod nano. It’s almost cliché. But I
can’t resist. The iPod nano device begs to be told of. And despite its
size and purpose, this is one piece of technology I just can’t bear to
keep in my pocket, hidden away. Here, take a look at it for yourself.
Copyright 2005 Andrew Robulack
First published in the Yukon News, Friday, Septemer 23, 2005