nano-chromatic

Apple’s new fourth-generation iPod nano has recently been released and now has twice the capacity as the third-generation nano…for the same price.

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one to spend the week with, and I have grown quite attached to it.

With nine new brightly-colored options, an 8 GB and a 16 GB option (still for $149 and $199) and a sleek, curved design, the new nano is far more visually appealing than its squatty predecessor.

Several new features have been added, while many others have simply been updated with the intentions of improving user experience. During the week that I spent doing countless hours of research, there were two very prominent new features that stood out among the rest.

The first is a tilt sensor. Merely by tilting the nano 90 degrees in one direction or the other, the user is able to gain access to their Cover Flow (an asthetically pleasing way of flipping through album art).

And while this new innovation is quite impressive, having to hold the long body of the nano sideways makes it a little more difficult for the user to toggle.

The long design of the fourth-generation nano simply does not fit well in the human hand when turned on its side (especially a small human hand like mine).

Though this feature is definitely attractive, the whole purpose of the nano is to give the user a small, easy-to-handle device. It seems to defeat the purpose if you need both hands to search through your Cover Flow.

This can become especially difficult, not to mention unsafe, if the user is attempting to do this while driving. Apple certainly knows how to appeal to the general technology-using population, but they did not seem to think their design through as thoroughly as they undoubtedly could have. I understand that the iPod is classically long and slender (which the third-generation nano seemed to stray from), but it is not as practical.

On the up side, the user will get used to having to tilt the nano and possibly needing both hands to use Cover Flow once they have spent some good, quality time with it.

The second most prominent, and perhaps my favorite, addition to the new nano is the shake-to-shuffle feature. Although complaints have already been made regarding its sensitivity, what could possibly be more exciting than shaking your iPod and having no idea what song is up next? Right, nothing.

Imagine that you’re walking to class, listening to some rocking music and you start to dance a little…suddenly, new song!

And for those whiners out there, the shake-to-shuffle feature can easily be disabled.

“Genius” is another feature that has been added. It creates playlists based on song compatibility and similarity.

The only problem with this feature, unfortunately for people like me, is that artists and genres that are not as popular seem to fly too far under the radar for Genius to match with others. For most music, the feature works wonders and makes it easy to create playlists that the user is sure to love.

As far as the physical design of the nano, the curved shape is quite appealing. However, I can certainly foresee issues with glare hitting the curved, glass screen. Navigating with the wheel is also not as natural along a curved surface.

Besides these obvious changes, little else has been improved upon since Apple’s third-generation nano. However, this is not to say that it is not worth the buy. With doubled capacity at the same price as the third-generation, I’d say that it is most certainly worth considering.

Unfortunately, I do not get to keep this beautiful little piece of technology. The Technique will be giving it away to one of you! Simply go to our website (www.nique.net) and fill out the survey for a chance to win.