The iPod nano from Apple is a digital media player with an extremely compact design and intuitive multi-touch screen. In addition to digital audio playback, the nano lets you look at photos, allows you to listen to FM radio, and offers compatibility with the Nike + iPod Sport Kit.
The most stunning feature of the nano is its size. Apple has dropped the venerable clickwheel from the design, allowing the player to be 46% smaller and 42% lighter than the previous generation design. Despite its small size, the player is able to provide up to 24 hours of nonstop music playback on a single charge. Player control is handled instead by a 1.5" color display with full support for multi-touch gestures.
You'll be able to swipe, drag, tap, and rotate your fingers across the display to control the player's functionality. If you're worried about dropping or misplacing the tiny player while out and about, have no fear -- an integrated clip allows you to wear the nano on your person. And, thanks to the screen rotation function, you can clip it in any orientation -- you'll always be able to adjust the screen to suit your needs.
The nano works with Apple's iTunes application -- available for Mac and Windows computer systems -- to manage your music and load it onto the device. iTunes allows you to convert the CDs you already own to digital audio files, and you'll also be able to purchase new music from the iTunes store. Once the music is loaded onto the nano, you'll be able to access it any which way you'd like -- via album, artist, song title, or playlists. In addition to the playlists you create in the iTunes software, the nano supports the Apple Genius feature -- simply activate Genius when you are listening to a song and the nano will create an on-the-fly playlist of 25 songs that complement it. It's perfect for those times when you'd like to create a mix of a certain kind of music, but don't want to take the time to craft a playlist yourself. And, if you have no idea what you want to listen to at all, just shake the player -- it will start shuffling your music.
Believe it or not, despite advances in digital music, satellite, and other space-age technologies, there are still a lot of radio stations out there broadcasting using good ol' fashioned FM technology. The iPod nano is able to tune in to your favorite FM station with ease. You'll even be able to pause an FM broadcast for up to 15 minutes.
The nano works with Nike's iPod Sports Kit, which is available separately. This system allows the player to communicate with select Nike running shoes, helping you to keep track of your workout and giving you real-time voice feedback on your exercises. Even if you don't have special shoes -- or shoes at all, for that matter -- you can use the nano as a pedometer to keep track of your steps.
The nano even features a number of functions that are intended to help users with disabilities enjoy the device. The VoiceOver function, which requires the optional Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic to function, lets you control your music without looking at the screen -- it speaks the name of the song or artist via the earphones -- in any of 29 languages. Visually impaired users will also appreciate the ability to set the display to high contrast mode -- all text is displayed as white on a black background. Users who only have hearing in one ear will appreciate the ability to set the player to mono mode -- which routes all audio into both earbuds, eliminating the possibility of missing parts of a song due to stereo separation.