Emerging Technology


Patrick Stafford /

On the face of it there really isn’t that much to say about the iPad Nano – it’s one of the few dedicated music players left on the market. But that also makes it worth taking a look at – especially as Apple has given it a makeover. Is it still worth buying?

Hardware and features

The new iPad Nano looks much like the iPod Touch, with a home button, although it features a screen that’s just 2.5 inches with a 240×432 resolution. The device itself measures 3.01 inches high, and 1.56 inches wide.

Connectivity wise the gadget features the Apple Lightning connector, the headphone jack, and volume controls. Apple boasts up to 30 hours of music playback and 3.5 hours of video playback when charged.

What’s the consensus?

The first thing you’ll notice about the Nano is just how small it is. As CNET points out, even compared to previous versions, this iPod is “ridiculously small”.

And while the publication does have criticisms, it notes the LCD is bright and colourful, and the touchscreen is responsive – essential for the new apps installed.

The big problem? Trying to return to the home screen.

“We’ve become so accustomed to having a home button on touchscreen devices, people leap into menus and features without considering how to get back.”

“The iPod Nano borrows many of the touchscreen interface metaphors of the iPhone and iPod Touch, but does not include a home button or basic on-screen breadcrumb buttons to show users the way out.”

As CNET says, it makes users work harder, which is a no-go for a hardware design.

As The Verge says, having to deal with files through iTunes makes the Nano feel like a relic.

“The iPod was a dominant product because the iTunes Store utterly changed the music industry, but we don’t live in that world anymore. We live in a world in which most teenagers have unlimited access to music on YouTube, and not even the iPod Nano’s fancy new Lightning connector can plug into that kind of world.”

However, as Engadget says, the device itself is still fine, especially with the software allowing photo and video playback – and the Nike+ functionality was also praised as a positive addition.

“The integrated Nike+ functionality will make the runners happy and, while it still doesn’t mark the return of video capture, we welcome the re-acquired video playback.”

But as The Verge says, one of the bigger marks against the Nano is that it just may not be relevant anymore.

“There might be some people for whom spending $149 on a 16GB iPod Nano makes a lot of sense. If you’re a runner with a very specific set of playlists, or if you just need the cheapest way to play your existing iTunes library, the Nano will be just fine.”

“But most people will be much better served spending an extra $50 on the $199 16GB iPod touch, downloading Spotify, and leaving iTunes — and files — behind.”

Who’s it for?

A very select group of people, it seems.

If you have an iPhone, there’s really no need to get a dedicated music player. But if you’re one of the few who really does want something different to keep all your music on, then there’s really no other choice. The iPod Nano is still the best small-form music player around, and with apps and a camera, there isn’t really a choice.

But then again, maybe you’re better off just ditching the Nano and using a streaming service.

Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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