This is certainly an eye-catching gimmick, but we didn’t find it particularly useful. We tend to use the shuffle mode to flick through songs quite quickly, whereas the ‘shake to shuffle’ option actually slows you down as you have to keep shaking the Nano from side to side all the time. However, it’s the sort of thing that will look really cool when you try it out in a store showroom, so we wouldn’t be surprised if it helps to swing a few sales this Christmas, especially to parents thinking of buying one for their kids.
As an aside, games developers have been using the accelerometer in the iPhone and iPod Touch to produce games that can be controlled by tilting the device from side to side. Most of the games available for the Nano are quite simple ones controlled with the scrollwheel, so it'll be interesting to see if some of those iPhone games start to appear on the Nano too.
In addition to these changes to the hardware design, Apple has also included a few new software features that help to improve the iPod’s ease of use. There’s an option to increase the typeface size for menu text in order to improve legibility, and for people with more seriously impaired vision there’s a new feature called Spoken Word Menus.
As you scroll through the various menu options, the Nano is now able to speak aloud the names of each menu item, such as Albums, Artists and Songs, as well as telling you the name of each song and the artist - though it did have a bit of trouble with ‘Kylie Minogue’, who was on our iPod purely in the interests of research.
In order to use this feature, you first have to connect the Nano to your computer and then activate the Spoken Word Menus option in iTunes – a point that's foolishly omitted from the skimpy Getting Started leaflet supplied with the iPod. When you do this, iTunes uses the ‘text to speech’ capabilities that are built into both the Mac and Windows operating systems to generate a series of audio files containing the spoken menu titles and track information and then downloads these onto the iPod. This process takes a little time – about 2.5 minutes when we put 1000 songs onto our 8GB Nano – as well as a little bit of the iPod’s disk space. However, the spoken menu files for those 1000 songs only took up an additional 45MB, so this isn’t going to eat into the iPod’s storage capacity too much.
Nice gadget but 2 things...
One, I've got a 3 year old 20GB iRiver that came with Sennheiser earphones which still has better sound quality and cost about 300 quid (I think, was a while ago) at time of purchase and I can see it for $140. It looks good, although it doesn't have a colour screen or many of the features, but hey, I'm very happy with it.
Two, could you accidentally turn on shuffle while jogging?
I would like to confirm that the new nano and the new touch suffer the same poor sound quality inherent to the change of DAC as the Classic (6G)?
I tried the new touch in Apple Store this weekend, but even with my own (proper) pair of earphones and my 5G, the settings doesn't really allow a proper test:
- No similar file on both device
- Noisy environment (even if the Shure SE530 took a good care of that)
- Probably more important: the Touch battery was nearly dead (hey another great side-effect of putting the earphones jacks at the bottom.... and it's hard to charge it upside down)
So the sound sounds very metallic, a bit of distortion and frankly quite unpleasant. I'm not sure if it's (only) linked to the discharged battery or the cheap DAC.
So, of course it's a flashy gadget, with a great browser (the Touch) but it's still supposed to be a music player.... so sound quality is still for me a important factor!
Do you think....
That given the older generation of iPod tocuhs and iPhones have acclerometers that they'll do a firmware upgrade to filter these features down to the old models?
Re: Decisions, decisions ...
"Correction: An extra £20 buys you an 8 Gb Touch. The 16Gb Touch is a hefty £70 more than the 16 Gb Nano."
Oops ... my bad. <slaps forehead>
For some reason, I thought the 8Gb Touch had been canned. Storage capacity aside (I've got a 1Gb shuffle which is rarely more than 75% full but I still have adequate tunage for when I'm out and about) I think the 8Gb Touch may be a better buy, for me at least. Roll on payday :-D
Paris, 'cos she'd have got it right ...
@ sir toxteth of gravy
my only comment is that the apple standard headphones may be good enough for you, as the intended listener (i won't go into details, but you are wrong - you get what you pay for in the low end, i.e. sub £100, audio area, headphones are no exception) but they sure piss off the people in your locality - they are horrendously audistically leaky - you can hear a very bad tinny redition of the latest and not so greatest pop tunes from any white earlobed applite.