9/14/09
10:47 am

MacMost Now 292: The New iPod Nano

Take a look at the new iPod Nano which features lots of new features like a video camera, microphone, pedometer and FM radio.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at the new iPod Nano. So first let's take a look at what's the same with the new iPod Nano. It's still primarily an mp3 player and still has the same basic playback interface that the Nano's have had. It also plays back videos on a full-color screen.
The design is still basically the same; it's still the same case shape and it comes with the same ear buds. It also has still has the same basic interface for playing things back. You use the scroll wheel to scroll up and down and around the menus, pressing the center button to deeper into the menu; the menu button to go back.
You can also do lots of different things on different features by holding down the center button and also clicking on the button that comes on the ear buds included with the Nano, but this new device also comes with a whole bunch of new features.
One of them, for instance, is voiceover. Voiceover is something that was introduced with the Shuffle earlier this year, and it basically asks iTunes to create little text voice messages for each song, each playlist, each artist, each album that you've got; and you can go ahead and use the button on your ear buds to have it tell you the name of the song that's currently playing. You can even have it list the current things in playlist and have it jump right to them. It works the same way it does with the Shuffle, except the Shuffle has more buttons on its ear buds that don't come on the Nano's ear buds. You can however, I hear, use those Shuffle ear buds with the Nano to get the same features.
The biggest new features is of course the new camera on the back that allows you to record video. You can record 640-480 QuickTime video and with audio with the little microphone below the camera. In the very next episode of MacMost Now, I'm going to do a review on just the camera part of the Nano. So I'll just say now that it works pretty well, although remember it's only video; it doesn't do photographs.
Coming along for the ride with the video camera is the fact that you can use microphone to create voice memos. So, this is very useful for doing quick voice memos for yourself, but you can also record hours and hours worth of audio which makes it perfect for a college student that wants to record a lecture.
But the new features don't stop there. There's also a pedometer that measures your steps. Now, iPods did this before, but only in conjunction with special Nike attachments. Now you can actually record your steps with pedometer built into the device. It's not just something that counts steps, you can actually set goals for yourself, and it has different features and things like that. There's a whole complex menu of things you can do with it, and I hear you can also upload the results to the Nike website even if you don't have a Nike product to attach iPod Nano.
Now another new feature is an FM radio, but it's not just an FM radio. It's integrated really well with the interface of the Nano. So it's kinda got this digital tuner interface. Not only that, but you can also go ahead and see the digital image displayed by a lot of stations, you know, the same kind of stuff you would see displayed on car stereos.
But some stations go even further and actually provide these little digital tags for each song. If you're lucky enough to find a station with one of these, you can actually add a song as a favorite, tag it, and perhaps purchase it later from the iTunes store; and you can look at the songs you recently listened to.
Now, the bigger feature for the FM radio is the fact that it is recording 15 minutes of FM radio kinda like a TiVo does for television. So, you can pause the FM radio and resume it a few minutes later. Not only that, but you can start recording ahead of time. So say you're going to workout, you can start recording 10 minutes before you get to the gym and then when you're at the gym start playing; and then you can skip through the commercials.
Now there are some new software features as well. For instance the new Genius Mix feature is there and also I noticed that using the camera knows what the orientation of the Nano is, so somewhere in here is the ability to figure out what direction you're pointing the device.
So I can't think of too much bad to say about it. OK, it does come with standard ear buds instead of the ones with the microphone like the iPhone and the ones with the extra buttons like the Shuffle; and of course it would be really nice to be able to take photos with the camera although I understand that it wouldn't fit inside the really thin body of the Nano.
But it is kinda incredible that you can get this device for $149. I mean just the camera alone, it's a smaller device with more storage space and probably a lot better battery
than most of those other pocket camcorders out there. And the Nano's new little feature like the pedometer and FM radio, and I think this is really going to be like the gift for the holidays this year.