Notes and Pictures: The 4GB Fourth-Generation iPod nano
It’s here! Okay, it’s not really exciting by comparison with the 8GB and 16GB versions of the fourth-generation iPod nano, but it’s great to finally have our hands on the considerably rarer 4GB model. (Thanks, Alicia Bankhofer, for making this happen!)
As you may or may not have heard, something weird was going on with the capacities of the fourth-generation iPod nano. On September 9, Apple announced that the device would come in 8GB and 16GB capacities, with the 8GB ones available almost immediately and the 16GB ones to follow soon thereafter. Then, some 4GB units started showing up in a handful of European cities. An Apple representative conceded that a small number of 4GB nanos were being sold in select countries, but oddly declined to say where, or why. They also showed up in Canada, where our editor Jesse Hollington says that they’re being sold on a “one-per-household limit” through third-party retailers such as Best Buy, and according to a report, U.S.-based Apple Stores received them, too, before being instructed to quietly return them. They were made in every color of the new nano’s rainbow.
Our previously mentioned best guess was that Apple was taken off-guard by Microsoft’s decision to sell $199 16GB flash-based Zunes and moved—a little late in production—to counter these with same-priced iPod nanos. Stuck with already-made 4GB units, Apple needed to decide whether to try and quietly sell them, bury them, or hold onto them for some later date. A semi-plausible alternative explanation was that Apple was so desperate to win over some countries’ budget-conscious customers that it made versions just for them, an explanation that seems unlikely if the U.S. Apple Stores in fact received and returned these units. It’s also possible that Apple was preparing to sell $129 4GB nanos and $149 8GB nanos—the sort of product transition-related price drop that it seemed to be hinting at in an earlier conference call—but changed its mind at the last minute. Notably, the purple 4GB model number MB657 is numerically much closer to the purple 8GB model MB739 than the higher 16GB model MB918. The second-generation 32GB iPod touch has an earlier model number of MB533, and the 120GB classic a model number of MB562. This seems to suggest that Apple internally prepped the new touch, then the classic, then the nanos, with the 16GB model coming much later than the others, but there may be another explanation.
What’s noteworthy about the 4GB unit we received is that the packaging is a little different from the 8GB and 16GB U.S. models. Instead of an Apple logo on the back of the box, there are content descriptions and system requirements in three languages, none English. The instructions inside are similarly in foreign languages, just as one would expect from a nano sold outside the U.S.; it’s possible that Apple saw the withdrawal of these foreign-packaged nanos as more difficult than the purely English ones destined for U.S. consumers.
In any case, the 4GB nano seems like it’s going to be something of a collector’s item—at least, as much as anything made in a quantity of a million or so units could be—so it’s nice to have one around. It’ll be interesting to see whether Apple releases the English-boxed ones more widely.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple Store app update allows purchases from Apple Watch
- Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.2 to developers
- Apple reveals cause of unexpected iPhone 6s shutdowns
- Report: 99 percent of fake Apple chargers found to be unsafe
- Apple offering battery replacements for iPhone 6s models with ‘unexpected shutdown issues’ (Updated)
- Report: Fitbit to acquire Pebble
- Apple releases statement on iCloud Calendar spam
- Apple sending out drones to improve Maps data, adding interior building maps
- Tim Cook allegedly tells customer AirPods to ship in ‘next few weeks’
- Apple Pay reportedly launching in Spain tomorrow
- iHome iZBT10 Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Speaker
- Twelve South HiRise Duet for Apple Watch and iPhone
- IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor
- JBL Under Armour Sport Wireless Heart Rate Headphones
- Edifier e235 Luna E Speaker System
- Clamcase ClamCase+ for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Scosche BoomBottle H2O+ Waterproof Wireless Speaker
- Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid
- Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Creative iRoar Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10