The Why Behind the 4GB Fourth-Gen iPod nano
Apple is, at least most of the time, a global company. With the exception of the original iPhone, the products it produces are intended for sale across as many territories as possible, rather than just one or two countries. So when we heard yesterday from iFun.de that Amazon.com’s German division was unexpectedly listing a 4GB fourth-generation iPod nano, we knew that there were only two possible scenarios.
(a) Amazon was mistaken, or
(b) Apple had produced a bunch of 4GB fourth-generation iPod nanos before realizing that it needed to boost storage capacities, and decided to try and quietly sell off the units outside of the United States.
Why would Apple ever do that? As we’ve said before, the company likes to portray itself as unconcerned about Microsoft’s Zunes or other competing products, but in reality, the iPod family can’t fall considerably behind its competitors without risking loss of market share. So when Microsoft preps a 16GB, $200 flash-based Zune, Apple has two choices: let it happen, or get a 16GB, $200 flash-based iPod nano out there, too. And when Microsoft upgrades its $250, 80GB hard disk player to a $250, 120GB model, lo and behold the iPod classic goes in the same direction. If you’re wondering why there was a lag in stores between the 8GB nanos and 16GB nanos becoming available, here’s the probable answer: the 16GB ones started production later. Much later.
The existence of the 4GB fourth-generation iPod nano strongly suggests that Microsoft’s new 16GB Zune—the announcement of which was scheduled to overlap Apple’s event in San Francisco—truly caught Apple by surprise. Clearly, there were enough 4GB nanos manufactured that Apple couldn’t just give them away to employees, or alternately scrap them, recycling the cases and circuit boards. Yet there’s no mention on Apple’s web site—even in Europe—that this model exists, and they’re only available from third-party retailers overseas. The asking price of 129 Euros is, not coincidentally, as modest a step down as Microsoft has taken with its 4GB Zune from its $150 8GB model.
So, Zune haters, you might want to say a quiet thanks to Microsoft this holiday season. If it wasn’t for the competition, you might not have gotten that $199 16GB iPod nano until next year…
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.
- Alleged ‘iPad Pro’ photos show second Lightning port?
- Apple expands iPhone trade-in program to non-Apple devices
- Alleged ‘iPhone 6c’ rear shell photos leaked
- Gear section, Disqus comments added to iLounge
- FDA taking ‘hands-off approach’ to regulating Apple Watch
- Apple Watch won’t be sold to walk-in customers at launch
- Cook: ‘Religious freedom’ laws allowing discrimination are dangerous
- iLounge Weekly arrives Monday, sign up now
- Apple retail stores to have very limited Apple Watch stock
- Apple quietly acquiring companies to improve cloud services?
- OORT SmartFinder, SmartLED + SmartSocket
- RooCase Exec Tough for iPhone 6 Plus
- Pronto Smart Remote System
- iWalk Extreme Spartan
- EnerPlex Surfr for iPhone 6
- IK Multimedia iRig 2 Guitar Interface
- PowerSkin Pop’n 3 for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- Coogobox Symphony Dock for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- PowerSkin Spare for iPhone 6
- Chil Attraction Jacket for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- Can I turn off the app icons that appear in the bottom corner on the lock screen?
- Why do I have two separate conversations with the same person in Messages?
- Can I transfer the existing version of an app to my new iPhone?
- How do I quickly erase all of the contacts on my old iPhone?
- How do I disassociate my phone number from iMessage?
- How do I stop Siri from randomly waking up?
- How do I cancel a print job on iOS?
- How do I make my camera LED flash when my iPhone rings?
- How do I re-sync contacts to my vehicle after switching to a new iPhone?
- How do I move away from a shared Apple ID for iMessage?