Apple Japan replaced around 5,000 iPod nano batteries over a three week period in August, according to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry. The Mainichi Daily News reports that Apple replaced 4,994 first-generation iPod nano units from August 11 to September 1, a substantial increase that can be attributed to the company’s posting of a statement on its website explaining how users of first-generation iPod nano units can receive a replacement battery. Apple was ordered by the Ministry to post such a statement earlier in August following complaints from users that it was too difficult to find information on the battery replacement program. [via AppleInsider]
Apple has posted its first TV advertisements for the fourth-generation iPod touch and sixth-generation iPod nano online. The fourth-generation touch commercial is similar to past spots for the device, showing off its video-recording, gaming, and FaceTime features against a white background, set the to song “Come Home” by Chappo. The sixth-generation iPod nano commercial is also shot against a white background, and is shown being clipped to various people’s clothing while they manipulate the touch-based controls; the song “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” by Cake is played in the background. Apple’s new iPod commercials are available for viewing now on the company’s website.
iLounge has posted a gallery of Apple’s official photography for the sixth-generation iPod nano, fourth-generation iPod touch, second-generation Apple TV, and fourth-generation iPod shuffle, all of which were announced today during the company’s annual fall music event; a full transcript of the event is available here, while the photo gallery can be viewed below.
Apple has announced its new sixth-generation iPod nano, dropping the device’s Click Wheel in favor of a Multi-Touch interface. As expected, the device features physical, iPhone 4-like volume buttons, a polished aluminum and glass enclosure, a clip on the back, headphone and dock connector ports on the bottom, and a sleep/wake button on the top opposite the volume controls. The new nano’s interface appears to be very similar to that of iOS, with four customizable option icons on each screen, and multiple screens available—however, it does not actually appear to be running iOS, at least as the name generally would indicate. Like the fifth-generation iPod nano, it includes a FM radio, Nike+ support, a built-in pedometer, and VoiceOver support, and will offer 24 hours of audio playback; gone are the video playback and camera capabilities of the prior model. The sixth-generation iPod nano will be available next week in seven colors, including a Product Red version, and will sell for $149 for an 8GB model and $179 for the 16GB version.
Spec fiends should note that the iPod nano now measures 1.48” by 1.61” by 0.35” including the rear clip, with a weight of 0.74 ounces. It does contain an accelerometer, and promises 24 hours of music playback—no video playback—off a full charge. The 240 pixel by 240 pixel screen has 220 pixels per inch, and includes accessibility modes for visually and sonically disabled users. However, the device lacks for the Home button of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad that came before, requiring swiping or holding gestures to switch between sub-menus, which may confuse some users at first.
iLounge has received more photos supposedly showing cases for upcoming iPod models. As with the case photos discovered last week, these cases are from X-Doria, and offer a glimpse into the shape and features of the fourth-generation iPod touch and a smaller, squarish iPod that could be either the fourth-generation iPod shuffle or sixth-generation iPod nano—notably, it was referred to as the former in our e-mail exchange with the company. These new photos seem to support information published by iLounge last week claiming that the fourth-generation iPod touch will sport a back plate that is mainly flat, as well as a rear-facing camera and mic. We have thus far been unable to confirm whether the rectangular hole on the rear of the shuffle 4G/nano 6G case is for a clip or for access to some other feature. Apple is expected to announce its Fall 2010 iPod lineup at a special event scheduled for Wednesday, Sept 1., at 10:00 a.m. in San Francisco.
An image showing what Chinese case vendor X-Doria claims to be fourth-generation iPod touch and sixth-generation iPod nano cases has appeared online. The image shows two iPod touch 4G cases with openings in the rear clear plastic for a camera and either a flash or microphone. Notably, the shape of the cases suggests the touch will retain its curved rear shell design instead of moving to a flat back panel as seen on the iPhone 4. The two supposed iPod nano 6G cases, on the other hand, appear to be made for a squarish device based on the 1.7-inch Apple-branded touchscreen seen in photos earlier this year, without any room for a front-mounted Home button. The nano 6G case features an open strip on the rear—perhaps for a camera or built-in clip—as well as what appear to be volume buttons and a larger button on the top side while a Dock Connector and headphone port are along the bottom. Text accompanying the image notes that it is unclear what a move to this small a form factor might mean for the future of the iPod shuffle, though the “nano 6G” device is more like a screened iPod shuffle than the nano, Dock Connector aside.
The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has said Apple has satisfied its requirements for more improved safety warnings related to overheating first-generation iPod nano units, Reuters reports. Earlier this month, the Ministry ordered Apple to post an “easy to understand” statement on its website explaining how first-generation iPod nano owners could receive a replacement battery. Apple went a step farther, launching a replacement program for potentially troublesome units. “We’ve worked closely with METI to make sure first-generation iPod nano customers who are concerned with their battery have the latest information,” said U.S.-based Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr. Roughly 60 cases of overheating nanos have been reported in Japan, including four cases of minor burns.
Apple has launched a new replacement program for potentially troublesome first-generation iPod nano units in Japan. Following another rash of overheating incidents, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) told Apple last week that it must post an “easy to understand” statement on its website explaining how users of first-generation iPod nano can receive a replacement battery. Apple seems to have gone one step further, and is offering full replacements for any units that overheat. “We’ve worked closely with METI to make sure first-generation iPod nano customers who are concerned with their battery have the latest information,” U.S.-based Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told Reuters. Apple faced a similar situation in 2008, during which it blamed the problem on faulty batteries from a single supplier and offered to replace the batteries of affected, or even concerned, customers.
Apple has been ordered to post an “easy to understand” statement on its website explaining how users of first-generation iPod nano can receive a replacement battery, Reuters reports. The Japanese trade ministry issued the order after a recent incident caused the same group to ask Apple to explain what caused 27 incidents of overheating in some models of the first-generation iPod nano. Apple has said that the issue has been traced back to a single battery supplier, and that safety is a high priority for the company; Apple released a similar statement in 2008, telling any user who saw signs of overheating to contact AppleCare for a replacement.
A Nike+iPod compatible heart rate monitor is expected to launch June 1, according to a posting on the Nike+ support forums. A “Nike+ Pro” member claimed, in response to a question regarding a menu item for the Heart Rate Monitor on an iPod, that the device will launch in the U.S. on June 1, “although it may reach some retail outlets slightly sooner.” The post goes on to say that the monitor will reach Canadian markets later in June and will launch internationally this summer. In addition, the poster, who signed the message “Clover,” also said that he/she was “not able to discuss price, color, device compatibility, and other details at this point.” Evidence of such a device was found within a new Nike + iPod User Guide that was posted to Apple’s site last September, but no mention has been made of it since. [via AppleInsider]
Engadget reports that settlement checks have begun arriving from the iPod nano class action lawsuit initiated in October 2005. The lawsuit alleged that iPod nano screens “scratch excessively during normal usage, rendering the screen on the nanos unreadable.” The suit was later expanded to include iPod nano users in the UK and Mexico, and in early 2009 Apple agreed to a $22 million settlement. The settlement was to provide remedies of between $15 and $25 for iPod nano owners based on when their device was purchased and whether or not it came with a protective slip case, however Engadget’s report shows an unidentified reader receiving a check for $37.50, possibly due to fewer claimants in the class action lawsuit. [via TUAW].
Apple has released software version 1.0.2 for the fifth-generation iPod nano. According to the release notes, the new firmware fixes normal/slower/faster audio podcast playback, allows Genius Mixes to now work with Nike+iPod, and fixes an issue with Voice Over and the headphone controls, amongst other improvements. Software version 1.0.2 for the fifth-generation iPod nano is available now via the Update feature in iTunes. [via iPod.info.pl]
Nike is planning to release a heart rate monitor compatible with the fifth-generation iPod nano, according to a new report. Citing a new Nike + iPod user guide that was temporarily posted on Apple’s site, AppleInsider reports that the document included a section entitled “Linking a Nike + iPod Compatible Remote or Heart Rate Monitor,” which stated that the heart rate monitors are sold separately, and can be connected via a menu found under Nike + iPod > Settings > Heart Rate Monitor > Link. The document also appears to state that the new monitor will be compatible with the iPod nano 5G only; AppleInsider reports that people familiar with the matter said the accessory was expected to launch alongside the new nano, but has been delayed for an undetermined period of time.
Update: The updated User Guide is once again available on Apple’s site (PDF Link), with the text referencing the Heart Rate Monitor still included. A screenshot of the page in question appears below.
If you’ve just purchased a fifth-generation iPod nano, here’s a little tip in advance of our full review: check the software version. This can be done by plugging the device into iTunes and viewing it in the Devices column, or by going into the nano’s own Settings > About menu, then clicking twice on the center Action button. For whatever reason, some of the fifth-generation nanos we’re currently in the process of testing have shipped with software version 1.0, while others have shipped with a newer version 1.0.1. Apple’s release notes curiously say only that version 1.0.1 of the software supersedes all previous versions, and provides support for the fifth-generation iPod nano. If your iPod nano shipped with version 1.0 software, and you want whatever benefits are hidden in the update, version 1.0.1 is available from iTunes for immediate download.
iLounge has posted a host of color comparison photos showing the full range of fifth-generation iPod nanos compared to past Apple iterations of the same colors to our Flickr account. In addition to the comparison photos, we have also posted a video showing the initial bootup, menu system, video recording, pedometer, and integrated FM radio features of the new iPod nano. The entire video is embedded below, or you can watch it on YouTube via this direct link.
Update: We have now posted a video demonstration of the 16 different video modes offered on the iPod nano 5G and video comparisons of the iPod nano 5G versus a Flip Video camera—including an HD version; all of which are embedded below.
Apple has posted its new TV advertisements for the fifth-generation iPod nano and third-generation iPod touch on its website. The iPod nano 5G commercial highlights its new video camera, showing a specific-colored nano being used to record video of a dancer wearing same-colored clothes; this formula repeats throughout the commercial until the entire line is seen with their respective videos playing on each screen. The ad features the song “Bourgeois Shangri-La” by Miss Li, and is available for viewing now on Apple’s iPod nano landing page. The new iPod touch commercial uses a similar formula as last year’s, showing a succession of sets of hands—sometimes more than one at a time—playing various games on the device, while the song “She’s Got Me Dancing” by Tommy Sparks plays in the background. It too is available for viewing on Apple’s website, on the iPod touch landing page. [via MDN]
iFixit has posted a complete teardown of the fifth-generation iPod nano. Their 8GB unit held a flash memory chip from Toshiba, an Apple-branded processor which is believed to be a Samsung ARM chip, a rubber surround for the camera, most likely to dampen vibrations, a redesigned Click Wheel that appears not to be affixed to the body, as that of the 4th-gen model, a glass covering for the screen, similar to that seen in the prior model, and “copious amounts of glue and adhesive” to hold everything together. The speaker inside the new nano is flat, like the one found in the 2nd- and 3rd-generation iPod touch, and the camera is said to be “much thinner” than the one used in the iPhone. Also notable is the 5G’s battery, which appears to be very similar to the one found in the fourth-generation model, suggesting that Apple has either included new video hardware or optimized its software in order to increase the nano’s video battery life by one hour. For more looks at the new fifth-generation iPod nano, see our Flickr set of the 2009 iPod lineup.
Quietly mentioned in Apple’s tech specs for the fifth-generation iPod nano is the fact that the new models use a TFT (thin film transistor) display as opposed to the standard LCD used in past models. TFT displays are a different variant on LCD technology, that can under some circumstances improve or decrease image quality; Wikipedia notes that depending on the type of TFT screen technology chosen, viewing angles and colors can be mediocre—a problem with early technology—or dramatically more impressive, with high contrast ratios, strong black depth, and faster refresh rates. By comparison, Apple lists the display in the fourth-generation iPod nano as a color LCD with LED backlight. It is unclear what, if any, affect the change in screen technologies will have on the quality of the iPod nano’s screen.
During its Rock and Roll media event today, Apple unveiled the fifth-generation iPod nano, sporting a larger screen and on-board camera amongst other improvements. The device’s screen has grown to 2.2-inches with 240 x 376 resolution, running farther down the front of the nano, allowing for a wider aspect ratio when watching movies in landscape orientation and more menu items when held vertically. Also new is a video-capable camera on the lower back left corner of the nano, matching a previous report from iLounge, which captures H.264, 640 x 480 VGA video at rates of up to 30 frames per second with AAC audio. The video function also offers 15 real-time special effects, including Sepia, Black and White, X-Ray, Film Grain, Thermal, Security Cam, Cyborg, Bulge, Kaleido, Motion Blur, Mirror, Light Tunnel, Dent, Stretch, and Twirl. The iPod nano 5G also packs a built-in microphone and speaker, built-in FM radio with live pause and iTunes Tagging features, support for Genius Mixes, a shiny, polished anodized aluminum finish, and a built-in, Nike+ capable pedometer. According to Apple, the iPod nano 5G offers up to 24 hours of music playback time and up to 5 hours of video playback time when fully charged, the same promised audio playback as the fourth-generation model, but one hour more of video playback. The fifth-generation iPod nano is available now in nine colors—silver, black, purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, red, and pink—and sells for $149 for an 8GB model or $179 for a 16GB version.
Update: A hands-on video of the iPod nano 5G is now available for viewing on Vimeo.
Apple has released Software Version 1.04 for the fourth-generation iPod nano. According to Apple’s release notes, the update fixes an issue which resulted in some incorrect daylight savings date settings, now correctly displays Thai song information tags when syncing in disk mode, and includes other minor bug fixes. Software Version 1.0.4 for the fourth-generation iPod nano is available now through the Update feature in iTunes.