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There are two approaches we could take with product reviews - generally subjective ("go buy this thing now, we say you need it") or objective ("here are the facts about this product, and our opinions; we trust you to form your own"). We are frankly put off by reviews that try to tell us what we do and do not need - they're generally motivated by a desire to sell something, and we are not salesmen - we're journalists. Our goal is to make available the best possible information about iPods and accessories for a large, very diverse, and (ahem) demanding base of readers, so that they can make smart choices for themselves.

Our approach has consequences. A complete disclosure of the pros and cons of any product takes more time than a sales pitch that focuses only on the reasons you should buy something. And the process necessarily involves mentioning factors of various levels of importance. We trust that our readers are intelligent enough to assign their own weights to the factors we've pointed out. But of course, we offer our own opinions in the complete review.

Regarding accessory compatibility specifically, we went over this issue in "iPod nano: What's Inside?" and specifically said that we didn't like the change, and why. If you're looking for us to make a more definitive positive statement such as, "even though they got rid of all of those accessories, someone will surely make more," there's a reason we're not doing that: it hasn't happened, or been promised by anyone yet.

The number of third-party replacement top-mounting accessories that have specifically been announced to date is zero. Because of Apple's choice to go with a smaller battery and enclosure, there are still major unresolved issues as to how some of these devices will mount and be powered. Similarly, the company's apparently deliberate decision not to permit some of them to work at all regardless of re-engineering (voice recorders, for instance) can't be viewed as a net positive under any circumstances, unless the decision is reversed. The iPod nano is already one of the only 4GB music players not to include voice or other recording capabilities out of the box (say nothing of FM radio), so reducing support for existing, excellent devices strikes us as a disadvantage.

Some people care about these things, and our reviews point the issues out for them. Some people don't, and they can always skip to the next sentence, paragraph, or article.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on September 12, 2005 at 7:35 PM (PDT) Comment 16

This is what I have been waiting for. I have a 20 gig that I bought back in June and it has been great around campus or in my car but I have been scared to take it to the gym for fear of messing up the hard drive. I thought about a shuffel but the lack of a screen kept me from doing buying one. The nano looks to be perfect for anyone who wants an ipod at the gym or on the trail.

Posted by riverrat314 on September 12, 2005 at 10:10 PM (PDT) Comment 17

No, you can't use the dock adapter in old docks... but you don't have to: the nano sits in old docks WITHOUT an adapter.

The adapter is for FUTURE 3rd-party products. Expect ALL iPods to come with adapters in future. Then 3rd-party accessory makers can easily make universal products that fit all iPods perfectly.

The Ars review counted the dock adapter as a "con"... why? It's not useful yet, but it's a great idea in the long run.

Posted by Nagromme on September 12, 2005 at 11:23 PM (PDT) Comment 18

i'd go for an 8 gig one- any idea when that might happen?

Posted by qsack on September 13, 2005 at 12:00 AM (PDT) Comment 19

Regarding the "smaller capacity for the same money" gripes: the 6GB mini was not selling hardly at all - the 4GB model was the popular one. Clearly, no one needed 6GB. They either spent a bit more and went for 20, or just got a 4GB mini. Therefore, a 4 and 6GB nano would mean the 6GB model would not sell, and be a waste to make. Given that the nano is more expensive to make for the same capacity, they went with 2 and 4GB to give the same price range. However, some of the 4GB mini sales were probably due to it being below $200 rather than people not needing 6GB, so the 2GB nano might be the bigger seller in the long term unless most really need more than 2GB.

Posted by Ryan Gray on September 13, 2005 at 2:32 AM (PDT) Comment 20

Regarding the "oddly placed headphone jack" gripes some people have: I don't think it's oddly placed. Sure, it's such that many of the existing headphone jack accessories won't work, but many of those also required the remote jack, which is absent as well. However, my guess is that the remote capability is embedded in the 30 pin connector which is now right next to the jack. So, new accessories might just use a combo dock connector and headphone plug to do the same thing.

If you are just using headphones with it, then the cord doesn't have to go around the device when you hold it to look at the screen like the other iPods. This also makes it better than the shuffle when on a neck lanyard. This just means that belt cases and such will probably carry it upside-down so the headphone jack is then on top, and then the screen will be "right-side-up" when you look down at it as well. This is way better. I saw someone gripe because it meant you couldn't stand it up on its "bottom" and listen. The thing is 0.27 inches thin - you will not be able to keep it standing up with a headphone jacked in even if it was on top. This is designed to lay flat facing you with the cord coming at you and not snaking around the device. I also happen to like the little bit of asymmetry the headphone plugged into the bottom right edge gives.

Posted by Ryan Gray on September 13, 2005 at 3:26 AM (PDT) Comment 21

Despite all similarities, the nano is an entirely different direction for Apple. Samsung just announced developments in flash memory manufacturing that, among other things, utilize a 50nm manufacturing process, all of which will conceivably lead to flash memory modules of 16GB and 32GB in the very near future. Couple that with reports of Apple locking 70% of Samsung's manufacturing capacity of flash memory, and it's not hard to see that many more products from Apple will be foregoing hard drives. The nano is just an early example of this philosophy, utilizing the state of the art in flash mem modules as they are today. It wouldn't suprise me if by this time next year, Apple will have released 20GB and 30GB iPods (or units with similar capacities thereabouts) that are entirely hard drive-free.

Frankly, we've never in our experiences had any problems with the drive operations of our HD-based iPods. But I do admit I was somewhat put off by the direction the 4G 60GB Photo was heading down--i.e. thicker and heavier--and though 40GB isn't nearly enough for me anymore I wasn't sure that an 80GB (or more) 5G was going to be all that enjoyable to tote around given the FF that would be needed to house the drive. If Samsung and their competition are indeed ahead of schedule in going to manufacturing with large capacity flash mem modules, then we could easily see a 5G or 6G iPod sans hard drive in less than a year's time. Given the technology available now, a larger capacity flash mem model is sure to be in the works in nano or perhaps larger FF, though in nano form I'd tend to doubt such a device would show up before Christmas unless nano sales really slack off between now and then. I've noticed that Apple tends to ride their products for a while until there's just an inkling that they might be getting a bit long in the tooth, then they drop the other shoe and a new variant or product comes out to augment or replace. At this point the 4GB nano has only started its run, and I think it's got a long way to go before demand weakens on this design spec. Heck, Apple's already gotten us to buy two of the things, and I like to consider myself--right or wrong--as being somewhat hard to impress.

It'll be interesting to see how mini HD manufacturers like Hitachi and Toshiba answer the Samsung challenge. Even though Toshiba has a 80GB 1.8" drive on the market, will its physical dimensions be small enough to keep portable manufacturers like Apple happy? Already other manufacturers like Seagate and Western Digital are readying their high-cap 2.5" (laptop FF) drives for the 160GB+ market, just to try to keep ahead of the developments from the flash memory world. In the 1.8" world, those manufacturers are already on the verge of losing their market dominance will smaller storage capacity devices (bye-bye Mini, already...the 20GB iPod Photo next?); Samsung and other flash mem houses are apparently more than poised and positioned to take their places.

(Hmmm....a 160GB 2.5" inch drive in laptop FF...I wonder if I can get that to work in my old Nomad Zen...it might be fun trying...)

Posted by flatline response on September 13, 2005 at 3:41 AM (PDT) Comment 22

when i first saw the nano on tv, i was blown away! the physical size and design is the best selling point on this ipod. just impressive!

now i don't know about the flash used in the nano, but a programmer friend of mine said that the current flash memory cards are only rewritable up to 100,000 times. now, that's way more than the average user, but i wonder how many times a hard drive can be writable up to.

does this affect the nano's sellability?

i'd LOVE a nano...probably in a couple years after my 3g breaks or i don't don't have to buy diapers anymore!

~funkpod

Posted by funkpod on September 13, 2005 at 4:53 AM (PDT) Comment 23

How exactly is a 100,000 times write limit going to affect sellability? Considering an obsessive number of write times per day (say 10 times per day) such a flash chip would become defective in 27 years. Are YOU going to keep your iPod Nano for 27 years? hmmmm?

Posted by Just me on September 13, 2005 at 12:30 PM (PDT) Comment 24

You forget that the FAT table (or equivalent) on the device is written constantly as well as other areas of the memory just while it is in normal use. Flash memory will fail through use, but so will hard drives. One constant: Apple will replace it anyway in 12 months so whats the point.

Posted by gubbas on September 13, 2005 at 3:30 PM (PDT) Comment 25

So everybody wants it because it has a color screen? Thats a big argument with people.

But a screen that is 1.5 in. in slightly pathetic.

Posted by thecommanche on September 13, 2005 at 6:50 PM (PDT) Comment 26

You don't comment about one important and negative fact : Nano is compatible only with OSX 10.3.4 + USB2
What about people like me with an iMac+firewire/USB+OSX 10.2.8 (and still very satisfied with it)!!!!
I like my iPod photo 30GB but I dislike this hidden strategy of pushing up the related harwares and softwares

Posted by EricB on September 14, 2005 at 2:08 AM (PDT) Comment 27

I can't seem to find out? Can you use this as a jump drive or disk? You can use the Shuffle and full size ipod, but not the mini as a disk. Also, will it automatically downsample tracks like the shuffle does?

Posted by rickmcd on September 14, 2005 at 2:59 AM (PDT) Comment 28

Has anybody got it to work with an Alpine KCA420i iPod adapter for their car. Although the track/playlist info displays on the head unit I'm not getting any sound.

Posted by Teeman on September 14, 2005 at 4:20 AM (PDT) Comment 29

I unplugged my 40 Gig 3rd generation iPod from my Alpine KCA-420 and plugged in my new Nano 4 gig and it worked just the same, sound, display, etc.

Posted by Don Fera on September 14, 2005 at 3:47 PM (PDT) Comment 30

Yep your correct, I found a lose wire and it all works perfect now. Don't suppose youv'e figured how to get the head unit to play randomly/shuffle within a playlist?

Posted by Teeman on September 14, 2005 at 4:59 PM (PDT) Comment 31

anyone tried the nano with the Kenwood KCA-IP500 unit?

Posted by austinjreid on September 15, 2005 at 2:58 AM (PDT) Comment 32

Could 16GB Nano be far away? This is from dpreview.com...a digital camera site.

"Samsung Electronics is planning to produce a new memory chip that will double the storage capacity of digital cameras, reports Reuters. It is expected that Samsung, which holds a 60% share of the NAND flash memory market, will launch a 16-gigabit chip late next year. NAND flash memory chips are built into memory cards or USB memory products."

One can only hope...

Posted by badburro on September 16, 2005 at 6:45 AM (PDT) Comment 33

does any one remeber when the 3gs came out they sacraficed battery for size of course the batt length will drop at first on any major size shift just give it a couple of months and it will go up besides 14 hours is a damn long time any ways so its no like the bat of old where it was only 10 hrs ha just my 2 cents

Posted by BIGP on September 16, 2005 at 4:22 PM (PDT) Comment 34

Sure, Nano is cool, and looks uber cool...but I still prefer my 30 GB colorpod; it's what I take with me everywhere and serves my music needs and otherwise, superbly. So, yeh, I definitely prefer it.

Posted by Andipod on September 16, 2005 at 4:33 PM (PDT) Comment 35

The Samsung chips being mass produced next year are 16 giga BITS, which is 2 giga BYTES. What is truly amazing with the iPod Nano is that you would be hard pressed to find 4GB of flash storage alone for $250. A 4GB flash storage device alone is a good deal at this price. I think the combination of style, size, performance, durability, and price will have Apple selling a TON of these this year. It was extremely hard to find ANY flash-based music player that had 1GB for less than $100. A 2GB flash-based iPod at $200 is a good deal. A 4GB model at $250 is unbelievable. I can't see an 8GB model anytime soon for less than $400 (that's $50/GB).

Posted by MusicManMike on September 16, 2005 at 5:48 PM (PDT) Comment 36

Got my 2GB nano 2 days ago and its definately a winner. Only problem I have had so far is I don't seem to be getting decent battery life. I charged it up fuly last night, listened to a couple of tracks, showed off a few photo's and then turned it off.

I'd say I probably messed around with it for a couple of hours max. I went to turn it on an hour ago and the battery is flat. Anybody ele experienced poor battery life?

Posted by mrunderhill on September 17, 2005 at 1:53 PM (PDT) Comment 37

I dropped by my local Apple store in Portland, Oregon to check out the Nano. They had some 2GBs in white but were sold out of everything else. According to the salesman, both the black and white 4GBs sell out within hours of each shipment's arrival and the black 2GBs take just a little longer.

After checking out the display models, I must say that the Nano really is all it's cracked up to be and a black 4GBer will make for a nice second ipod. But given how easily the finish scratches, I'll wait for a decent choice of cases to hit the market first.

Posted by Downing on September 18, 2005 at 4:27 PM (PDT) Comment 38

I just sold my 30Gb 3rd generation iPod on Amazon Marketplace. I now have a 4Gb Nano and a iGb Shuffle. Although I would have bought the Nano purely on style and 'lickability' I pondered whether to await the inevitable 6/8Gb models. My 30Gb iPod usually lay in a draw for much of the year yet I used the Shuffle every day so I reckoned the combination of Nano and shuffle was perfect for me. It doesn't take long to download a new playlist for the day/week/month.

Posted by frere on September 19, 2005 at 6:53 AM (PDT) Comment 39

Audio Skip?

I have had my black 4g nano for 4 days now and just love it. It sounds great and is so easy to tote around.

I am wondering if anyone has had trouble with music skipping? Songs that I have downloaded from emusic.com seem to skip once and a while. These files are ripped in VBR with lame. Interesting though...my own songs which I rip in VBR at the highest level with Lame and Exact Audio Copy do not seem to skip.

Very pleased with the product. I'm just curious to others' experience.

Posted by coprock on September 19, 2005 at 9:51 AM (PDT) Comment 40
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