Ten Must-Read Details on the New iPods

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We’ve already received dozens of questions regarding Apple’s all-new lineup of iPods – the “enhanced fifth-generation” iPod (with video), the “second-generation” iPod nano, and the “second-generation” iPod shuffle. This article is intended to answer the top 10 questions we’ve seen – more answers are, of course, coming soon.

10) How have the new iPods changed in size?

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(a) At 1.07” by 1.62” by 0.41” and 0.55 ounces, the iPod shuffle has changed the most dramatically from its 3.3” by 0.98” by 0.33”, 0.78 ounce predecessor. It is like an aluminum-clad version of the iPod Radio Remote, and only as much thicker as the added aluminum would suggest. Apple calls it “nearly half the size” of the old iPod shuffle; when placed on its side, it is less than half the height of the old iPod shuffle and only a little wider; most of its body is thinner than the shuffle, but with the clip on the back it’s comparable.


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(b) The iPod nano (3.5” by 1.6” by 0.26”, 1.41 oz.) is ever so slightly thinner and lighter than the prior iPod nano (3.5” x 1.6” by 0.27”, 1.5 oz.), and has rounded sides rather than rounded rectangular sides. This thickness difference appears to be due to the use of thinner aluminum body material rather than the thicker plastic and metal combo used in the first iPod nano.


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(c) The iPod (with video) is the same size as before; 4.1” by 2.4” by 0.43”/0.55”, and 4.8 or 5.5 ounces. The 30GB version is the same as the prior 30GB version, while the 80GB version is the same size as the prior 60GB version.

9) How are the new iPod nanos colored by capacity, and how do they compare in color to the old iPod minis?

Apple now sells the iPod nano in five colors – silver is the only color available for the 2GB iPod nano, while silver, pink, green, and blue are all 4GB colors, and black is the only color available for the 8GB iPod nano.


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Apple changed the iPod mini colors mid-way through that iPod’s lifecycle, killing one of the original five colors (gold) and increasing the saturation of the dyes in the blue, pink, and green versions. The new iPod nanos look like the later, more saturated iPod nanos, with strong tones; the silver version is just like the prior iPod mini’s silver, and the new black model is dark black anodized aluminum. Except for the black model, which has a black Click Wheel, the other nanos have white Click Wheels and colored central Action buttons.

8) How much better are the new iPod screens?


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Apple says that the “enhanced” 5G iPod is 60% brighter than the original, but the difference wasn’t that much more noticeable during our limited testing time. Apparently the new screens have been quietly trickled into pre-Showtime 5G iPods, and no one has noticed. Resolution of the new iPod’s screen apparently hasn’t changed from before – it still displays 320×240 resolution, despite the fact that Apple’s iTunes videos now display at 640×480 on computers. In other words, if you didn’t like the prior 5G screen, this one isn’t going to win you over, but we liked everything but the small size of the prior screen, and continue to like this new one.

Apple’s press announcement for the iPod nano suggests that the new nano screen is also brighter than before, without quantification. We’ve seen variability in brightness in older nano screens, so it’s hard to know right now just how much better the new nano’s screen is.

7) Will my old iPod accessories work with these new iPods?


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(a) iPod shuffle: No. Only old headphone accessories – and then, not ones attached to shuffle lanyards – will work with the shuffles. The new iPod shuffle has no USB port, and doesn’t have interchangeable caps or lanyards.


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(b) iPod nano: Most Dock Connector accessories will continue to work with the nano, but anything depending specifically on the alignment of the Dock Connector and headphone ports – such as XtremeMac’s MicroBlast speakers, or Apple’s iPod nano Lanyard Headphones – will not work. Similarly, anything depending on the exact shape of the nano’s body, or the placement of its headphone port, such as cases, may well have problems. Apple is releasing a new iPod nano Dock for the new iPod nano, and will have a new iPod nano Dock Adapter as well.

Most interestingly, Apple has quietly added voice recorder support to the iPod nano – an iLounge-requested feature. We’re hoping that despite their large physical size, current iPod 5G voice recorders will work properly on the iPod nano as well – they may even work better, since the nano has no hard disk to make loud sounds.

(c) iPod 5G: All prior Dock Connector accessories, including cases, will work with the new iPod 5G.

6) How are those new Apple pack-in earphones?


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They’re not as iconic as the past iPod earbuds, and will most certainly “blend in” a lot more with the crowd. But they sound good, feel noticeably lighter and softer in your ears, and preserve the best other features of Apple’s prior pack-ins: good sound, tiny headphone port plug, integrated length manager after the Y-splitter, and two-tone (white and gray) styling. You can now buy them for $29 separately at Apple Stores – this is technically the cheapest Apple has ever made its pack-ins available (they used to sell for $39 with an iPod Remote), but not a “great” deal. Apple is building the same earphones into its revised iPod nano Lanyard Headphones.

5) Do I have to re-download or re-rip all of my music to enable gapless playback?

No. iTunes will determine which tracks are supposed to be gapless, and play those tracks properly together. We’ll have to see how this plays out in practice.

4) Can my old iPod use any of the new features (gapless playback, brightness, search, games) found in the new iPods?

Old 5G iPods will be able to use at least gapless playback – it is an iTunes feature – as well as brightness adjustment and games. Search does not appear to be available on the old 5G or nano; the nano certainly will not get brightness or games. It looks as if the older iPods won’t have the new semi-iconic listing view found in the newer iPods’ menus, either. Any and all of these things could possibly change with a new firmware update, and there are apparently other features that have been quietly added to the old iPods for use by developers. The iPod shuffle won’t get any of these new features.

3) What are the new battery life times for the new iPods?

(a) iPod shuffle now runs for 12 hours on a single charge, which was the same as the prior iPod shuffle.
(b) iPod nano now runs for 24 hours on a single charge, versus 14 hours for the prior model.
(c) iPod 5G (enhanced) 30GB now runs for 14 hours of audio playback, 4 hours of photo playback, and 3.5 hours of on-screen video playback time, while 80GB runs for 20 hours of audio playback, 6 hours of photo playback, and 6.5 hours of video playback time. It’s unclear at this point as to why the new iPod has superior video and photo playtime but identical audio playtime to its predecessors; we’ll be checking this out in our upcoming reviews.

2) What’s the deal with this iTV thing?


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It’s basically a wireless receiver for iTunes and photo library content, designed solely to be plugged into a television set and/or AV system. It’s capable of outputting optical (SPDIF), Dolby Surround audio – found now in iTunes Movies – and HDMI or component video, but lacks S-Video and composite video ports, which are found on older TVs. For now, you need to have a computer full of content to spool out to iTV, and then can access the content using an Apple Remote control pointed at iTV, as it’s connected to your TV. It communicates with your computer via 802.11 wireless protocols, and quite possibly can attach to machines or your wired network via integrated Ethernet and USB ports.


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Unusual by Apple standards is its timing. Expect it in early 2007 for $299. We really hope Apple has a networked storage solution (a standalone wireless-ready hard drive) so that computers won’t need to be turned on at the same time as iTV is on.

1) What’s the new iPod pricing scheme?

iPod shuffle 1GB: $79 ($79 per GB)
iPod nano 2GB: $149 ($74.50 per GB)
iPod nano 4GB: $199 ($49.75 per GB)
iPod nano 8GB: $249 ($31.13 per GB)
iPod 5G 30GB: $249 ($8.30 per GB)
iPod 5G 80GB: $349 ($4.36 per GB)

By storage capacity standards, the 80GB iPod is the best value in iPod history – under $4.50 per Gigabyte, and the cheapest top-of-line iPod Apple has ever introduced. Even the 1GB shuffle is only slightly more expensive than the now discontinued $69 512MB iPod shuffle.

  1. i updated as well… NO SEARCH? come on Apple… its more than likely just a firmware thing. don’t punish us $400 5G 60GIG users. we bought early and love your player… give us search too.

  2. “It’s unclear at this point as to why the new iPod has superior video and photo playtime but identical audio playtime to its predecessors; we’ll be checking this out in our upcoming reviews.”

    One would think the new screen might handle power better. The screen doesn’t need to stay lit all while playing just music the way it does during photo and video playback.

  3. Does anyone know of a place to buy online the old iPod Shuffle at a cheaper price? I figure now that there is a newer model, the old one should be fairly cheap. Amazon is still charging $99 for the 1GB (which is $20 more than the new model!)

  4. “We really hope Apple has a networked storage solution (a standalone wireless-ready hard drive) so that computers won’t need to be turned on at the same time as iTV is on.”

    This is a non-issue for me; my computer is ALWAYS on. I say keep the price point low and stream everything from my desk to my TV.

    I can imagine that an integrated hard drive on the iTV might be nice as an optional upgrade, but only as a solution for gi-normous video libraries. I prefer doing my media storage and management at my desk.

  5. lurchi, the photos on apples website show the new shuffle with the old phones. My guess would be that this was not a mistake since all the new nano and 5g photos have the new phones. Since the device won’t be out until October I guess we have to wait and see

    Kadis, you will have to wait until the new shuffle comes out in October for the clearance of the old shuffles. even then you will have to search around because alot of places sell of their old stock at regular price until it is gone.

  6. Updated my 5G iPod yesterday. I am a little disapointed that the new search function isnt included in this update. Or is this feature just for the new iPods?

  7. isn’t it possible that the next ipod (ie. 6G) will provide the storage capacity that iTV will need ? the menu system on that iTV demo screen

    looks very iPod like.
    i’m thinking that that USB port you can see on the iTV could be used for docking ipod G6. then when your computer is on, stream the newest

    content wirelessly/using ethernet port to iTV. when computer is off, your iTV becomes your media hub, allowing you to sync & power your ipod,

    as well as view content on TV. apple can leverage the success of ipod, by giving it an important position in the center of their new home


    … in fact, come to think of it, why have a computer at all ? … provided iTV can connect to an internet router & can serve up a simplified

    iTunes browser straight to your TV, which you can command & control using the iTV remote.. lots more TVs than computers in the home & TVs much

    easier to use.

    at first thought, having a home system which relies on having an iPod in place for storage seems bad, in that if you take the iPod out, nobody

    else can watch iTV, but this could actually be more of a feature. the ipod becomes like a ‘key’. you could take it to someone else’s house &

    put it in their iTV system & they could watch your content ? the movie studios are cagey about file copying & DRM issues, but apple can

    produce a system here in which the content is kept within one iPod, but can be ‘shared’ only by people physically meeting.. which in fact is

    likely to virally encourage people to buy the same movies/music as their mates as “when bobby came around we watched half of this really cool

    show, but he had to leave with his iPod before it finished”…

  8. I agree that it was a good move not to change the 5g design. Business wise I mean, but now that the Zune is out…

    I was suprised they didn’t speak to the intergration with iTV, but I’m sure it was something to anouce in 07

  9. My understanding is that the 5.5G iPod can playback the new 640×480 videos from iTunes, but scales them to 320×240 since that is the resolution of the display. Is this also the case for the 5G ipod with the software update? Also, what resolution is used when using the TV out functionality?

  10. I can vouch that the 5.5G iPod scales down the 640×480 videos. So does the old 5g iPod after the firmware upgrade.

    As for TV out — my 24″ SONY WEGA CRT is not the bastion of HD quality, but I will say that graphics on the Daily Show that were unreadable in the 320×240 version are clear as day in the 640×480. Good news, because there’s a lot of visual humor on that show.

  11. i updated my ipod shuffle firmware today, but i must be stupid or something!!!???
    it hasn’t gotten any smaller, like the new one that’s on apple’s page? what’s the version of firmware that makes it that small?

  12. Just checked the circutcity website… all of their old ipods are on sale… the 60gig for $300 and so on… sorry Kadis the shuffle is the only ipod not on sale overthere.. btw i know that their stores match their webonly prices instore…

  13. Question (probably dumb): As an old skool iPod Mini user I’m thinking of upgrading to a new Nano but wonder do they play enhanced podcasts. Also, can you enlarge the pictures used in enhanced podcasts to fill the entire screen?

  14. Bippity: Yes, all colour iPods (including the Nano) are capable of displaying the artwork for chapters in enhanced podcasts. If you click the select button twice you will get a larger image. Being a Nano and the image not quite filling the screen, it’s not all that big but it’s at least something.

  15. Gapless discussion: I’ve got 3 ‘Pods: original 60Gb 5G, first-gen Nano and second-gen Nano. Obviously it works flawlessly with the new Nano. Old Nano has a shorter pause between tracks than before, but with a noticeable faint click. 5G is properly gapless but unless my ears are playing tricks on me, it also is giving a faint click on track change.

    iTunes did a poor job of identifying gapless albums. Not sure why but perhaps my tags were a little different to those on CDDB so it wasn’t sure what I had. No matter. I’ll just rate a song 1 star if it and the prior song need to be gaplessed, then I’ll do it manually.

  16. sandokan: The iPod can’t output full 640 x 480 resolution on a TV.

    I noticed that if you have a large movie in iTunes and convert it for iPod, it now scales it down (if necessary) to 640 x 480 instead of 320 x 240. I think it strips out a few frames because the resultant videos look a little jerky. It must also be reducing the bit rate. File sizes are surprisingly larger in some instances. I used Handbrake to convert DVD to 720 x 400 MP4s, then iTunes to convert to 640 x 355. The file sizes are about 100Mb larger for the iPod version. Not sure why this is. I also converted a Sorenson music video from 640 x 360 and it became half the original size.

    Experiments with MPEG Streamclip converting using the iPod setting and a resolution of 640 x 480 have failed. The iPod won’t take them. In my experience, this usually has something to do with the bit rate being too high for the ‘Pod. I hope MPEG Streamclip is updated soon because it’s my main video conversion tool.

    oneteen: No soft case for the new Nano. Like the iLounge review says, it’s not really necessary. These ‘Pods are tough. Not that it stops me from handling it with kid gloves!

  17. “Old 5G iPods will be able to use at least gapless playback – it is an iTunes feature”

    Nearly perfect gapless playback (a small fraction of a second dropout instead of a full second or so) is working on my 20 gig 4G iPod as I type this. The test album is “Abbey Road” by the Beatles. Songs at the end of the album that were recorded gapless run together, but with that dropout. Songs that were separated originally are separated on the iPod. One annoyance tamed a bit…

  18. I hope iTV allows you to see the Mac desktop (or Windows desktop, I guess) on the TV.

    Otherwise it seems to me it makes more sense to buy a Mac Mini and connect it to the TV so you can see content such as Youtube you would normally watch in a web browser.

  19. The 640×480 limit is unacceptabel. We are living in HD-Times. I will not enjoy watching mid-seventies resolution with my beamter. Apple always was good in making High-End technology accessable for the market. I would like to carry my DVD’s with me, if I go to a friend… but only in DVD Quality!

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