It may be hard to believe, but from what we’ve now heard from multiple sources, it’s true: the fourth-generation iPod nano will look like… a Microsoft Zune. Well, sort of.
Contradicting speculation that Apple was planning to transform the new nano into a miniature iPod touch, complete with a smaller touchscreen, we’ve been told that this year’s nano upgrade will go in a different direction. Described by one source as looking like “a Zune Flash… or whatever it’s called,” the new nano has a vertically (tall) oriented display with a Click Wheel underneath, preserving the button-based control scheme that users have found easiest to use without looking down at the screen. The new nano’s screen will gain the same 1.5:1 widescreen aspect ratio as the iPhone and iPod touch, versus the 1.33:1 ratio of the prior iPod nano and iPod classic, and you’ll rotate the device to watch videos on it.
To fit the screen and Click Wheel neatly together, the new nano will adopt a form factor that shifts away from the almost square dimensions of the 2007 third-generation nano back towards the general shape of the first- and second-generation models. As one of our sources noted, it’s a surprise that the new nano will be bigger than the prior model, but the goal appears to be preservation of all of the prior model’s usability while adding a bigger screen, and there aren’t many other ways to accomplish that goal.
Our sources also indicated that rumors that the device will have a multi-colored body are most likely inaccurate. A single-colored anodized aluminum frame akin to prior iPod nanos will apparently be used, with each nano offered in one color. Obviously, we’ll see what the real story is when Apple introduces the new nano later this year, but our sources are extremely confident in the accuracy of these details.