Though we are in the process of posting individual First Looks, videos, and photos for the new 2009 iPod lineup, we wanted to provide you with a collective article discussing the new models together, as the iPod shuffle and iPod classic changes in particular are not significant enough to merit full articles at this time. Click on the headline of this article for all of the details.
The fifth-generation iPod nano ($149/8GB, $179/16GB) preserves the shape of its fourth-generation predecessor while adding six primary features: a video camera capable of having special effects applied to realtime video recordings via holding down the Click Wheel’s central button, a microphone, an internal speaker, a wider 2.2” screen, an FM radio tuner, and a pedometer for use in exercise. The microphone and video camera are found on a chromed plate on the unit’s back, in the lower left corner; it reverses the prior headphone port and Dock Connector arrangement on the device’s bottom. Apple has also used a new “polished anodized aluminum” technique to give the devices each glossy but otherwise similar—not identical—colors to last year’s versions; purple becomes richer, “black” lighter, and so on. It is, as expected, a challenge to hold the iPod nano to actually record video, but once you’re doing so, it’s actually impressive to see how Apple smoothly fades transitions from menu screen to menu screen within camera mode.

Update: A hands-on video of the iPod nano 5G is now available for viewing on Vimeo.

The third-generation iPod touch (8GB/$199, 32GB/$299, 64GB/$399) is cosmetically identical to the second-generation model, and has received only one major hardware change: the addition of a 50% faster processor set for the 32GB and 64GB models, the latter now the largest-capacity iPod touch ever sold. According to an Apple representative on site at the event, the specifics of the hardware changes are not being discussed by the company other than the faster processor claim, which also adds OpenGL ES 2.0 support to bring the model in parity with the iPhone 3GS. When asked whether 802.11n support had been added to the device’s hardware, the comment was that there was nothing to announce on that at this time.

Update: A hands-on video of the iPod touch 3G is now available for viewing on Vimeo.

The third-generation iPod shuffle (2GB/$59, 4GB/$79) is the same as its predecessor released earlier this year, except for the addition of four new color options. Both the 2GB and 4GB models are available in three new colors—pink, blue, and green—which are more muted and iPod mini-like than the fourth and fifth-generation iPod nanos, without possessing the polished anodized aluminum. They all possess stainless steel rear clips. A new 4GB, entirely stainless steel model is being sold as an Apple Store exclusive special edition for $99, and predictably is a bright chrome through and through. No other changes were supposedly made to these models.

Update: A hands-on video of the updated iPod shuffle 3G is now available for viewing on Vimeo.

The iPod classic (160GB/$249) was not available for demonstration in Apple’s hands-on area after the event. It possesses the same thin profile as earlier 80GB and 120GB iPod classic models, but supposedly has no other changes from the second-generation version introduced last year.

Jeremy Horwitz

Jeremy Horwitz was the Editor-in-Chief at iLounge. He has written over 5,000 articles and reviews for the website and is one of the most respected members of the Apple media. Horwitz has been following Apple since the release of the original iPod in 2001. He was one of the first reviewers to receive a pre-release unit of the device, and his review helped put iLounge on the map as a go-to source for Apple news.