New iPod Nano? Sure. This One? I’m Skeptical.

By  |  Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 9:45 am

Digg’s Kevin Rose has blogged that new, cheaper iPods will arrive in the next two or three weeks. That I can believe. (I’d bet on the outer edge of the prediction timewise or even a bit later, since Apple will almost certainly need a little time to invite journalists to a press event to roll out the new line.) But Rose has also posted a photo of what is supposedly the new iPod Nano in a skinny form factor that looks more like the original Nano than the current, more squarish design:

Like all alleged spy shots of unreleased products, this one is conveniently fuzzy-wuzzy…actually, it appears to be in black and white. (How come nobody with access to a top-secret product ever has a decent digital SLR handy?) But the shot is clear enough to see that the touch wheel has a menu button, backward and forward buttons, and a play/stop button.

And that’s why I think this photo is a fake. Presumably, the design involves holding the iPod in portrait mode when listening to music, and rotating it into landscape orientation to watch video. But in landscape mode, the orientation of the touch wheel doesn’t make a lot of sense: Backwards becomes up and forward becomes down, and the “Menu” label is sideways. Yes, you could figure it out. But I have a hard time believing that Apple would do anything so apparently ungainly and inelegant. (The iPhone’s rotating screen makes perfect sense, since the touch-screen controls rotate, too–and note that the one button on the iPhone’s face was designed to look exactly the same no matter what the orientation.)

Full disclosure: I’m probably predisposed to hope that this isn’t the new Nano, since I think the current square one is one of Apple’s nicest industrial designs ever. (I’m not sure why, but think of it as being a little guy; there’s something human about the proportions and styling.) If this one looked like an improvement, I might be more inclined to suspend my disbelief. For now, though, I don’t wanna believe.

Let’s end with a flashback to late 2006: Kevin Rose said that the iPhone was on its way (right!) but said it would be released on all carriers simultaneous, would have a slide-out keyboard, and would sport dual batteries (wrong, wrong, wrong)!

I hope that once again, he’s right on the timing and wrong on the details…

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  1. Dell Joins the Mini-Laptop Movement | Technologizer Says:

    […] debut next Tuesday at Apple’s press event. I’m prepared for the possibility that my instinct is wrong and the new Nano will be long and skinny. But the “photo” is patently a computer rendering, and not a particularly realistic one […]