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Apple's new iPods: what you need to know

We take an in-depth look at the new audio devices

We field your questions about the changes to Apple's music player line-up.

Well, at least I can still watch videos on the nano, can't I?

No, that feature's gone, too. Again, Apple's not really talking up the features it removed from the nano, but it's likely a combination of both design changes and product strategy. On the design front, the new nano's screen is noticeably smaller than what the fifth-generation nano had to offer - the 2.2in widescreen display has been shrunk down to a 1.54in square. That size and aspect ration aren't really well-suited to watching the copy of Avatar you rented from the iTunes Store. (Note that the latest iPod nano will display photos and album art, and can even output them, with the right cable, to a TV.) In terms of product strategy, Apple has very clearly drawn a line dividing its mobile devices: If you're looking for something that will play music, then you can choose either a nano or an iPod shuffle. Anything more - watching videos, using apps, surfing the web - and you'll need to upgrade to an iPod touch.

Did the iPod nano lose any other features?

Not as far as we can tell. We'll keep an eye peeled for any other changes once we get our hands on a shipping version. We can tell you that the iPod nano supports Apple's VoiceOver technology for announcing artists, songs, and albums. (That's a feature most prominently on display in the iPod shuffle.) As with past models, this nano supports the Nike+ exercise tracking service, features VoiceMemos and Photo apps, and includes an FM radio.

Does the iPod touch have an FM radio? How about the iPod shuffle?

Only the iPod nano has this feature.

If the nano is basically a screen, how do I control the device?

It's true that Apple has ditched buttons on the iPod nano (with the exception of physical volume buttons). Instead, the nano now offers touchscreen controls. You navigate the device's menus and control it by scrolling and tapping, just as you would an iPod touch or an iPhone. You can also control playback using the inline remote control on Apple's (now-optional) earbuds with remote/mic or any compatible third-party headphones.

Wait, now optional? You mean none of the new models include Apple's earbuds with the inline remote and microphone?

Sadly, Apple no longer includes its 'premium' earbuds - the ones with the inline remote and mic. Instead, the new iPod models include the company's basic earbuds. For the iPod shuffle, this is likely a fair tradeoff, as the new model regains its physical buttons. But it will present challenges for the iPod nano and iPod touch, especially for those who use these iPods for active pursuits. We'll have more to say about this once we've had hands-on time with the nano and touch.

The iPod nano looks like it's running iOS. Can I buy apps for it?

The new iPod nano certainly does look like a duck; it features iOS's telltale square icons and a handful of multi-touch gestures. But the new nano does not actually walk like said duck - it's not running iOS.

NEXT PAGE: What's changed with the shuffle

  1. An in-depth look at the new audio devices
  2. What's new with the iPod touch, then?
  3. GPS in the iPod touch?
  4. Watching videos on the nano
  5. What's changed with the shuffle


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