Apple brings buttons back to Shuffle, revamps Nano

Forgive today’s deluge of Apple posts, but the company introduced quite a lot of interesting new products in the span of a couple of hours. I’ve been refreshing Engadget’s live coverage all morning, and new additions to the iPod line immediately caught my eye. In addition to the updated Touch, Apple has also revamped the iPod Nano and Shuffle.

Perhaps the biggest surprise with these new iPods is the return of buttons to the diminutive Shuffle. Apple removed traditional playback controls from last the Shuffle in favor of an in-line headphone remote that offered fewer buttons and relied on Morse-code-like combos to perform even basic functions. This misguided attempt at oversimplification didn’t sit well with me and apparently quite a lot of Shuffle users. According to Jobs "people clearly missed the buttons," so Apple brought them back. The new model has a button layout similar to the second-generation Shuffle’s, and it’s a little bit smaller, too.

Of course, the Shuffle still lacks a screen, making navigating the 2GB of music you can load onto the player somewhat difficult. For those who would rather not rely on VoiceOver dictation, Apple has a new iPod Nano.

Billed as a tiny iPod Touch, the new Nano has a 1.5" multi-touch display with an 240×240 resolution. It’s really more of an overgrown Shuffle than a smaller Touch, though. The old Nano’s camera is gone, and support for video playback has also been left on the cutting room floor. This crash diet allows the Nano to squeeze into a tiny aluminum casing that’s barely larger than the screen and less than 9 mm thick, including the attached clip. Total weight? Just 21 grams.

The new Nano’s multi-touch interface looks interesting, and I certainly don’t mind the device becoming a smaller and more focused music player. Miniaturization doesn’t come cheap, though, with 8GB flavors of the new Nano selling for $149 and 16GB units costing $179. That’s actually not a bad deal considering the cost of the Shuffle, which runs $49 but only has 2GB of storage capacity. Both of these new iPods are available in a rainbow of colors and are slated to start shipping next week.

Comments closed
    • ssidbroadcast
    • 10 years ago

    Kinda unrelated, but r[<21 Grams<]r was a good movie.

    • mattthemuppet
    • 10 years ago

    I love the classic Jobs tone “<stupid> people <without any sense of esthetic were> clearly <too incompetent to do without> the buttons”

    so we graciously bowed to their collective moronity and gave them buttons.

    • ADRENALIN
    • 10 years ago

    no video playback on the nanos is dumb, my gf uses it all the time.

    • vince
    • 10 years ago

    The wheel on the previous nano was nice for fast “scrolling”. I wonder how it will be like to do mini-swipes on that screen to scroll 3000 songs…

      • Skrying
      • 10 years ago

      There’s better ways to do it. You could have the index go to letter if they hold the press down. So let’s say your song starts with an S. You press and hold and scroll quickly to S and then do little swipes in the S to find the song you’re looking for.

    • darc
    • 10 years ago

    I always said that, when Apple announced the new shuffle would have no buttons whatsoever, it read like a headline from the Onion.com. 😀

    • tigen
    • 10 years ago

    Why would you get this overpriced crap instead of a Sandisk player?

    A shuffle with no screen? Seriously why?

    No expandable memory slots? Limited format support?

      • Red X
      • 10 years ago

      I was thinking the same thing, I got twice the space and a screen for about $5 more. I don’t think the gloss and apple logo makes it worth the price.

      • xtalentx
      • 10 years ago

      Agreed – Sandisk has it all over this junk.

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    Watch the articles, Geoff.
    g{

      • wobbles-grogan
      • 10 years ago

      Grammer nazi alert!
      I repeat, Grammer nazi! 🙂

        • Palek
        • 10 years ago

        TR has fairly high standards when it comes to the quality of their writing. Typos are rare and the writers will usually correct them if notified. Typos do not help the image of a publication, even if it is an online techie website.

        Oh, and it’s grammar, not grammer. 😛

          • Trymor
          • 10 years ago

          Mabey so, but the l[

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            Apparently not, as he hasn’t noticed it yet.

    • absinthexl
    • 10 years ago

    Touchscreen Nano? Really? Just because you /[

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 10 years ago

    LOL..that downgraded nano is more crappier than the iriver s10 of years ago. but it will sell a lot to the minions.

      • blastdoor
      • 10 years ago

      No way. Sales of the nano are going to totally tank. This is the biggest “f*** you” to customers since the Mac IIvx.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 10 years ago

        Somehow I am unfamiliar with the legendary IIvx catastrophe you speak of.

          • blastdoor
          • 10 years ago

          Kids today… no respect for history.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    I got a Sony 16GB E345 a few months ago from Amazon for $70 on a slight sale, it’s usually around $85. That’s a pretty damned hefty Apple tax at 2x the cost and the Sony has great SQ not to mention tactile controls and simple drag-n-drop or sync-with-any program usability. Small enough is small enough, I don’t know why I’d want something as rediculously small in a ‘real’ music player (more than just random playlist) as the Nano, I think I’d lose it lol.

    All I care about at this point in an mp3/PMP is more capacity/$, all the features are there as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately companies can’t just give us price cuts or better capacity/$, they need to keep revenue up and add extraneous features rather than deliver more for less 🙁

    • BDiggity
    • 10 years ago

    No bluetooth support in the Nano again, no reason for me to buy a new one.

    • albundy
    • 10 years ago

    and they didn’t do this in the first place because? oh right now I remember.

    • eitje
    • 10 years ago

    I bought a Cowon D2 several years ago so that I could have mobile playback of the FLAC files that I prefer to use when I rip CDs.

    I looked at the ipod nano and was immediately reminded of that product (which they no longer make), and found the following:
    §[<http://www.jetaudio.com/products/cowon/d2plus/<]§ I'm not sure I'd be able to distinguish the difference between 91 grams and 21 grams, but I would certainly notice the difference between 52 hours and 24 hours of playback between charges. I wonder what kind of portable ipod battery charger I could find that weighs 70 grams... ;)

    • Joerdgs
    • 10 years ago

    Yegh, terrible. Wanted to see if the next gen Nano was worth buying to replace my v2 Nano, but Apple royally screwed it up. My fingers would be blocking the view while browsing the playlist. Also I dislike touch screens as main control since it basically gives the the device the ability to register touches while the user can’t know by touch what he’s doing. Why do they want to make such small stuff and sacrifice features in return? Nobody sane ever complained about the weight.

    • Duck
    • 10 years ago

    That nano is impressive but I hate everything becoming touch sensitive and numbed down. I would rather have tactile mechanical feedback. I hate modern cars for exactly these reasons too.

    • no51
    • 10 years ago

    Wow… I thought the nano image was a joke, but it’s not.

      • blastdoor
      • 10 years ago

      Same here. The nano is a huge step backwards. I guess they’re trying to force people to pay for the iPod Touch. But I think this is a terrible idea. They are really shooting themselves in the foot with this nano. I bet sales fall noticeably. I never thought Apple would make the Zune look so appealing. Microsoft has to be gobsmacked by what an unbelievable gift they just received.

    • Peffse
    • 10 years ago

    So they are just remixing ideas now?

    SMALLER TOUCH-LIKE SCREEN
    LARGER NANO-LIKE BUTTONS

    what’s next, HUGE CLASSIC STYLE WITH NO BUTTONS?

    • jalex3
    • 10 years ago

    the only new thing i like is the new shuffle, they killed it and have now fixed it… :\

    • Decelerate
    • 10 years ago

    Wonder if the touch has an FM radio like the nano… ?

        • Decelerate
        • 10 years ago

        I’m wondering if the TOUCH has that feature. I know the nano has it

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          The current iPhone 4 does not, so my semi-educated guess is that the iPod Touch will not, either. Especially since it wasn’t mentioned. The now-old iPod Touch does not have an FM tuner either.

      • sativa
      • 10 years ago

      you’ll also be able to pause live radio for up to 15 minutes

    • Farting Bob
    • 10 years ago

    Those nanos look very nice. I use my mp3 player as an mp3 player, i dont want/need it to do much more and the ipod touches are too bulky. If i was in the market for a new mp3 player of that capacity id give it a considersation, and ive managed to avoid giving Lord Jobs a penny of my money till now. But until my 32GB zen dies i dont need a new one, no matter how pretty.

    • jdaven
    • 10 years ago

    Fitting 16GB in addition to all the other IC’s into this small of a device is quite impressive to me.

      • PixelArmy
      • 10 years ago

      Easily impressed? §[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MicroSD<]§ Up to 32 GB.

        • Trymor
        • 10 years ago

        Seriously?

        l[

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          IC’s, plural, is probably a stretch. There’s probably a few IC’s at most along with the flash chip and some surface mount stuff for the analog output. When we see a dissection we’ll know.

          • PixelArmy
          • 10 years ago

          The “in addition to all the other ICs” makes it sound like it was some impressive feat. My only point is flash memory has gotten exceedingly small.

          Basic math… The nano is 37.5 mm x 40.9 mm x 8.78 mm (including clip) for 13466.325 mm^3. From pics, the clip appears to be ~40% of the depth so 13466.325 x 0.6 = 8079.795 mm^3. A microSD card is 15 mm x 11 mm x 1 mm = 165 mm^3. *[

            • Trymor
            • 10 years ago

            Ok. It seemed to be a statement of generality, without much thought. I probably would have put it something like this: It is an impressive 16 Gig player with a multi-touch screen. But yes, flash mem has gotten small. I can’t wait to see what will happen with memristors and size!

            I guess it was your condescending tone that struck a chord with me at the time.

            Try

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