With the new touchscreen iPod nano, Apple successfully managed to shrink their mid-level iPod down to Shuffle-sized dimensions… but not without dropping some notable capability, including video recording and playback. It’s unlikely that Apple is going to suss out the dimensional wormhole technologies required to fit a video camera back into the nano’s postage-stamp-sized casing soon, but video playback might not be out of the question in a future software update.
The revelation comes by way of TUAW’s Erica Sadun, who spotted a lot of video-related details in the new nano’s internal settings property lists, with options for captions, alternative audio, television subtitles and screen aspect all hinting at possible upcoming support.
Interesting, to be sure, but Apple left video support out of the nano for a reason: that screen is just unsuitable to movie watching, and Cupertino knows it. The new nano, despite the touchscreen, is still similar in its innards to the old nano… my guess is that this residual functionality is simply legacy code from the fifth-gen, and Apple’s not about to flip the switch anytime before next year as an incentive to upgrade.
Perhaps more than any other device in Apple’s electronics arsenal, the iPod nano has changed dramatically over the years. Birthed as the iPod Mini, the first generation nano rounded off and slightly shrank the design, while adding a color screen.
The second generation nano contented itself with a mere material shift to an aluminum case, while the third generation was crunched down to a a squat while gaining Coverflow and video playback.
That squat design was reversed in the fourth generation and the display lengthened while the nano gained an accelerometer and shake-to-shuffle capabilties.
The fifth put the nano’s display on the rack and stretched it out so long it was capable of displaying 16:9 movies when held horizontally, as well as adding a video camera, voice recording, an FM radio and a pedometer to the mix.
And now here we are in the sixth generation, which shrinks the nano down to the size of a Shuffle, ditching the 16:9 display, video camera and voice recording of the previous generation in favor of a smaller form factor and a 240×240 pixel multitouch screen.
As the above infographic by DVICE shows, the nano’s been a polymorph. Who knows what other forms the nano’s shapeshifting design will take over the next half decade?
Too busy to read our liveblog coverage of Apple’s September iPod Event? Everything you need to know about Apple’s new products is below the fold, including details about the new iPod Shuffle, Nano, iPod Touch, AppleTV, iTunes and iOS update.