Today in Apple history: iPod nano gets colorful aluminum upgrade

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iPod nano
Did you own the second generation iPod nano?
Photo: Dongyi Liu/Flickr CC

Sept 25 Today in Apple historySeptember 25, 2006: Apple ships its second-generation iPod nano, offering a fancy redesign of the pocket-size original.

Among the new iPod nano’s improvements is a slimmer, anodized aluminum casing, a brighter screen, longer battery life and a wide range of colors. And, oh yes, it also includes gapless music playback for the first time!

iPod comes in a whole lot of options

Today, the iPod product line seems like barely an afterthought. (Apple discontinued the iPod nano on July 27, 2017, citing lack of interest). But in 2006, no Apple product burned brighter. With no iPhone on the horizon, the iPod helped drive Apple to astonishing new heights in popularity and value.

Introduced in September 2005, the iPod nano replaced the iPod mini with what seemed at the time like an unbelievably small device. For the second-gen model, Apple upgraded the case from plastic to scratch-resistant aluminum.

While the original model came only in black or white, the sequel boasted a choice of six different colors. These included black, green, blue, silver and pink (with a limited-edition iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED version coming later with support from U2 lead singer, Bono).

New iPod nano specs

In addition, the second-gen iPod nano bumped up the amount of storage to include an 8GB option, alongside the original 2GB and 4GB options. In keeping with Apple’s environmental aspirations (which were admittedly less pronounced under Steve Jobs than they would become under Cook), Apple claimed the packaging was “32 percent lighter with 52 percent less volume than the first generation.”

Along with increased storage options came a battery life upgrade from 14 to 24 hours, a new search option in the UI, the aforementioned gapless playback, and a display that shined an impressive 40 percent brighter than its predecessor.

In some senses, 2006 was the peak of the iPod. The following year, by the time of the third-gen nano’s released, Apple had cannibalized the product line with the iPhone. While the iPod continued to receive upgrades and variants, it lost its place as Apple’s primary focus.

Did you own an iPod nano? Leave your comments below.