Apple: Touchscreen iPod Nano Does Not Run iOS

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Apple’s sexily diminutive new iPod Nano, replete with 1.13-inch touchscreen, certainly looks like iOS. It might even — held close enough to the nostrils — smell like iOS. But it’s nothing of the sort.

Backstage at today’s iPod Event, an Apple spokesman confirmed that the new iPod Nano is not running iOS.

That makes sense, given Jobs’ own failure to identify the Nano as a new iOS-driven device, or his failure to brag about a wide range of apps to run on the device. It also makes sense from the engineering perspective of trying to shove a chip powerful enough to run a current version of iOS into a Shuffle-sized footprint.

Rather, what we see in the new Nano is a skin layered most probably over the traditional iPod Nano operating system, with some of iOS multitouch software scraped out and grafted onto it.

The move makes sense for Apple. The new Nano is too small to really avail itself of multitouch, but iOS is Apple’s sexiest operating system, as well as one synonymous with touch. Apple couldn’t well make a touchscreen iPod at this point without making it at least look like iOS.

We wonder, though, if confusion will ultimately set in. If it looks like iOS, but doesn’t run apps, isn’t that going to confuse customers? We imagine that in the brainpan of one Apple Store Genius is throbbing with premonitory headache right now.