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Shape Shifter

By Travis Scoggins

Quite a lot to take in from yesterday’s Apple presentation. On one end of the spectrum lies the stayed, tried and true iPod Classic which remained in the lineup. On the other end was the iPod Nano, a product that has shape shifted five times. Enough to be considered for enrollment in Professor Xavier’s school for mutants.clip_image003I have to admit I was a bit baffled when I saw its most recent form today. Nano’s should by definition get smaller…yet this version was bigger. Apple showed us a history of their Nano designs during the presentation and it made me realize there has to be an internal struggle to define the role this device plays in the current lineup.

Before iPhones and iPads, the Nano was a sleeker version of their star product. But it seems now that greater feature sets are necessary, they are struggling with the right design to fit the existing technology. I thought the previous generation’s design was a step in the right direction, leading to a future of more wearable devices that in their own right had less function but reported into a greater platform (iPhones, iPads or even Macs).

The size, the clip, the right types of apps of the last version were all appealing to the athlete. People (not me personally) wear them as watches. I don’t know why I need photos and videos on my nano when I’ve got them on my other iOS devices that have retina displays and I don’t have to plug in to sync that content.

Bluetooth was the right addition to create wireless connectivity for the first time in this device, but the decisions to go bigger and include this other content seem to violate Apple’s rules of smaller, and more focused products. That more than anything has me in the unusual position of questioning Apple’s logic and commitment to their standards.

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