back to article New iPod crew: 'Phoney, futuristic, retro, doomed'

Apple has revamped three quarters of its iPod line. Or, more accurately, it upgraded one quarter, redesigned another, took a step back in time with a third, and left the final, not-even-mentioned quarter alone. iPod touch The flagship of the iPod line, the iPod touch, is often derided as being merely an iPhone without the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Umm.. half priced iPhone 4

    As my 1st gen ipod touch has served me so faithfully for the last 2-3 years, it didn't take much deciding to shell out for one of the new iPod Touchés.

    I've been waiting for my half price iPhone 4 without-the-phone for a while now.

    Wonder where apple put the arial on the new ipod ^^

    Epic Citadel here i come... 5-7 business days.

    1. Tempest

      Get a version 3 from Walmart

      Walmart is selling version 3's for 99 bucks.

      Add the OS upgrade, hen you have a cell that is better than V4 and even makes calls..

    2. Jason Hall

      Epic Citadel

      Epic Citadel actually looks really really nice.

      Mmm. Going to have to have a good play with that when I get home...

      1. mafoo

        Re: Epic Citadel

        Its pretty jaw dropping. On a 3GS it actually looks better than a lot of PC games (World of Warcraft for one). It had the occasional frame skip but when your looking across that vista of an entire castle, mountain and village i think i'll forgive them :)

        If anyone is confused, Epic Citadel is a tech demo derrived from "Sword Project" that epic games demoed int he media event. Its based on a derivative on the Unreal 3 engine and epic was pretty vocal about licensing it to developers was their main goal.

    3. Peter Mount

      iTouch 1st gen

      Like yourself my 1st gen touch is still going strong and I'm not tempted to replace it for some time yet.

      I rarely put any apps on it, rarely connect it to wifi so I'm not missing out on much there - tend to use it for audio and the occasional movie and thats about it.

      For everything else there's the blackberry... yep, I'm one of those who still doesn't like the idea of mixing phone and media into one device...

  2. Peter 39

    rear camera

    Steve only mentioned HD video. Nothing about photos on the iPod Touch.

    My guess is that it's like the camera on the old nano

    1. ThomH

      It seems to take 720p resolution photos

      My guess: apps uploaded to the App Store contain a list of flags that dictate which bits of hardware they require to work. One such flag is 'device has a stills camera', another is 'device has a movie camera'. There is no 'device has any camera whatsoever', so if the iPod Touch had become the first iOS device with a movie camera but not a stills camera then Apple would have pushed developers of apps that just need a camera preview (eg, those augmented reality apps that bloggers love) into an extremely tenuous position.

      I guess it may also be to do with lower level software implementation issues, especially given that Apple seem to have a lot of difficulty finishing versions of iOS nowadays. There was a prominent section of the keynote dedicated essentially to "we are still going to update the iPad's version of the OS at some point, honest".

  3. Tim J
    Thumb Up

    Bravo for the back to the future iPod Shuffle

    The 2nd gen iPod Shuffle was absolutely perfect for me, until I accidentally put it in the washing machine and it decided (quite reasonably) that it would no longer work.

    I could never quite fathom why on earth Apple had to dick around and withdraw it in favour of the inferior 3rd gen Shuffle, so I'm very pleased that they've seen sense and are basically going back to the great clip-on design of the 2nd gen with the new 4th gen model. I only hope that it's got a standard headphone jack - if not, I withdraw everything I said!

    And please Apple, don't stop making it again in the future - an itsy bitsy audio player that's great for sticking in one's pocket or taking for a run is just what many of us want, and the iPod Shuffle 2nd gen did it fantastically (and hopefully the 4th gen will do so too).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bravo for the back to the future iPod Shuffle

      In the words of Steve: There is no washing machine...

    2. James Hughes 1


      You could go to Tesco and get a £10 clip on MP3 player which does the same job.

    3. Brennan Young
      Thumb Up

      Physical buttons and Accessibility

      2nd generation iPod shuffle remains a great design, with the built-in clip, physical buttons you can operate with your hand in your pocket, and the user's own choice of headphones, so I too am pleased to see the design return.

      Having the controls on the headphone cable was just stupid, and an lousy excuse to charge exorbitant prices for mediocre headphones. My guess is that Apple noticed a drop in sales when they switched to the 3rd generation.

      In my case, I have a multihandicapped daughter who loves music and loves pressing buttons. She has cortically impaired vision. She has a 2nd Generation iPod shuffle plugged into a cheap-as-chips portable handheld amplifier. We've tried her with touchscreens, but her vision is really not good enough. She needs to FEEL the buttons.

      So... now I know what she will be getting for christmas - especially if belkin or some such produce a little handheld amp with a neat housing for the new shuffle. The shuffle is cheap enough that we can have several of the things about the house, and she can switch to another one when she wants to hear another playlist.

      I often prefer to operate devices in the dark, in my pocket or whatever, without using my eyes. A physical button is still more 'sound' feedback for the fingertips than a short vibration (which affects the whole hand). If they can localise the vibrations on the screen somehow, we might be getting somewhere, but for now...

      Touchscreens are an accessibility nightmare for anyone with partial sight or any kind of blindness.

  4. Tempest

    Looks like Apple is after never ending subscriptions - leasing next?

    I would have thought people would want to archive some movies yet A-TV is suggesting they want to use a subscription based system.

    Leasing players and other things would fit in to this Apple concept.

    Personally I will stick to my library of audio so I have a one-time charge and the ability to play in anywhere, any time.

  5. nick 83


    The touch starts at 8gb still? Shouldn't the base model be up to 16gb by now?

  6. Tempest

    All these little fire bombs

    What concerns me id the safety of all these powerful batteries that have an unfortunate history of turning in Apple stuff.

    Some Apples have also exploded.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      All devices have powerful batteries

      Batteries aren't made by Apple, they are made by suppliers. These suppliers also supply other tech companies.

      Garmin have recently recalled some Sat Navs as they were at risk of exploding.

      1. Tempest
        Jobs Horns

        Vendors responsible for their products

        If you buy a Ford car with a subassembly made by a third party your recourse would be against Ford.

        Likewise, id Apple, or any other vendor, chooses to use designs that are buggy/cheap they get to pick up the bill.

        Apple, in my experience, has always tried to dumb things down minimixing costs and quality which has cost some people injury and minor fires. Using these custom connectors lets Apple remain a sole source supplier, read monopoly, and they ae priced accordingly.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          "Apple, in my experience, has always tried to dumb things down minimixing costs and quality which has cost some people injury and minor fires."

          So you have first hand experience of this do you?

          "Using these custom connectors lets Apple remain a sole source supplier, read monopoly, and they ae priced accordingly."

          The connectors will connect to any computer (or other device) with a USB port...

        2. Anonymous Coward

          RE: Vendors responsible for their products...

          So we're back to this? They are the sole manufacturer of a device, much as Sony are the sole manufacturer of the PS3. That isn't a monopoly and has nothing to do with Apples pricing structure.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Batteries aren't made by Apple, they are made by suppliers."

        Yeah, 'cos nothing that Apple makes EVER goes wrong or breaks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Jobs Horns

          That's because nothing's made by Apple

          apart from the OS (the hard-to-get-right-bits for which are taken from Unix anyway), Apple don't make anything. iPhones, for example, are assembled by the few Foxconn employees who haven't killed themselves or succumbed to a horrible poisoning yet.

          1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

            In fairness to Apple...

            AC wrote: "apart from the OS (the hard-to-get-right-bits for which are taken from Unix anyway), Apple don't make anything. iPhones, for example, are assembled by the few Foxconn employees who haven't killed themselves or succumbed to a horrible poisoning yet."

            They have a pretty good iphone/ipod touch UI which they just may have developed in-house. It is, unfortunately, one of the best I've ever used on a portable device. I really would like to see an open platform built to this calibre with just as slick a UI.

            Android and Maemo5/N900 just don't quite come close, imho, but maybe this will come in time.

            And nope, I've not caved in and bought a jesusphone yet for objections I have repeatedly mentioned before. I took stock recenlty of the competition, however, and I still feel it ain't quite there yet. So I still wield my old trusty nokia.

            (And... you got to ask yourselves where competing products are manufactured anyways...)

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    3axis accelerometer?

    The first never-get-lost Ipod?*

  8. bitmap animal
    Thumb Up

    re Megapixels on camera

    Possibly they have finally realised that posing a 10mega pixel picture is a waste of time for what most of their users do with it. They either view it on screen or post it to facebook etc where the 0.7MP is more than adequate and because of the technology of image sensors should give a vastly superior picture.

    1. Michael Jennings

      It is about design

      It was a pretty clear trade-off between thinness and pixels.

      For the third Generation iPod touch last year, Apple wanted to put a camera in - rumours and leaks said this, third party case designers produced case designs with holes in them, prototypes with cameras have briefly appeared on eBay and there is an empty space inside the iPod where the camera was supposed to go. However, Apple pulled it at the last minute because they simply couldn't get an adequate camera into a space that thin. (By their nature, cameras are reasonably thick. You can compensate for a smaller focal length by having a smaller sensor, and that means either smaller pixels or fewer of them. Larger pixels are better pixels, generally).

      This year, the iPod is even thinner, so getting a camera in was undoubtedly again a challenge. My guess is that the 0.7MP camera was the best they could do having chosen that thinness. It's going to give reasonable video, and we will see how good it is for still pictures. It will presumably use much the same software as the better camera on the iPhone 4, and that is pretty good by this iteration, with Apple still improving it. If it is good enough for Facebook uploads and the like, it's a worthwhile feature compared to no camera at all.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My favourite part of the presentation

    was Steve totally skipping over the Fatboy nano, the demise of which represented a fairly major volte-face at the time, not least because everyone had decried its ugliness solely on the basis of leaked images. Doubtless there'll be a lot of moaning about the touch nano losing its video capabilities: maybe there's room there for a price-drop on the 8GB iPod touch when the 64GB variants emerge to plug the gap?

  10. Paul E

    50% of the gaming market?

    Guess fart and burp apps are classed as games now then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Apple can make "gaming" mean whatever it wants. After all, they invented games. Games are new, magical and revolutionary.

      Wouldn't Windows be the largest gaming platform in the world by a long shot since it comes with Solitaire?

      Just sayin.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Those confusing cable controls in full

    El Reg has mentioned a few times how their crack team of tech reporters were confused by the Apple cable controls, and they are indeed bewildering. Let's have a look:

    One click to pause/play

    Two clicks to go forward

    Three clicks to go back.

    Phew! It's like my old quantum mechanics lectures. Let's try that again:

    One click to pause or play

    Two clicks to go forward

    Three clicks to go... come on, you can do it... back! Yes, well done!

    ...Waitaminute. This isn't actually confusing at all! it's actually a lot easier when you're walking along to have one button with three combinations than three buttons each a third of the size. I'm not saying it's the only way to do it - just that it's not, in fact, all that hard.

    There are so many things to get annoyed about with Apple, you don't need to try to make up problems that aren't...


    1. jbk


      So to go back 4 songs, for example, you'd have to click 12 times?! Or would that go forward 6 songs? Or, even worse, I'm guessing you'd actually have to wait for each operation to complete before repeating? Click click clik, pause, click click click, pause... etc? Tres lame.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Be serious...

        If you're going back and forth by 6 songs, you should never have bought a Shuffle. Sounds like you wanted a Nano, or one of many other perfectly decent MP3 players out there.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        WTF indeed...

        "So to go back 4 songs, for example, you'd have to click 12 times?!" That's neither confusing or hard. It's convoluted. And now you have the choice!

    2. The Dark Lord
      Dead Vulture


      I wonder if El Reg were so dismissive of Sony, who had exactly the same control mechanism on their CD and MiniDisc Walkmans, around the turn of the millennium.

      Oops, sorry, I've just demonstrated that Apple didn't invent some radical new control mechanism.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      i love my iPod 3g Touch, i want it as small as possible, and i never had any problems remembering the click - rocket science its not.

      the controls on the head phones make it a snap to use and i dont have to fumble around looking for the device to control it. The controls are right by ear every time.

    4. Brennan Young

      Actually no

      It IS confusing when a control has mutliple functions, and at the very least it puts greater cognitive demands on the user, because the user has to maintain a 'stack' of presses which is difficult in stressful or cognitively loaded situations. (q.v. "was it six bullets or only five? To tell you the truth, in all the excitement..." - yes even Dirty Harry is not immune to this problem of 'how many times did I operate the control'?).

      See my other reply about accessibility. My daughter would have to spend so much time working out the 'code' for the multiple button pushes that she would lose interest totally.

      My preference: As few buttons as necessary, but no fewer. One button per function. (I can accept play/pause on the same button, but would prefer that they were seperate).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        If Apple devices were truly magical and revolutionary, certainly it would not be difficult to keep the scroll wheel and also ship with headphones that have controls on them, no?

        Oh, that might increase costs and eat into Apple's 60% "I poop gold" profit margin? Oh well, at least companies like Microsoft care about their customers...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "If Apple devices were truly magical and revolutionary, certainly it would not be difficult to keep the scroll wheel and also ship with headphones that have controls on them, no?" Isn't this exactly what hey have just done? Ah, so it is!

          "Oh, that might increase costs and eat into Apple's 60% "I poop gold" profit margin? Oh well, at least companies like Microsoft care about their customers..." My-my aren't we a bitter crackberry...

    5. Captain Thyratron

      No, the hard part is...

      ...using third-party headphones. But why could you possibly want anything but Apple headphones? They never break and the sound quality is top-notch, so you'll never find yourself disappointed with how they sound or having to pay for an expensive replacement you don't like anyway just because ordinary headphones don't work with the device.

      1. Test Man

        Don't be silly

        Apple headphones are average at best, so why would people want to be stuck with average headphones?

  12. ShaggyDoggy


    I'll stick with Sony thanks - better sound quality, which after all, is the PRIMARY purpuse of these things, or is it

    1. Martin

      Primary purpose?

      The primary purpose of any Apple kit is to perform adequately and look good for a premium price. They are the Bang and Olufsen of the IT industry.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not exactly...

      The primary purpose is portability. The sound quality of an iPod is good enough for the majority of **consumers**. In actual fact at the height of the "iPod have shit sound quality" argument, Apple used the same DAC that was found in most of the competition that was cited as being significantly better (not sure if they continue to do so). There are obviously other options out there and I suppose it comes down to features. The iPod Touch for instance isn't really just an MP3 player anymore; it's an entertainment device--music, video, games etc. You want good sound quality? Buy a player that supports a lossless codec like FLAC. You want really good sound quality? Don't use the supplied headphones with **any** of the devices on the market. Spend a decent sized wad on good quality noise-cancelling headphones. You want really really good sound quality? Don't listen to music on a portable device...

    3. Tigra 07
      Thumb Down

      You should be boycotting Sony

      And you get free DRM with security holes, rootkits and spyware =]

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

        You should be boycotting Sony

        Yes. F@#k Sony.

        As an aside, they f##ked us PS3 linux guys up. See what you've stirred up now, Sony? Sooner or later, we're gonna blow that box flippin' wide open and tell everyone and their granny how to do it.

        And we're not buying your shit either.

        (Apple would be wise to read this and listen)

    4. chr0m4t1c


      I think you'll find that portability is the primary purpose of portable music devices.

      Whilst most people will probably say that sound quality is the next important factor for them, they'll most likely make a buying decision based on other factors such as price, storage and brand image and may not actually listen to any music through the device before buying.

      I wanted something I could use in the car and the built-in unit has an iPod connector and full integration that allows the iPod to be controlled from the nice big touch-screen in the dash (as well as the controls on the steering wheel).

      As I mostly listen to spoken word stuff like old comedy programmes and audiobooks ultimate sound quality wasn't a factor in my choice of device as the source material is often very poor quality anyway. And as that kind of stuff takes up a lot of space, storage became my second consideration, meaning I ended up with a 160Gb Classic (which is now almost full).

      Horses for courses.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Why do you or anyone else need a portable music device? Do you not have a cell phone?

        My cell phone isn't flashy, that new, or cool. On the other hand, it gets everything done and never drops calls no matter how I hold it. I have a Blackberry Curve 8330 on Sprint. I can put an SD card in it to hold 32 gig of music (64 gig if I mod the phone to support it). I have a Pandora app that syncs with my desktop account so I can stream music commercial free wherever I go. In my car I have an FM transmitter so I can plug into my phone's headphone jack and broadcast to ANY radio station I want. When I get out of the car, I can plug in high quality headphones and keep listening to the same music seamlessly.

        Why would anyone buy an MP3 player, when you can get a phone that does the same for often times less money?

        Apparent Answer: because their phone isn't on AT&T and they love humping Steve Jobs. There is no rational explanation.

        Digital Camera and MP3 Players are interesting... because they have no purpose. They should not exist anymore. There is no point to either device. If you want a portable music device, the only rational reason to get one is if you are going to get a very high quality device (which rules out Apple). The only reason to get a digital camera is if you're going to get an SLR or D-SLR. Otherwise you can get the same quality on a cell phone.

        That is why Apple had to get into phones, their only successful product was an MP3 player, and there was no point in having an MP3 player.

        1. TIMMEH


          Because the battery life of my phone is short enough without playing music through it as well.

          Cameras found on mobile phones might have reached a point where they are adequate for a quick snap but compacts still perform better on many fronts.

        2. J 3
          Thumb Down

          Here's my why...

          "Why do you or anyone else need a portable music device? Do you not have a cell phone?"

          Yup, I do have a cell phone. It's for emergencies and important stuff. I don't want to drain its battery playing games, taking (crappy, at least on my phone) pictures, browsing the web and listening to music and then, when I need to call or text, I can't. And I only call or text when it's important. Because I hate phones. Apparently my phone is capable of playing music, but I've never tried. I did try the camera. It's shit. I'm a photographer and I can't accept that quality even for unimportant stuff. Of course I don't carry my SLRs around unless it's a photo outing -- I just leave an old point and shoot Canon in my backpack for everyday needs. Cheap, small enough to be unnoticed (could even be in a coat pocket), and takes pictures with a quality that cell phones can only dream of. Maybe now one can buy an expensive cell that actually takes good pics as good (without the crazy noise, aberrations, and compression), but sure as hell the cheap ones can't.

        3. Anonymous Coward

          RE: Why?

          "Why would anyone buy an MP3 player, when you can get a phone that does the same for often times less money?"

          ...because my MP3 player can hold over 100gb of songs while my phone only has 16gb of memory.

          "Digital Camera and MP3 Players are interesting... because they have no purpose. They should not exist anymore. There is no point to either device."

          I'll remember to tell Kodak that, next time I'm in their office.

    5. Mr__H
      Paris Hilton


      You must be joking. In my (albeit outdated) experience using the Sony software that comes with their players (anyone rember SonicStage with Network MiniDisc?) you'll have ripped off your ears in frustration before you get around to listening to any music. That's quite detrimental to percieved sound quality I understand.

      If you're really worried about the sound quality (like I am) then you know that actually the lineout signal that you can take from the dock connector (I've soldered up my own lead) is actually up there with some of the best when fed into a reasonable headphone amp.

      If you want the pinout for the lineout google for it and go the the link. Off the shelf products are also available for the less solderly-minded.

      Paris - because she too sure has made herself a homebrew miniture-pentode headphone amp with a dock connector...

  13. Lottie


    I'm glad they've gone back to the old shuffle style. I'm no fan of iPods -poor quality and itunes turned me off- but I have to say that the shuffle was a superb form factor.

  14. Tigra 07

    UK prices

    "The new iPod touch will be available next week at $229 for 8GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB."

    If anyone wants the UK prices, just swap the dollar sign for a pound sign.

    No need for the exchange rate to be mentioned as always with apple

    1. Magnus Ramage
      Thumb Up

      Not as bad as all that...

      Well I agree with the general trend, but on this occasion Apple are bucking it. UK prices for the iPod Touch: 8GB £189, 32GB £239, 64GB £329. Source:

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Every. Single. Fucking. Time... (Part 2)

      Import duties. Taxes. Logistics. Don't pretend Apple are the only ones that 'price gouge' either! Adobe do it (in fact the CS5 suite cost significantly more here) Autodesk do it, Microsoft do it, Sony do it. I haven't checked, but I'd bet that Dell, HP, Toshiba, HTC, Samsung et al do it too. I'm not saying this makes it all right, far from it, just chiding you for making out it's only an offence committed by Apple.

      UK price before tax £160.86 , US price before tax (rate @ 1.545 02/09/10) £148.26, which leaves us UK consumers picking up a tab of £12.60 which covers shipping, logistics and import duties. Blame the government for some of that figure and the extra £28.14 that Osborne wants for the treasury in the form of VAT (soon to be more!).

    3. Scott Mckenzie


      For the love of god what is with this, the prices in the US are *exclusive* of tax, the prices in the UK are *inclusive* of tax, for the most part we end up paying a very slight premium (as we do with pretty much everything).

      Apple are absolutely no worse than any other manufacturer of tech products anywhere.

      1. Daniel Snowden


        Sales tax varies between states. We don't have that problem

      2. Tigra 07

        So much for setting an example

        "Apple are absolutely no worse than any other manufacturer of tech products anywhere."

        So rather than set a fair example and charge the right price, the same price as in America they charge more for sending their crap to the UK

        Just as they tried charging $1000 dollars for an iphone in Pakistan and ended up with hardly anyone buying one

    4. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Maybe they got the idea from Microsoft?

      Microsoft did the same for Vista. Bill Gates was asked why and he said it was due to "exchange rates". There was me thinking he had some business acumen.

  15. Chris Procter

    Accelerometer on the nano?

    I've not read the specs, but it was clear from the presentation that uncle Steve had to manually reorient the screen using a two fingered twist!

    You did watch the presentation on live stream, right??

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Maybe Steve was holding it wrong?


    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Feature not a bug

      What use is an accelerometer on a small mp3 player that you wear jogging, the screen would be spinning around all the time, wearing the battery down (transition fx use cpu power).

      Plus if it is clipped to your clothing then you will want it upside down, so you look down and lift it up to look at the display.

      Honestly, think a little before you are critical of something :)

  16. Jay 2
    Thumb Down

    I'll hold out for the 128GB Touch

    I was seriously considering getting a Touch if they'd announced a 128GB model. My current 5th gen Classic has got ~47GB on it at the moment, so with future expansion and apps/games etc I'm not entirely sure if only having ~17GB free to play with will be enough. I guess I'll have to hang on to my trusty Classic for another year...

  17. TwoWolves

    Missed the Ball

    On the train this morning on my way to work I couldn't help but notice that all the commuter grown-ups were using iPod Classics of various generations. Adults need storage and a simple device that they can operate by touch - not with touch. Should have released a 250G Classic and if they drop it entirely it will kill the goose I tell you.

    1. Chris Procter


      Yes, let's ignore our sales figures and cater exclusively for the very people who are least likely to replace their device!!


    2. airwaffle

      RE: Missed the Ball

      Totally agree - I have a 120Gb iPod and can't fit all my music on it. I basically use it as a massive iPod Shuffle and play stuff from it most of the time in Shuffle mode - call me weird, but I like to listen to random items I have in my collection.

      A 250Gb minimum would have been nice (we know Toshiba make the drives!) as I won't be getting a 160Gb one given my collection is at 165Gb currently.

      Apple - if you're going to kill off the classic, give out a firmware update for them so they can be upgraded to take larger drives than 160Gb.

  18. Jim 59

    Size does matter

    Well done Apple on reverting the shuffle design. You are in a pricing bubble again though. $149 for an 8GB nano ? At $179, 16gb player is also too small to take the average punter's CD collection (at reasonable bit rate).

    Sandisk make expandable players. With a Clip+ and a 16 Gb micro SD card, and you have a great nano-sized player that packs 24 Gb, plus an OLED screen, for about half the price of the Nano. Indeed for Nano money, you could make that a 32 Gb card.

    This nano is the worst bargain since the BBC model B, which sold well to the black jumpers for £400 (you know who you are), because it was hyped daily by the entire BBC corporation. They bought it then, and they'll buy it now. Fashion continues to be a cruel mistress.

    1. Jolyon


      The BBC B was a much better featured machine than it's competition in the home market - the price premium was not just to pay for marketing or boost profits.

      I am not sure that the same applies to the iPod Nano.

      1. Jim 59
        Thumb Up

        The Led

        The Beeb B was great at competing with the likes of the Dragon 32 in 1981. By 1984 the market had moved on, and while the Beeb were asking £400 for the basic box, Amstrad were charging the same money for an entire bundle - colour VDU, tape recorder, and the cpc464, a technically more advanced box. Ironically, while the cpc464 was seen as the chavs choice, it surpassed the model 'B' in precisely those snobbish areas that were the BBCs main selling points - it had a better OS and a faster basic. Not many people know that, especially if the BBC hype machine had anything to do with it.

        My advice is therefore to buy a Sansa clip and stick some Led Zeppelin up it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just get some worse ears then....

      ...yours are too high fidelity.

      I encode stuff using Ogg Vorbis at 80kbps, I really can't tell the difference between that and 250kbps. The new iPods allow encoding using High Efficiency coding at 64kbps, I bet that's good enough for many people with duff ears like mine :)

  19. A. Lewis
    Thumb Down

    Touchscreen nano?

    Boooo to that!

    When my old ipod (from the days when there was only one ipod) died I replaced it with a nano. After that swap I found it harder to operate it in my pocket because of the smaller wheel. It'd be impossible with a touchscreen!

    Surely with a device that's designed to be used primarily passively, physical controls are by far easier than an attention-requiring touchscreen.

  20. Dazed and Confused


    Yes you would thing that sound quality would be the major consideration. Sadly with most of the target audience it isn't. Most of the MP3 player vendors must know this or they wouldn't ship the players with such totally shit headphones.

    1. Scott Mckenzie


      MP3 != Quality

      So whats the major worry, a 128Kb AAC encoded file is usually more than adequate, even with decent headphones, for the usual environment in which these devices are listened to.

      An iPod in any form, sounds no worse than any other portable player i've used...

    2. Sean Baggaley 1

      "Yes you would thing that sound quality would be the major consideration."

      Nope. The law of diminishing returns applies.

      Audiophiles won't be happy until someone invents a 100% effective 'travelling cone of silence' that prevents any and all extraneous noise interfering with the music. Unfortunately, there are inherent limits to how much of that unwanted noise you can remove using expensive headphones.

      And the noise-cancelling headphone that can also remove noises made by *your own body* has yet to be invented. This means no amount of money can possibly prevent any and all unwanted noise from intruding on your musical bliss. You can buy the most staggeringly expensive loudspeakers, gold-plated speaker wire, and valve amps you can afford, but unless you're medically dead, you'll still be able to hear the sound of your own breathing.

      These noises tend to become rather more intrusive when you're exercising, which is why many gym rats or joggers are more than satisfied by an iPod Shuffle or similar.

      So, no, sound quality is NOT a major consideration. And never will be. Humans are imperfect listening devices.

  21. Alex Pepper
    Thumb Up

    Do the iPod shuffle.

    My girlfriend put her 2nd gen shuffle through the washing machine, and after a day of drying out in a rehab clinic it works again!

    I avoided the 3rd gen like the plague, even after losing my 2nd gen I could see the shortcomings of the inline headphones (I had some with my iphone which insta-broke).

    I shall gladly buy the 4th gen shuffle on the buttons alone.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I feel dirty now...

    Whilst most definitely not an iFan, I do like the iPod, perhaps they should have revamped the turd that is iTunes to make it work properly on a Win PC?

    I'm all for shiny tech but when it's a market/brand as mature as iPod surely the support software should work properly?

    Paris, iTouch

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Welcome back useful shuffle

    Like another poster, my G2 shuffle was great until I managed to lose it. Good for mountain biking, buttons you can press without looking at the screen. I have a G5 nano now, you keep having to get it out to navigate around, and locking the controls before the mediocre guide kicks in. And whoever thought of having a shuffle mode which kicks in when you shake the device clearly never went for a run.

    I will get the new shuffle and relegate the nano to something plugged into the hifi. And before anyone says "buy someone elses", that someone elses had better work with linux. If there is one thing about the apple line, widespread support in both hardware and in open source OS integration.

  24. DB2k
    Jobs Horns

    3rd gen shuffle

    Come on the register - you've not used the 3rd gen shuffle have you?

    I agree its got drawbacks, but the single button use is not confusing at all - its actually quite intuitive. I'm not saying it's perfect or anything, but I fail to see how it's confusing. A monkey could work it.

    1. King Jack

      Karl Pilkington

      Is that the same monkey that piloted a space ship to the moon? Does the shuffle come with a banana dispenser?

  25. D@v3
    Thumb Down

    iPod classic

    I hope they don't let it die, to be replaced by 128gb iPod touches.

    I have a 16gb iPhone, used for a variety of things, including a little bit of 'walking into town' music. I also have one of the (slightly old now) 120gb iPod classic, with all my music, used in the car and a variety of other places where i might want all my tunes.

    I DO NOT want 2 iPod touches, one as a phone and one for music!!!!

  26. Kaemaril

    ipod nano

    Um ... multitouch is all well and good, but the screen on the new nano seems a bit of a step backwards size-wise. I prefer 240x376 to 240x240, even if there's more dpi.

  27. The Indomitable Gall

    Nano... apps?

    Will the Nano be open to app store developers?

    If people carry reference cards and "cheat sheets" on their iPhones, I'm sure there's a market for the same sort of apps on something so teeny....

  28. Gareth 18


    I can't help but think that half the Nano's features have been removed but yes the price remains the same.

    No video playback

    No video recording

    No games (the nano had access to a nice selection of clickwheel games from the iTunes Store)

    Its just music and podcasts on a screen that is impossibly small. Not really that impressed to be honest. I'm gonna pick up the current gen before they become completely unavailable.

    The AppleTV suffers from feature removal and downgrading too. No purchasing? No hard drive? Streaming only? And then the video format support is rather pathetic. MPEG3 at onlt 640x480!? Gone is its lovely selection of connectivity in exchanmge for just HDMI.

    1. cosmo the enlightened

      I think...

      that they removed the camera as it was probably squeezing the entry point into the Touch range.

      Perhaps people were buying the nano at that price point as it had record capability. Why spend more to get a touch?

      Now that it is gone fromt he nano range if you want record you move up models.. simple upsell technique.

  29. Doug Glass
    Paris Hilton

    HR Fluff and Stuff

    " — especially from all us stateside iPhone owners still lumbered with Cupertino's iPhone-exclusivity contract with AT&T. "

    So it was more important for you to have the device than an acceptable carrier? Cosmetics is therefore higher priority than function.

    Never trust anybody who puts form above function. Remember, the Hindenburg had great form, so did the Titanic, but function was a tad lacking in both cases.

    Paris because Paris exemplifies form over function.

  30. Kaemaril

    No video playback on 6th gen Nano?!

    Damnation, I totally missed that. Thank goodness I picked up a 5th gen a couple of weeks ago.

    Why not just call it a shuffle with a screen? People would be wetting themselves to praise it. As it is, this feels more like a huge backwards step.

  31. CD001

    You know you're getting old...

    ... when you see the first picture and think "Christ, that's a lot of packaging" :)

  32. stucs201
    Thumb Down

    Is the 'nano' actually a nano anymore?

    To me the nano was always a smaller version of a classic (especially true for the 3rd gen) for those who wanted something smaller or needed less space but didn't want to make the compromises which were needed for the really tiny size of a shuffle. This new one seems more of a 'deluxe shuffle' or 'shuffle touch' than a smaller iPod. Seems to me they had two designs for the shuffle and non for the nano, so decided to call the expensive design the nano and keep the other for the cost-concious.

    If they'd wanted to do a proper nano I think either (or both) of the following would have been better:

    1) Capacity bump to 32gig. This would then be a possible direct replacement for the older 30gig classics many people still have (though not called a classic back then).

    2) Shrink the 16gig version of the old touch, using the newer higher dpi screen technology to keep the same resolution in a smaller device.

    Still never mind, what I was really interested in was seeing if the classic would get a capacity bump to 240 (or even 320) so I can ditch mp3 and re-rip my CDs uncompressed.

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. Anonymous Cowardess

    Do the clips work?

    Where do I put my thumb when opening the clip? Looks like you only have very narrow space or you will be accidentally clicking the wheel (shuffle) or activate something on the touchscreen (nano). Or the thing will shoot from your fingers because your thumb is too much on the edge. I always thought the 2nd gen shuffle was rectangular for a reason. It's still the most pretty and mobile MP3 player IMO, shame it's so noisy.

  35. Code Monkey

    So much for the Nano

    My 2nd gen Nano is getting a little crashy and I was pondering a replacement. From my POV Apple's ruined it. So my choices are previous gen Nano or non-Apple. The latter's favourite.

  36. neverSteady

    Packaging from hell

    Well, if you going to sell an expensive toy, you may as well increase your environmental costs by having huge clear plastic boxes in which to hold the tiny plastic boxes.

    1. Marky W

      *bangs head on desk*

      It's a f*cking fashion accessory. It's all about looks and packaging. Love apple or hate them, they do both of those *very* well.

      Have you not seen the excess packaging on, say, perfume, jewely or watches?!?

  37. KeithSloan

    Where's the GPS on Touch?

    The Touch is not an iPhone without a contract. It does not have GPS. If the new touch had GPS and a good camera I would be getting one. As it is I will pass for at least another year. I want to be able to go on a walk take pictures at various places on the walk and then upload the details of the walk to the web. You can do this with iphone but not ipod touch. iPhone is too expensive and touch lacks decent camera and GPS

    Also Apple TV is disappointing its HD is only 720p. I brought a 1080 HD TV guess I will also pass for yet another year on that too.

  38. Paul RND*1000


    My wife's trusty, beat-to-blazes 1st gen Shuffle mysteriously disappeared a few days ago. I'm pretty sure she didn't know about the new iPod lineup though.

  39. Donald Atkinson


    Well if the touch gets to 128 Gb then they just need to upgrade the Classic to a 320 or 500 Gb drive. You know a useful size if you have a lossless library.

  40. Fenton

    Why have a dedicated MP3 player

    Because I can do without my MP3 player when the battery goes.

    But I can't do without the phone. Modern phones eat through their charge quick enough

    without me draining the battery when using the MP3 functionality

  41. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Your guess is wrong

    @Michael Jennings, a higher MP sensor is not thicker, it's just more expensive.

  42. OrsonX

    iPhone nano...

    ...what chance of one I wonder?

    Now that would be cool!

  43. Anonymous Coward


    A pedometer? Is it an instrument for pedophile to measure the distance to the nearest child?

    The grubby one with sweets in the pocket...

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Shuffle problems

    The headphone controls on my 4Gb Shuffle have died. So that means they can only give me a 2Gb replacement when I go into the Apple store tomorrow???

  45. B B Beyer

    But can it keep time?

    Retina display and video camera are all well and good, but have they fixed the clock on the new touch? My 2nd Gen. iPod touch can't keep time for s*** - it loses about 10 minutes a week. A £1.99 quartz watch from the garage would do better. And why do I have to tell it the time anyway, since it's connected to the internet by WiFi a good deal of the time (same goes goes for Nokia 6300 on 2G).

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