Some thoughts on the iPod nano

Apple released the iPod nano last week and having now seen the photos and read reviews of people who actually got it in their hands (and destroyed and dissected it), I've got some thoughts about it.I wasn't very impressed with the looks at first. One of the things that struck me was the proportions. It is narrower than the iPod mini it replaces, thus the scroll wheel is smaller and it just looked odd. Having said that, I have to admit it is growing on me. It is amazingly thin and looks more like a remote control rather than a player itself. This photo made my jaw drop, as to how small it really is. I personally think the black one looks really classy and sleek. A bit of a departure from the trademark pristine white and chrome look of all other iPods before (yes, I know about the black and red U2 special edition!). When the iPod mini came out, although I liked the size and colour anodized aluminium casing, it was the capacity that put me off. The iPod nano has the same 4GB capacity. While it has the looks, physical size and colour screen that blows the iPod mini out of the water, I think I would still want a full-sized iPod that carries my entire music collection. My current 2nd Gen 10GB one is still chugging along, but my music collection has far exceeded the capacity of the iPod and I occasionally get annoyed when I think of a song that I JUST have to hear, right there and then, and to find that it's not synched onto the iPod for lack of space. The other deal-breaker for me is the lack of Firewire in the iPod nano. It is USB 2.0 only. I sync my iPod with my Mac and it's an older one with only USB 1.1 ports, so it will take forever to fill up even 4GB. When the very first 5GB iPod came out, it only had a Firewire connection and the marketing spin was that over Firewire, even 5GB worth of songs could to be transferred in a matter of minutes, and subsequent syncs would take hardly any time at all. Apple was one of the co-creators of the Firewire standard and had been endorsing it fully, but of late, it's been drifting towards USB 2.0, even though in practical tests Firewire is still faster for sustained data transfers. How is it that now all new iPods (not just the nano) come with a USB cable instead of Firewire? I've some speculation to the iPod roadmap ahead. While the iPod shuffle has been a fair success, but now it seems to me it was created merely to test the waters for a flash-based iPod. First of all the shuffle was never a 'real' iPod in the sense it doesn't have a screen nor the scroll wheel, both hallmarks of the iPod which set it apart from the other MP3 players (oops, digital music players) in the market. I suspect the iPod shuffle won't be around for very much longer, instead, Apple might bring the price of the iPod nano down to the shuffle's entry-level $99 (perhaps a 1GB nano?) Also, there is still that huge gap between the high-end 4GB nano and low-end 20GB HDD-based iPod. Perhaps another 8GB iPod nano is forthcoming at the current price point of the 4GB one? I also will go out on a limb and suggest that they took the iPod mini off altogether and replaced it with the nano, so they could have time to rework the mini form-factor and somehow squeeze the existing 'big' iPods to that size. I wonder what's the largest capacity Microdrive is at the moment? Then there's that big gap between the two remaining iPods, which makes it a tough choice since I'd be keen to get one of those. 20GB seems just right for what I need right now but without much room to grow, and 60GB seems like overkill. A 40GB iPod with colour screen would be perfect for me. But then again... I saw the iPod nano TV ad today and damn... doesn't it look sweet! Oh, and the TuneWallet nano case to go with it too...