iPod Nano Gains Camera, Microphone and Speaker, Larger Screen

ipod_nanoSo it seems like case manufacturers were only half right when it came to their designs for new iPods. The iPod touch didn’t get a camera at today’s special “Rock and Roll” Apple event, but the iPod nano did.

Not only that, but it also got a built-in mic and speaker, which makes sense when you consider that people will be using it to record video. Yes, the camera it received is not just for stills, and is intended to position Apple’s svelte media player as a direct competitor with the Flip portable video recorder.

Video Camera

New nano owners will be able to record up to eight or 16 hours of video, depending on whether they opt for the 8 or 16GB version. You won’t have to squint quite as much to review your footage, either, thanks to the new 2.2-inch 240×376 pixel TFT display. Video will record at 640×480 pixels, at up to 30 FPS. It’ll be H.264 VGA formatted with AAC audio.

It’s not HD, but it’s also much smaller and cheaper than Flip’s HD offerings. Flip’s SD cameras offer similar quality to the new iPod nano, at the same price as the 4GB model, but without the media player functions, and with far, far less onboard storage.

Video can also be recorded with a variety of iSight-style special effects and filters, including Sepia, Motion Blur, Mirror, etc. Once synced with your Mac via iPhoto, it’s easy to share and publish your recordings to Facebook, MobileMe, and YouTube automatically, without any third-party conversion required.


Voice Recording and VoiceOver

Video isn’t the only new trick in the nano’s bag, either. It gains the VoiceOver functionality first introduced by necessity in the button-less and display-less iPod shuffle, and gets a Voice Recorder app like the iPhone and iPod touch.

FM Tuner and Tagging

There’s also a built-in FM tuner that not only allows you to listen to FM radio, but actually displays track and artist information for what you’re hearing. Plus, you can Live Pause, which if you have a PVR is like pausing, rewinding, and fast-forwarding live television, except with FM broadcasts. The iPod nano automatically stores up to 15 minutes of what you’re listening to for rewind purposes.

You can also tag tracks using the nano’s click wheel so that you can preview or buy them the next time you sync your device. Beware, though, the tagging feature is only available in the U.S. as of now, and only on stations that support it.


Finally, there’s a new built-in pedometer so you can track your daily steps. You can set a daily goal through the pedometer app, or just set it to “Always On.” No word on how this will affect battery life, but I can’t imagine it will help it.

The new iPod nano is available today in a variety of colors and in 8GB and 16GB formats, priced at $149 and $179 respectively. As of this writing, all models are showing a 24-hour shipping window. I’m definitely intrigued, but I think I’ll wait until reports of camera performance start to roll in.


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