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Apple, (s aapl) as it often does, once again last week changed the design of iPod nano, a music player that inspires debates and passions like none other. We all prefer one iPod nano design over the other. My favorite was the second generation nano, and I still carry it around. However, the sixth generation iPod nano became something of a cult favorite thanks to its square shape. It also inspired a cottage industry of sorts — accessories that turned it into a watch.
It all started when designer Scott Wilson created the Tik-Tok strap that essentially turned the square-shaped iPod nano into a watch. The success of the project also put a spotlight on Kickstarter and its use as a platform for creating gadgets. Nano watches became somewhat of an obsession for many in Silicon Valley. Apple, too, offered up many watch interfaces, which stoked the fires of imagination and a whole slew of products followed. Many even dreamed up scenarios where Apple ushered a new world of wearable computing. The release of the new seventh generation iPod nano now means curtains for the movement.
Last week when I had a chance to appear on John Gruber’s The Talk Show podcast, our conversation turned to watches in general, and iPod nano in specific. I made it clear in no uncertain terms that while I celebrated the ingenuity of folks such as Wilson who created marvelous products, I didn’t much care for the iPod nano watches themselves.
Actually I don’t really care for any digital watches. I am first and foremost, a lover of mechanical watches, lovingly crafted by hand and with meticulous care. And to be more specific, I love German-made watches, especially from some of the smaller brands. It is fairly easy to see time these days; from microwaves to mobile phones, time is always blinking at us only a glance away. For me, mechanical instruments of time are not just for telling time, but giving time a heartbeat.
Perhaps that is why you won’t find me crying over the loss of iPod nano watches due to the new design. However, there is an upside to the introduction of the new design: They are now out of production and hence a rare commodity, which means they can command a decent after-market price, much like limited edition time-pieces that see their demand increase in direct proportion with their rarity.
As for the seventh generation iPod nano itself, since it doesn’t have a network connection–
either WiFi or Bluetooth–I don’t find it very interesting. The new iPod Touch – now that is something to write home about.
Update: As a reader pointed out, iPod Nano does indeed have a Bluetooth connection and it makes is useful for music playback at the very least, but it is not that interesting to me. That said, error is regretted.