First look: Fourth-generation iPod nano

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While older iPods allowed audio recording with the proper third-party dock-connector accessory, and the original iPod classic and the 3G iPod nano even supported stereo recording, the new nano (along with the updated iPod touch and iPod classic models) now supports audio recording using Apple’s new $29 Earphones with Remote and Mic. These earbuds, which look similar to the ones that ship with the iPhone, offer a control pod for volume and basic playback control, as well as a microphone. Plugging them in enables the iPod’s recording feature and lets you record voice memos without the need for a separate accessory.

On the other hand, the 4G iPod nano takes a step backwards when it comes to battery life. Although Apple estimates the same 24-hour audio playback as the 3G nano, video playback is estimated at 4 hours, compared to 5 with the previous model. We’ll be testing battery life as part of Macworld’s official review.

First impressions

Overall, the new iPod nano looks like a solid upgrade in most areas, despite slightly-shorter video-watching battery life (and, to some of us, a step backwards in shape). Perhaps most important—from Apple’s perspective, at least—the new design, with its thinner appearance, vertical screen, and more-vibrant colors, evokes perhaps the strongest “I want one now” response of any non-touchscreen iPod yet. Stay tuned for our official review, which we’ll post soon.

[Senior editor Dan Frakes reviews iPods and their accessories for Macworld.]

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