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One of our favorite accessories for Apple's second-generation (2G) iPod shuffle is Incipio's IncipioBud, a tiny -- and inexpensive -- adapter that lets you plug the 2G shuffle directly into a USB port for charging and syncing. The company has since released a second such adapter, the IncipioHitch, for the second-generation (2G) iPod nano. The main part of the 'Hitch is a small dock cradle (shown in the picture above) into which your 2G nano slides; you then connect the USB plug on the bottom of the 'Hitch to a USB port on your computer to charge your nano and to sync it with iTunes. The nano and Hitch together are light enough that this doesn't put much strain on your USB port, and in my testing, the USB 2.0 'Hitch worked as expected for both syncing and charging.
As with the 'Bud, the 'Hitch is effectively limited to use with easily-accessible USB ports -- for example, those on a laptop or those on the front of a desktop computer. And given that the nano includes Apple's dock-connector cable, the target market for the 'Hitch, like the 'Bud, seems to be laptop users looking for a compact on-the-go syncing/charging solution. But the downside of the 'Hitch compared to the 'Bud is that the iPod nano is much larger than the 2G shuffle, so plugging the 'Hitch into a USB port on, say, a laptop may block adjoining ports. So Incipio includes a "repositioning USB arm" -- basically a USB port extender. This rigid extender is the width of a standard USB plug and has a 2.5-inch arm with a USB port on top for inserting the 'Hitch itself. When connected to a horizontally-oriented USB port, the 'Hitch and nano sit upright; however, with vertically-oriented USB ports, the setup feels a bit precarious.
Although more expensive than the 'Bud, at $15 the 'Hitch is still less expensive than buying a second dock-connector cable from Apple, and is both smaller and easier to pack than yet another long cable. However, it's not alone in this category of accessories. For example, Fruitshop's $14 Bone iLink is a 2.5-inch dock-connector-to-USB cable that's even smaller than the 'Hitch and works with all dockable iPods. I prefer the iLink for on-the-go use, although the IncipioHitch's rigid design may be preferable for use with a desktop computer where your iPod will be "hanging" off the USB port.--Dan Frakes
Compact USB dock-connector adapter for second-generation iPod nano.