I just dashed out of
Apple’s music event
where Steve Jobs unveiled the iTunes-enabled ROKR mobile phone, the minty-thin
iPod nano, and an updated version of iTunes 5. I’m going to bang heavily on all of them in the near future, but before I do I thought I’d toss out a few tidbits I picked up after the event.
The ROKR and 100 Song Limit
Steve Jobs announced that the ROKR would play up to 100 tracks (including songs and podcasts), yet that figure doesn’t jibe with the size of a standard Flash memory chip. By Apple’s calculations, 100 songs takes up approximately 400MB of memory. Is someone producing a 400MB Flash chip now?
Nope. The phone includes a removable 512MB Flash memory chip (found under the battery in the back of the phone). This chip will hold up to 100 tracks but the number of songs it holds isn’t dependant strictly on the size of the chip (though it obviously can’t contain more than 512MB of data). Rather, the 100 track limitation is part of a DRM scheme that prevents the phone from playing more than 100 tracks.
iTunes 5 keeps track of the number of tracks authorized for playback on the phone so even if your 100 tracks have used only 350MB of the card’s capacity, you can’t add more. Similarly, although you can swap in a new card that contains new tracks, those tracks won’t play until they’ve been approved for playback by iTunes.
nano and Syncing
According to an Apple representative we spoke with, the new iPod nano can be charged over either a USB 2.0 or FireWire connection, but the nano will sync only over USB 2.0.
nano and Button Combinations
While my partner in crime, Dan Frakes, distracted a couple of Apple representatives, I did what I usually do with new iPods and mashed button combinations to see what the iPod nano would do. It turns out that it behaves exactly like any other click-wheel iPod.
To reset the nano you press and hold Select and Menu for about 6 seconds. Once you reset the nano, press Select and Play to throw the iPod into Disk Mode—similar to the Mac’s FireWire Target Disk Mode where the iPod is forced to mount on the Desktop.
After reset you enter Diagnostic Mode by pressing Select and Previous. Diagnostic Mode on the nano doesn’t reveal any great surprises—there’s no video test here, for example.
iTunes 5 and iPod nano Do Lyrics
Select a song in iTunes 5, choose File > Get Info and you’ll notice a new Lyrics tab in the resulting song information window. The other shoe is that the nano also provides a place for displaying lyrics. To access it, you move from one screen to the next by pressing the Select button in the currently playing song. The path to the Lyrics screen is Now Playing > Scrub > Album Artwork > Lyrics (press Select again to be taken to the Ratings screen).