Not that it isn’t newsworthy whenever Apple releases a new iPod—particularly when the company teams up with U2’s Bono and some of the profits generated by the iPod in question are getting donated to The Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. But from a technical standpoint, there’s not much to say about the red iPod nano announced by Apple Friday that wasn’t said when Apple refreshed its nano line just about a month ago. This red nano sports exactly the same features and capabilities as the rest of the second-generation 4GB nanos, right down to the scratch-resistant aluminum shell. For an idea of how the red nano might perform, you’d be well-served by giving Christopher Breen’s review of the latest iPod nanos a second read.
But just because there’s nothing out of the ordinary about this bright red iPod nano doesn’t mean there aren’t a few random thoughts rattling around my brain. I’ll share those now, in bullety form:
• The iPod nano represents Apple’s participation in the Global Fund’s Product Red initiative, in which companies commit some of the profits from selected consumer goods to assist the charity’s efforts in battling AIDS. My colleague Jim Dalrymple reminds me that Apple isn’t the only company unveiling its involvement today. Motorola is making Red versions of its Razr and Slvr handsets. Converse and Gap announced Red offerings as well.
• About that name… according to Apple’s Web site, the official name of this music player is the iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition. That kind of looks like there was an explosion down at the typography factory—if it’s all the same to everybody, I think I’ll just call it the red iPod nano.
And if that’s too drab for you, consider the name that Editorial Director Jason Snell and Macworld Executive Editor Dan Miller were kicking around earlier: Bono’s nano rojo (not available in mono).
• Apple has slapped a “special edition” label on this nano, but by all indications, this is a permanent addition to the nano line. An Apple spokesperson told the aforementioned Mr. Dalrymple that Apple plans to make “as many as customers demand,” which, when you think about it, is true of most any product. In other words, doesn’t seem to be any “for a limited time only” air about this product—at least as far as I can tell from perusing Apple’s Web site.
And when you think about it, the iPod is just about the perfect product to include in a program like Product Red. The iPod is something with almost universal appeal, where an eye-catching new color is something where even existing owners might give it a second look. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprise to see special edition full-sized iPods or even shuffles offered as part of future fund-raisers—either for the Global Fund or for another worthy charity. It seems like a better idea than the long-forgotten Madonna iPod.
That said about the iPod’s suitability for this project, am I the only person who’s the least bit intrigued by the thought of an all-red MacBook? Probably.
• As anyone who’s spent any amount of time following Apple knows, the company makes its product pronouncements when it’s darn good and ready and not a moment earlier. If you’ve ever wondered who’s got enough pull to pre-announce an Apple product without facing the wrath of Cupertino, the answer is apparently Bono and Oprah Winfrey. The two of them took the wraps off the red nano on Thursday while taping an installment of Oprah —about 18 hours before Apple put out its press release. (I’m not sure when the episode aired, but news outlets like the Chicago Tribune were on hand to spill the beans early.) Presumably, neither Bono nor Oprah had an angry voice mail from Steve Jobs waiting for them after they finished taping the show.