Yesterday Apple unveiled the latest versions of its iPod, declaring the most dramatic changes in the product's history.
Apple's most popular iPod received a new streamlined design. The flat back makes it more stable when playing games on a table, and the edge-to-edge glass covers the same bright, crystal-clear display found on the iPhone 4. It also includes a forward-facing camera for video chat and a rear-facing camera for pictures and HD video.
The iPod's video capabilities are particularly compelling. You can video chat with friends or family over the internet, which is a great option when on a road trip or away at college. You can also have a friend or family member capture your game highlights with the HD video recorder, and then edit and share the video right from your iPod.
The increased speed and battery life will keep you listening to music for 40 hours and watching movies or playing games for seven hours, which is sufficient for any long bus or plane ride.
On the downside, due to the iPod Touch's ultra-slim profile, Apple included a less-than-spectacular camera. Although sufficient for capturing a quick picture if needed, the Touch's primary use should be for video recording, and you'll want to rely on a digital camera for still pictures.
The Nano received the most drastic change by losing its click-wheel, which has been a trademark of iPod since its launch in 2001. It now is dominated by a 1.5-inch display that includes the touch features found on its larger cousin.
Apple kept its physically active users in mind by including Nike+ integration and a pedometer, so you can track your workouts. It also has a built-in clip, so you can put it on your belt or shirt when working out. Voice controls, Genius Playlist, 24 hours of audio playback and a FM radio round out the feature set.
Unfortunately, the new Nano loses some of the functionality of the old Nano. It no longer includes a camera or stopwatch application, and you are unable to watch videos or play iPod games.
Last year, Apple included no buttons on the Shuffle, opting instead for voice controls. The new Shuffle has both, for increased functionality. You can quickly change songs or volume with the buttons, or dive in deeper to select a playlist, artist or song via voice control.
The shuffle has advantages and disadvantages. It is small and light, making it a great option to satisfy your workout music cravings. However, it lacks the storage and features found in other MP3 players.
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