Review: iPod nano and iPod touch

I’ve been using an iPod since October 2001 when Apple first introduced the product that “puts 1,000 songs in your pocket.” We’ve come a long way since then, but one thing that hasn’t changed is my love for the iPod.

My favorite iPod of all time was the first generation nano that you could use with a lanyard. I wore that everywhere I went for years. It was the perfect size and with the lanyard it was always around my neck.

The new iPod nano reminds me a lot of that first generation model, albeit with better design and technology. The iPod nano literally fits in the palm of my hand — it’s really tiny, but since the large screen takes up almost the entire face of the device, it’s very easy to navigate and use.

The first thing you will notice about the nano is the funky new interface. The icons are circular and colorful, so they’re different from those on the iPod touch. I like them. They give the nano a fun feeling and people will immediately understand what each icon does.

Simplicity is a very important feature with a product like the nano that will end up in the hands of everyone from kids to grandparents. That’s not because people wouldn’t be able to figure it out, but because the nano does one thing and it does it extremely well — it plays your content. It should be easy.

Each icon on the nano is about the exact size of my thumbprint, so it’s just perfect. After tapping on an icon, you navigate through the iPod using left and right swipes on the screen. It’s really pretty simple.

There is also a Home button that will take you back to the home screen at any time, which will be familiar to anyone with an iPod touch or iPhone. There is also an On/Off button on the top of the nano.

The Volume buttons on the left side of nano also allow you to Play/Pause the music by pressing in the center of the buttons. Apple effectively added another button on the device, but they were very clever in doing it. I really like that button because it means I don’t have to wake the nano if I need to quickly pause the music — I just press that center button.

I don’t put videos or photos on my iPod, but you can if you want. I use my iPod nano for music, so I sync as much of my favorite music as I can and go. Currently I have 1,257 songs or 125 albums on the nano and I still have 7.2GB free.

If you have Bluetooth headphones or have a car that is Bluetooth-enabled, the nano has got you covered. With Bluetooth 4.0 built-in, the nano will let you do away with all the wires and still give you access to your music.

I already know that this iPod nano is destined to be one of my favorite devices ever.

The iPod touch

I was shocked when I unpacked the iPod touch — it actually makes the iPhone 5 look big, and that’s saying something since it’s one of the smallest devices on the market.

The iPod touch shares a lot of features with the iPhone 5 including the great screen. From the minute you turn on the touch, it is familiar. That’s because it also runs iOS 6, the same operating system that powers the iPhone 5.

The iPod touch comes with FaceTime, Maps, Passbook, App Store, iTunes Store, Notes, Reminders, Game Center and access to more than 700,000 apps that can be downloaded with your Apple ID — 175,000 of those are games and entertainment titles.

Of course, the iPod touch can play video too and with iTunes you have access to 190,000 TV episodes and 45,000 movies. You can also get 1.5 million books and more than 26 million songs. That’s a lot of content.

For me, the best thing on the iPod touch is iCloud. I have all of my music in the cloud now using iTunes Match and I like to have access to it on my devices. All I need is a Wi-Fi connection and I can download any of my songs or albums from iCloud anytime I want.

iCloud also syncs all of my other data from my iPhone, iPad and Macs with the iPod touch, so I can check email, look at my Notes, Reminders, Calendars or Contacts should the need arise.

Even though I have those options, I still try to use the iPod touch as a consumption device. Of course, my music is the most important thing, but I do put some videos and movies on the touch as well. The larger screen makes it very easy to watch something when I’m away from the TV.

One place the iPod touch excels is in the gaming market. I’m not much of a gamer anymore, but I still like to race every now and then and the touch ensures I don’t need a separate device.

I think that’s the real power of the new iPod touch — it really excels at everything. Music, movies, video, iCloud, gaming, surfing the Web, email. It just does it all and it does it all very well.

For Apple, the iPod touch is the perfect stepping stone for people to move up to the iPhone when they are ready. The devices are similar in so many ways. They get you hooked and keep you for life.

Bottom line

The iPod nano and iPod touch are the most significant updates Apple has released to this product line in years. The competition just doesn’t have a chance.