Cranky nano notes

by Derrick Story

If you read my previous post, you know that I'm pretty impressed with the iPod nano. Yet, I've read comments by others citing various nits about Apple's diminutive music player. I thought I'd pull those gripes together here and list them in the top ten format (starting with #1 instead of #10 because I don't know how to use the ol tag in reverse).

  1. I no longer have a place to store my change in my jeans. This is troublesome. I used to keep my nickels and dimes in that little pocket on the right side. But now that area has been "Steved." Yes, the nano fits perfectly there. And my change... well, I'm using the back pocket these days. Who cares if I sit on a bunch of pennies.

  2. The nano doesn't come with a charger. Yup, no charger. When I don't have it plugged into my PowerBook, I'm using the USB port on the AirPort Express to charge the nano. I also like the Griffin PowerJolt in the car. Some people have commented you can use any USB charger. But I'd be a little cautious. I hate the smell of smoking circuits.

  3. Ack, USB only! I want FireWire too. I know... we like FireWire because it's the hometown favorite, and because we don't have USB 2 on our older computers. But you can use the nano with USB 1.1. Not as fast. Not as cool. But definitely serviceable.

  4. White earbuds with a black nano. I feel so mismatched. But the black nano is usually in my pocket... Besides, black earbuds are so, well, Sony.

  5. I can't register my nano. As of 9-12-05 at 10pm, neither can I.

  6. It's too small! Well it is called the nano. And even though its small, it's tough. Check out this great review over at ars technica. They even ran over it with a car. (Do you think Steve cringed even though he was miles away?)

  7. The camera connector doesn't work with the nano. Ah, well, actually this is my carp. And even though the nano holds less than 4 GBs, I'd love to be able to back up my 1 GB card in a pinch. Can we fix this with a firmware update?

  8. The screen is too small for photos. A 1.5" screen isn't that much smaller than what we used to have on digital cameras. Granted, it's not so hot for displaying distant landscapes, but not too bad for tightly cropped portraits. Personally, I like having the photo option on this device. But what I like even more is the beautiful color LCD.

  9. I don't know what to do with the dock adaptor that came with it. Neither do I. But apparently Apple does. Hang on to it for now. You'll probably need it some day.

  10. Why is the earbud jack on the bottom? Look at it this way, when you hang it around your neck with the lanyard headphones, you have a much cleaner look that if the jack was on top. In other words, I don't really know why it's there either.

I promise, this will be my last nano post for a while. That is, unless I figure out how to register it, upload pictures directly, find a use for the dock adaptor, or solve the fashion dilemma created by the white earbuds...


2005-09-13 01:25:48
Nano first impressions
Hi Derrick,

I think the nano is a slick beast. Definitely a want to have.

But, my first experience using it was not very cool and revealed something that I would never have thought possible from an Apple product: User Interface issues.

The user interface sometimes seems to be a little bit lacking in responsiveness.

The coolest new thing the iPod nano has is its code lock. So I wanted to try it out. I set a code, locked the iPod and opened it again - all the while enjoying the coolness of the idea. Then, I wanted to reset the code, so that the owner of the iPod in question would not have trouble using it. Not finding a menu entry that does tha, I assumed that you simply return the code to 0000 and it will be reset. So I went to the proper menu and set the first digit to zero, moved on to the second. While setting the second digit, I made a mistake so that the UI progressed to the next digit before I had reset the second one. In order to get back to the second digit, I assumed you simply progress to the last and it will then rotate back to the first. So, when I reached the last digit I pressed the button and nothing happened. I pressed it again and still nothing happend. When I pressed it the third time, two screens flicked past, one with the code lock menu and the second with the code lock warning and suddenly the iPod was locked and I didn't know the code.

It was mighty embarrassing. Here I was, the great tech wiz, having accidentally locked another person's iPod nano and didn't know the code...

Clearly that is a major user interface design flaw, even if not many people are likely to run into it.



2005-09-13 04:28:21
Camera Connector Requires FireWire
My theory is that the camera connector requires a FireWire connection to work. As the Nano does not appear to contain a FireWire controller chip I don't think any firmware update will help...
2005-09-13 05:05:53
Well . . . .
Firstly, no, you really don't want to use it with USB 1.1. I'm an employee at an Apple Store, and I have seen more then my fair share of HDD iPods come to me broken because it was used with USB 1.1. It was the sort of thing that would work sporadically, then stop working later, possibly taking the iPod with it. That was what Apple meant when they said, "not supported."

Now, according to Apple, USB 1.1 is only supported for charging for the nano, I would not risk my beautiful new nano to the horrors of USB 1.1 if I were you.

Also, the head phoen jack is at the bottom, because that is the only place where it woudl fit. Check out the japanese dissection of one, the LCD screen takes up pretty much all of the room at the top.

2005-09-13 05:30:06
Nano first impressions
It's in the keynote presentation. Jobs describes exactly your situation. Reconnect it to the Mac/PC, the lock resets itself.
2005-09-13 07:19:35
RE: Well . . . .
Oh, don't worry, I won't use it with USB 1.1. I'm lucky enough to have a newer Mac, so that isn't an issue for me.

That being said, the Apple tech specs say, "Macintosh computer with USB port (USB 2.0 recommended)." And my understanding of USB 2.0 is that it's backwards compatible with 1.1. Generally speaking, all you give up is performance.

So I'm a little surprised that you say we're actually risking our 2.0 device by plugging it into a 1.1 host. Can you give us a little more information about why?

And thanks for your post...

2005-09-13 07:21:36
RE: Camera Connector Requires FireWire
That's a good point, but I sure hope you're wrong :) Because if you're correct, that would shatter my illusion that someday I could use the camera connector with the nano...
2005-09-13 07:24:52
RE: Nano first impressions
Yes, exactly. But it has to be the host computer that the nano uses for exchanging its music. Then you can "unlock" it.

And look at the bright side... you already have a funny nano story to share :)

2005-09-13 19:29:54
Headphones jack on the bottom
I like the jack being on the bottom. When I hold it, I don't have the cable falling in front or in back resting on my hand.
2005-09-14 01:35:59
Headphones jack on the bottom
if it wasn't on the bottom, you wouldn't be able to hold the Nano in a natural way when it is attached to the neck lanyard... like this:


2005-09-30 12:24:00
Nano Sleeves for iPOd Nano
Found one on leather, a couple of friends got them already, they are sleek, arent bulky and big. Company is "Das Blau", their website at isnt up yet though. :-(
2005-10-20 04:37:07
RE: Camera Connector Requires FireWire
Sorry to dredge this up from the past but the new 5G (iPod with Video) iPods blow my theory out of the water. Ars have taken one to bits and a lot of the internals are the same as the Nano. The new iPod does not support FireWire, but does support the Camera Connector.

Keep on wishing?

2005-10-20 05:12:22
RE: Camera Connector Requires FireWire
Yes, I've had some side conversations about this, and it appears, as you say, that FireWire is not the issue, but that some other chipset or firmware is. My gut feeling is that we're not going to see this functionality on the nano... alas.

2006-03-15 06:16:24
how to settle when my apple nano is hanging..?