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The New iPod Nano with Multitouch Sucks – Here is Why?

Remember the 2nd Gen iPod Shuffle? The one with the actual, physical buttons? Of course you do. While it really wasn’t all that good as a dedicated MP3 player for most people, it did have one thing going for it that Apple butchered in the 3rd gen release: buttons. The 3rd gen had nothing but a lock-unlock slider and a headphone jack. Better looking? Maybe. Functionally better? Not at all.

Apple pulled another shuffle today at their Music Event with the new iPod Nano. Remember the older Nanos? The ones with click-wheels, tactile buttons and 2.5″ displays? All gone and replaced by a 1.5″ touchscreen. Now, from the outset, it might seem like having a touchscreen is a big plus. Touchscreens are the rage these days, but really; on a dedicated music player, touch screens just don’t cut it.

People use their MP3 players – mostly – while on-the-go. They listen to music while gardening, walking, jogging, running, cleaning the house etc. MP3 players need dedicated buttons so you can operate the thing without looking at it. You can’t do this with a touchscreen cause you have to look where to touch!

Also, with my entire thumb/finger covering the screen, how am I supposed to scroll through my music library without getting frustrated?

Despite all its magical features: the 1.5″ 220ppi capacitative multi-touch touchscreen, FM Radio, shake-to-shuffle, photo-viewing, a rocking new design and whatnot… the fact remains; the new Nano is fundamentally flawed as a dedicated MP3 player. This is just bad design. Apple needs to stop putting touch-input on every product.

Do you agree?



{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Hamad September 2, 2010, 5:05 am

    Waisybabu nails it

  • Stephen September 2, 2010, 10:02 am

    Depends on how the iPod Nano is controlled using the touch screen. If whilst playing music, the basic controls are gesture based, then it may actually be better than dedicated buttons. For example, tap or double tap anywhere on the screen for pause/play, swipe left to right for track skip, swipe right to left for back-track, swipe up/down for volume. Gestures wouldn’t necessarily require ‘feeling’ around to be sure of getting the right button as with dedicated physical controls, as the gesture can be anywhere on the surface of the screen. The only thing required would be perhaps to know that the orientation is correct, “which way is up” as it were, but then with a honking great jack plug sticking out of one corner, that shouldn’t be too difficult to come to grips with.

    If however the touch control requires actually positioning fingers on specific parts of the screen then I would probably tend to agree that it may be a retrograde step.

  • Sameed September 2, 2010, 2:44 pm

    Great article. Original.
    I totally agree. They should release a set of headphones with a touch-tracking bar or something, the bar functioning like the surface of the magic mouse. Swipes – track change, tap – pause & play, double tap – volume. Seeking? Uh…don’t know. Oh well. Such a thing may have a high manufacturing cost (for an accessory) anyway.

  • maxim September 5, 2010, 7:21 am

    Whether or not the touchscreen interface mode is acceptable is irrelevant, it’s whether or not it’s better than a button interface that matters. Otherwise it’s just a novelty, since buttons are cheaper. Of course, Apple could be seeing it as a way to get lower end users used to touch screens, encouraging them to upgrade later to an iPod Touch. Removing video playing and the camera would also push users in that direction. Of course, it may also push users towards other brands instead. Apple’s competitors are getting their act together more and more, after all.

  • Luka_CT September 7, 2010, 6:18 am

    There are only 2 words that can be said to this review….I AGREE!!!!!!!

  • sherry November 3, 2010, 8:36 pm

    I agree…for two reasons. Exercising and driving. You can’t forward/backward songs without stopping and looking. Physical buttons that you can push allow you to be on the move without stopping what you are doing and looking. Why not introduce this thing as a new product? Why take a product people love (old ipod nano) off the market and replace it with something completely different? Apple really dropped the ball on this one.

  • sige November 10, 2010, 1:02 pm

    ipod nano sucks ass, no video, no apps, and you CANT turn it off it can only go to sleep weere it wastes power dont buyit spring for something better.

  • mewrox99 November 30, 2010, 9:37 am

    it sucks

  • Tri December 6, 2010, 12:49 am

    I don’t like touch screens, I like having physical buttons. So I *completely* agree with this article. I’d like the old iPod nanos back… Maybe they’ll change their minds next year? Meh.

  • Nikhil Gupta December 29, 2010, 10:41 am

    Totally agree. Will NOT buy ipod which does not have hard buttons for play/pause next/previous.

    • Sirdunkalotz January 4, 2011, 8:36 pm

      then don’t buy it!!!

  • Sdmarvin February 4, 2011, 11:24 pm

    this is the 6th gen, not 3rd….stupid.

  • Jhgi February 5, 2011, 12:27 am

    The new nano isn’t actually as bad as you are saying it to be. The controls aren’t hard to use. The screen when on your song has a next button, a play button, and a previous button. You just have to watch out for turning on the screen too often ’cause that’ll drain the battery It has a clip so you don’t have to worry about looking at your iPod every 5 seconds to change the song; just click the little button on the top and press either of the three buttons. You get used to it.. Oh, and the shake-to-shuffle works great. I personally like this iPod because it’s like everything I need in an MP3 player. I don’t need the fancy video player, or apps, and all that other stuff… It does have photos and radio, though.

  • pastorlizp February 20, 2011, 2:17 am

    That’s not all that’s wrong with the new nano. Add to it that it is made for children’s hands and not adult hands, the power doesn’t charge through our car, and it’s just more complex to follow. It’s clear to me that the plan is to phase out the nano so that all people are force to purchase the more expensive models up, although those of us who like to work out with the nano and generally use it only for music find the more complex models unnecessary are obviously not Steve Jobs’ priority-but we built his business…

  • Pigeon666 March 30, 2011, 8:44 pm


  • QueenV February 22, 2012, 8:50 am

    I just bought one and am ready to fucking step on it under my shoe and CRUSH IT like a bug, which i would do it if wasn’t so freaking expensive! It does NOTHING like the directions suggest!

  • Truly a failure February 24, 2012, 5:56 am

    100% agree.  I’ve had this thing for a year now and hate it as much now as when I first got it.  Impossible to operate when running…and if your fingers are sweaty or moist from exercise, forget about operating this tiny touchscreen.  And no video? This thing is a disaster.

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