Much to my shock and delight, the iPod nano I ordered arrived today!
I've only had it for two hours, but it is already one of my most favorite gadgets ever. It has the functionality of a full-sized iPod, but the portability and unobtrusiveness of the iPod shuffle. It is, without a doubt, the finest MP3 player I have yet owned or played with, and once again catapults Apple to the top... nothing else can touch it. It is a stunning display of both design and functionality that has me wishing that Apple would move into other markets. What I wouldn't give to have an iToaster.
The sound quality is stunning... about on par with my iPod shuffle, and slightly superior to my 2G full-size iPod. Unlike the competition I've tested, the volume gets plenty loud as well. The only downfall is that Apple continues to include these suck-ass earphones. I mean, for what they are, they sound okay... but the only way to go is to use in-ear phones. Fortunately, I've got a great pair that really maximize the quality that iPod is capable of.
The display, despite its tiny size, is remarkably crisp, clear, and easy to read. This means that the teeny, tiny little picture of the album artwork is recognizable enough to be useful. Also, the miniscule cards are readily discernible in the included Solitaire game, and the world clock (something I will use OFTEN) is just beautifully rendered. I don't know how they managed it, but the iPod nano is also capable of displaying your photographs, and easily syncs with iPhoto to make it happen. Another nicety is that it will sync with your address book and iCal calendar as well, so it is quickly becoming part-PDA as well as music device.
The iPod nano includes aforementioned crappy earphones, a dock adaptor (THAT DOESN'T FIT MY DOCK!!), a USB-2 connection cable, and a CD with drivers and outdated iTunes software. No FireWire cable is included, which sucks so much ass that I don't even know where to begin... FireWire is a standard that Apple championed, yet they f#@% over the Mac faithful by tossing USB-2 in the box? WTF? Only the most recent rounds of Macs even support USB-2! This means I have to transfer songs over painfully slow USB-1 on my Titanium PowerBook (which is where all my music is). The included adaptor looks like it is supposed to convert my old full-size iPod dock (which has FireWire) to work with nano, but it doesn't fit right... maybe my dock is too old? Oh well, if you just jam it in the dock without the adaptor, it works just fine, which is all I care about (you can, of course, use the cable alone as well). Still, lack of FireWire support out of the box is a notable f#@%-up in an otherwise miraculously perfect product... especially if you don't have a previous model to "steal" from. Okay, this f#@%ING SUCKS... the iPod nano doesn't support FireWire AT ALL! Even if you use an older cable with a FireWire connector. When you plug it in, it comes right up and tells you so. You can still use the dock... with a USB cable... but FireWire is entirely forbidden. This is STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!! If Steve Jobs was here, I would bitch-slap the shit out of him for such a dumbass move. First Apple puts FireWire on everything, then stops supporting it? Thanks a lot f#@%ers. Shit like this is what turns faithful Apple whores into vengeful Apple haters. I am very, VERY pissed. F#@% APPLE... F#@% THEM UP THEIR STUPID ASSES!!!
I've seen some people complain that there isn't enough storage, which is crazy given the size of this thing. 1000 songs at a time is more than enough for me, and I've got a full-sized iPod If I ever want to carry my entire library around. I suppose the extra space would be nice for photos, but I don't think people will be using iPod nano as a substitute for a photo album considering there's no video-out and the small screen makes sharing difficult.
SURPRISES: The iPod nano comes with a stopwatch (with lap timer!), which I didn't see in any of the press materials. The small click-wheel is even more comfortable than the larger wheel on my full-size iPod. The calendar is actually worth using.
DISAPPOINTMENTS: Other than the missing FireWire support, there's only one other quibble... lack of a lanyard so you can wear the thing. Sure there's a "combo" model coming out that integrates headphones into the lanyard, but they're the same crappy earphones Apple is using already. I want a lanyard that lets me use my own earphones. No doubt there will be one soon, but this is a good reason to hang on to your iPod shuffle until something is released.
All in all this is a mind-blowing product. If you don't own an iPod, there are no more excuses, because the iPod nano is practically perfect IF YOU HAVE USB-2. If you already do own an iPod, then this is probably an excuse to upgrade IF YOU HAVE USB-2. Highest possible recommendation IF YOU HAVE USB-2.