Just in time for the holidays, new Apple iPods were unveiled yesterday. The most significant changes affect the iPod nano, which now comes with a video camera. Also new is an FM radio; other MP3 players have had this feature for years. Lastly, a pedometer feature keeps track of your steps. Design-wise, the nano looks pretty much the same; the screen is a little taller and the colors are a bit shinier. If you already own an iPod, is the new nano worth the upgrade?
Sure, the video-capture is cool, but if your cell phone already has this feature, do you need it in your iPod? The resolution is low, but fine for posting video to the web. Reviewers do like the FM radio; CNET's preview says it's "fairly spectacular."
The new nano's included microphone records sound for videos, but you can also use it to create voice recordings -- another feature that's been included in other brands' MP3 players for years.
PC World's Christopher Breen played around with the new nano for a PC World preview. In his brief time with the nano, he thought the camera looked "tacked on" but writes that your finger won't block the lens as you hold it. CNET's Donald Bell agrees that your hand is unlikely to block the camera, but could easily cover up the microphone.
What's our take? We'll wait until reviews are out to render a final judgment, but for now, the nano looks like a good deal, especially since the price for the 8GB model remains the same at $150. None of the added features -- the video camera, microphone, radio or pedometer -- are anything new, but taken together, they add a nice bit of new functionality to an already great music player. We'll update our report on MP3 players as more reviews appear on the web.