When Apple released the new, miniature sized iPod Nano last year, a lot of people scratched their head wondering what on Earth was going on. We're used to products being improved from one generation to the other, so going from an iPod with both a video camera and a nice (for video) 240 x 376 screen to a tiny square MP3 player with no camera and no video support made many people think that Apple had lost it.
The story of the new Nano took a rather surprising turn, though, when people started strapping them to their hands and using them as watches. Before too long, every case manufacturer out there had released a wristband strap for the Nano. When Apple announced a software update for the Nano on Tuesday, new clockfaces were one of very few upgrades to the player. Apple seems to have accidentally invented a watch with this iteration of the Nano, but is there really an attraction with using an MP3 player as a wristwatch?
The first few armband cases that were available for the Nano were pretty simple – and many still are. A silicone wristband with some way of holding the Nano is all many people need, but some premium variants quickly appeared. It makes sense, really – if you pay that much for an MP3 player to use as a wristwatch, you'd likely want it to look and feel nice. My personal favorite is a pair of clock bands for the Nano that started out as a Kickstarter project, got an amazing 63 times as much funding as their goal, and was even shown in Apple's presentation on Tuesday: The LunaTik and TikTok. The quality and look of those watchbands immediately turned my feeling towards the concept from "seriously?" to "oh, nice". The review below is from YouTube and shows off both these two watchbands with the Nano in them.
The updated Nano now has a total of 18 clockfaces to go with these armbands, ranging from traditional analog clocks to digital ones. There's even a Mockey Mouse clockface, which is certain to bring back memories for a lot of people.
Even with nice armbands and more clockfaces, though, it's hard to ignore the fact that this is a very huge, somewhat expensive watch – and with a battery life that isn't exactly measured in months. That being said, it is after all an iPod first and foremost, so you're not paying all that money for just a watch (and watches aren't cheap either). The built-in workout features of the Nano makes it a rather nice training accessory as well, and the wristband is a nice accessory for that type of use in itself.
The biggest issue I have with this concept as it stands now is the lack of Bluetooth in the Nano. Having it be wireless makes a ton of sense when wearing it on your wrist, even though that will affect sound quality. There are of course Bluetooth dongles available as accessories – like this one – but those inceease the size of the already huge watch even more.
I've also previously expressed my disappointment that Apple didn't turn the Nano into an iOS version of the Sony Ericsson LiveView when they updated it on Tuesday. I would buy the Nano and a watchband in a second if I could connect it to my iPad or iPhone (or both) and use it for media controls, to see text messages and caller ID, and so on. The technology is there, so I just think it's a wasted opportunity to not tie these products together.
So, what do you guys think about this? Would you pay $130+ for an iPod nano and then another $40+ for something like the TikTok in order to carry an iPod Nano as a wristwatch? Would you be more likely to shell out the money if the Nano was more like the LiveView? Let us know in the comments!