With all the eager anticipation surrounding Apple’s press event tomorrow, I’d like to stall the speculations with an ode to my absolute favourite Apple product (and a plea to upgrade it): the iPod nano.
I’ve been getting a little nervous recently. Apple is known for ruthlessly pushing forth and usurping much-loved older versions of its products with younger ones – it’s akin to that time Skins creators axed pretty much the entire cast of the first and second series without warning, outraging the entire young adult population across the world. Those new to Apple products might be drooling over the newest model’s features, but for more weathered fans who’ve grown attached to their favourites, replacement doesn’t go down well.
Case in point: while the company updated its iPod touch earlier on this year, it quietly murdered the classic model that changed the portable music world, as all traces of it were erased from its online store (RIP, clickwheel). I fear my beloved iPod nano could soon suffer the same fate, although I haven’t forgotten, of course, that it left its own wake of destruction in the form of the discontinued iPod mini.
It all started one Christmas back in 2005 at the tender age of 13: my very first music-player came in a sleek black box, complete with suede case and headphones. It was beautiful, all 2GB of it. Even with that aluminium back which attracted fingerprints like nobody’s business.
I remember when Apple ran its replacement program a few years ago. It was difficult to part with, but into the post went my trusty steed and I received a shiny, new, square-shaped iPod nano instead – and it was 8GB. Getting used to shaping my hand around it felt like learning to walk, but I managed eventually.
Between these 6th gen nanos and my original one were a host of others in a range of colours. The clickwheel was gradually phased out as touch-screens took over (much to my disgruntlement), but the iPod nano, in its various forms, remained a steady staple in Apple stores and in the hands of antisocial teenagers on buses across the country.
Apple finally released a 16GB model in 2008, but as of 2012’s 7th generation upgrade, there still isn’t a 32GB option. Now this is something which I’d love Apple to address, since 16GB just isn’t enough for a decade’s worth of iTunes library. Am I asking for too much?
Nowadays, it’s the iPhone that’s everywhere. I remember internally groaning when it was first released; I could see how this was going to go. It would ultimately merge together all the functions of different devices until it forced iPods into obsolescence.
If the iPhone is a Class A form of technology, then iPod nano is the gateway. Smartphone-phobic parents like mine can be assured that their child is listening to music or radio and ONLY these things, free from the potentially problematic WiFi connection of the iPod touch or the inevitable distractions of an iPhone. Life is so simple with iPod.
So here is my plea, on behalf of all the early-twenty-somethings like me (assuming I’m not alone in this), who haven’t succumbed to the omnipresence of the iPhone. We grew up with flip-phones and Bebo; nanos are part of that era. We want to stay loyal to the brand that defined the way we listened to music as teenagers; don’t force us to abandon it by neglecting and rejecting the best extant, albeit updated, product from those years.
But iPod nanos – and I suppose pre-2010 iPods in general – represent more than just functional nostalgia for me. They represent a time, which seems innocent now, before phones could do everything. A time when you would pick individual devices based on their merits; when if you lost your phone it didn’t also have to mean saying goodbye to every photo, video, conversation and song you’d ever accumulated. A time when my music player was simply that.
So Apple, if you’re listening: iPod nano is still much-loved. But if you could finally bump its memory up to 32GB, so much the better.
Main image: Pittaya Sroilong at Flickrcc