It's been just over a week since we ran a smash-and-grab at Apple's unveiling of its newest entries to the iPod family, the nano 4G and touch 2G. The devices, both set along an evolutionary (rather than revolutionary) path have certainly been nipped, tucked, and updated -- but we wanted to know if they'd been improved at all. For the nano, we've seen some iteration of the same device for years now, leaving questions as to how much further you can take a low-end music player, while the touch is another story completely; a handheld which treads that ever-thinning line between entertainment device and micro-computer. Do either of these products hit their marks, or has Apple overextended itself in its pursuit of market saturation? Keep reading to find out.
It was just about a year ago that we saw a real ramp-up of an increasing trend with Apple: a dead-on leaked photo of an unannounced product. In August of 2007, we caught a glimpse of a short, fat, and let's be honest... ugly little MP3 player that the rumoratti claimed was the redesigned iPod nano. What was probably more surprising than knowing that somehow Apple had let the leak slip past its all-seeing eye was the fact that the company had actually taken the design in this direction. While one division appeared to be asleep at the wheel, another was cranking on high -- around the same time, Apple released the first generation touch to the world, thus heralding a completely new direction in iPods for the company, and significantly impacting our perception of what a music / video player can and can't (or should and shouldn't) do.
A lot has happened in the past year; Apple trotted out the MacBook Air, launched (with a few stumbles) the enormously successful trifecta of the App Store, iPhone 3G and MobileMe, the company lost (then found) its relationship with NBC, and battled rumors about Steve Jobs' health (as well as his mistakenly reported death). In the midst of this flurry, can the company still pull off a relevant iPod, and does the touch have any more ground to gain?
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