Evidently the most dramatic announcement of this month’s Apple event was the addition of video capability in the latest generation of the iPod nano. Think beyond music and photos; an iPod with video capturing and Gaming in it. A massive upgrade to Apple’s smallest-screened media player, adding very good video- and game-playing capabilities to the previously music and photo-only popular iPod nano. It achieves better than promised battery performance as well as nearly equivalent video and audio performance to the iPod classic, making better use of its smaller components. Though shape is different, and screen is bigger and more detailed. On the flip side volume is not dramatically increased over prior nanos though. Available in six colors and two storage capacities at very reasonable prices.
As a video camera, the new nano is remarkably good. It’s also extremely simple to operate and takes decent quality MPEG-4 video at VGA resolution (640×480) at a fluid 30 frames per second rate. The total bit rate of its movies is around 2,500 to 3,000, making the output files portable and compact, and well-suited for online use. Missing from its arsenal (for now?) is the ability to shoot stills; the nano’s camera captures video only. Also you don’t get the full range of video-editing features that you have on the iPhone 3GS. However, you still get a lovely range of fun video effects to choose from.
iPod nano Video Strengths:
Exceedingly wide-angle lens when you compare to pocket camcorders.
Cool 16 video effects to choose from.
Breathtakingly awesome Macro mode.
Small video-file sizes; makes it easy on the memory.
The latest nano is much more smaller than any pocket camcorder available in the market.
iPod nano Video Weaknesses:
Not so user-friendly and unconventional lens placement.
Shoots only videos; no still images.
Too bad low-light footage.
Video effects can only be applied before you shoot the video.
The audio recording quality is even better when you record video using the mic integrated into a pair of iPhone-style headphones. Note that the nano only ships with standard headphones lacking an integrated mic, however. Even using the nano’s built-in mic, audio is very decent and very usable for the casual applications one can expect of it.
You probably won’t want to use the iPod Nano’s tiny speaker as a boom box for listening to music, as it isn’t capable of producing very high fidelity music, but it can serve a functional way to share videos with friends without using headphones.
Like any tiny CCD camera, it takes the best shots in good lighting. Inside in dim lighting, shots get noisy and motion blur is a lot more evident. The video-capable Nano isn’t going to put Flip out of business, but it will dramatically expand the number of recording eyes out there in the hands of millions of iPod users. Given that the Nano’s video recording feature doesn’t cost any premium over the previous generation, Apple is effectively dumping millions of free video recorders into the market, something that may badly hit the emerging market for standalone video recorders.