What made it best for me though, was that incredible click wheel. There are people that will probably be happy to see the venerable clickwheel go, but they're are superior to multi-touch screens in two significant ways.
- Pause/play, skip songs, without looking at the device.
- Fine tune volume without looking in a more elegant way.
While younger folks might not appreciate the second too much, for most of us, turning volume up and down with a knob seems more natural. Sure, that's a relic of potentiometers. Nevertheless, I find the circular motion of clickwheel volume far more granular and controllable than a series of buttons or onscreen controls.
Multi-Touch screens are great for some things. Yet I can't help thinking that Apple has gone a little overboard here. Some people argue that music collections are too big for the original iPod navigation system chickwheel support. There may be something to that, but I have never felt the replacement (I do have a 1G iPhone) music interface was better. In fact, I find that interface so awkward that I don't use the iPod functions on my iPhone at all.
That's probably the rub. I use the iPod as a music playback device only. While device convergence is inevitable and all the rage, the simplicity of clickwheel based iPods make them, in my eyes, superior music playback devices. Further, I think some of this has to due with how a person listens to music. For people that buy mostly singles and songs, features like shuffle and genius probably seem heaven sent. For many of us that import full albums from our CDs (hence being album oriented to begin with), those features aren't that compelling. I'm typically listening to full albums (occasionally skipping some songs). When I do listen to playlists, they're usually carefully crafted ones that I listen to in order. Like this:
|I Can't Quit You, Baby||Willie Dixon||I Am the Blues|
|I Can't Quit You Baby||Led Zeppelin||Led Zeppelin I|
|You Shook Me||Muddy Waters||Muddy Waters, Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues|
|You Shook Me||Led Zeppelin||Led Zeppelin I|
|19 Years Old||Muddy Waters||Hoochie Coochie Man|
|I Can't Quit You Baby||Led Zeppelin||BBC Sessions (Disc 1)|
|Killing Floor||Howlin' Wolf||Blues You Can Use|
|The Lemon Song||Led Zeppelin||Led Zeppelin II|
|Bring It On Home (Single)||Sonny Boy Williamson||His Best|
|Bring It On Home||Led Zeppelin||Led Zeppelin II|
|Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed||Blind Willie Johnson||Dark Was the Night|
|In My Time Of Dying||Led Zeppelin||Physical Graffiti (Disc 1)|
|In My Time Of Dying||Led Zeppelin||DVD (Disc 2)|
|When The Levee Breaks||Memphis Minnie||Queen Of The Blues|
|When The Levee Breaks||Led Zeppelin||IV|
As for dropping video on the nano (display and recording), I'm not too disappointed. I've never used the video capability on any of my iPods, and friends with 5th Generation model iPod nanos don't use the video recording capabilities on theirs. Those features have always fallen under the "I'm glad it can, but never use it" category for us. Other than using the world clock function on the rare occasions that I am traveling, my iPod only sees action in the music section of the menus.
I'm not alone in these concerns. Chris S. and Michael wrote very similar pieces in the OWC blog concerning the new nano's transition to screen based controls. The Register has a write up on all of the new iPods. Their comments on the iPod Classic are interesting. My second most used iPod is my 40GB pre-classic iPod, something that I would only replace with an iPod classic as opposed to an iPod touch.