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Behind The Development Of The iPod nano 502

Posted by Zonk
from the teeny-tiny-product dept.
bonch writes "A Time Magazine article on the behind-the-scenes development of the iPod nano reveals that development work began just nine months ago, when the iPod mini was still a top-seller. Every internal component was redesigned and packed into every millimeter of the space inside. Famed Apple designer Jonathan Ives spent months on the tiniest of details, like the laser-etching of the logo and the roughness of the clickwheel compared to the smoothness of the rest of the exterior. 'I know you're not going to consciously find these details particularly appealing," says Ives, 'but I think it's the fact that we've worried about all of them that makes the product so precious.'"
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Behind The Development Of The iPod nano

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  • It's IVE, not IVES (Score:5, Informative)

    by aixou (756713) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:57PM (#13551964)
    The name is Jonathan Ive, without an "s". Sheesh. It's even spelled correctly in the article. ::sigh::
  • Just so you know... (Score:5, Informative)

    by wtmcgee (113309) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:59PM (#13551980) Homepage
    it's Jonathan Ive [wikipedia.org], not Ives.
  • Print Ready (Score:1, Informative)

    by LTC_Kilgore (889217) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:59PM (#13551983)
    All on one page [time.com]

    PS: I know I'm a karma whore.
  • Re:So... (Score:2, Informative)

    by E-Rock (84950) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @07:02PM (#13552014) Homepage
    The reported battery life is 14 hours.
  • Too expensive? (Score:5, Informative)

    by nra1871 (836627) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @07:12PM (#13552123)
    I really don't get why everyone is saying the nano is too pricey. A 4GB flashdrive goes for $250-300 on Froogle (I'm sure there's some geekier place to check, but whatever). So basically with the nano you pay for the flash memory, and get the music part free. I also see a lot of complaining that the nano is worse than the mini because it doesn't have the same GB/$ ratio. I know it's unnerdy and wrong, but I would rather have the nano, which I can wear on a lanyard, and the durability of the flash over the hard drive. I'm seriously thinking of selling my 3G 20GB and picking one of these up.
  • Re:Two guarantees. (Score:2, Informative)

    by sexyrexy (793497) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @07:12PM (#13552124)
    1. It is both efficient and sturdy. In addition to reading online reviews, I've been using my own for just over 24 hours now and it is fantastic. Did you not read the last Slashdot post [slashdot.org] on its durability testing? I'd call withstanding being hurled out the window of a moving car at 50mph, then run over twice and still playing fine pretty sturdy. Yes, it looks and feels very fragile at first, but slipped into one of those rubber sheaths and it's almost indestructable.

    It costs 199 or 249 - for a flash-based player with that much capacity, it is a very reasonable price. And remember, you aren't just paying for the technology, but the unparalleled industrial design genius that has been poured into the iPod. Its interface is, after all, the standard against which all others are judged.
  • Re:Engineers @ work (Score:5, Informative)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @07:12PM (#13552125) Homepage Journal
    What's BFH again?

    BFH has the specific meaning of Big F***ing Hammer among engineers. Always has, always will. An engineer without his BFH is as lost as a chemist without his CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.

    "What? No CRC Handbook? Must be an E-winger."

  • by stonedonkey (416096) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @07:18PM (#13552171)
    ...Because it implies an all-new generation of technology, when the truth is that most of its internals are silicon that Apple just hasn't used for its iPods but has been used extensively elsewhere, as Ars Technica noted in their review posted here yesterday. This isn't a bad thing, of course, it's just kind of lazy journalism, IMO.

    From the review [arstechnica.com]: "Most of the other components are run of the mill as far as iPods go. The heart of the iPod, the PortalPlayer chip, was upgraded to a slightly newer model (the PP5021C-TDF), the audio codec is the same Wolfson Microprocessor (WM8975G) found in the current generation iPods, a new power management unit by Phillips (CF50607), a batch of 32MB of Samsung SDRAM (534-K9WAG08U1M) replaces the old Hynix chips, and the LCD is of unknown manufacturer but it's a 16-bit color, 176x132 1.5" model."
  • Re:Ipods and linux (Score:2, Informative)

    by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @07:30PM (#13552267) Homepage
    Yes, iPods can be accessed as a normal drive. Either HFS or Fat32. The only drawback is that they won't play music that is copied to them normally. You have to use a proper sync utility, or else copy the files manually into an annoying hidden folder in a very funky way. When the songs are synch'd to an iPod, they are given new file names which act as a unique ID, and some metadata files are updated with the playlist info.

    My understanding is that you can boot from an iPod if your system supports booting from USB (or firewire, dependin on the model...) but this prevents booting the iPod itself in Linux, because you can't make a boot loader that will boot either a PC or the iPod itself.

    I wonder if they have improved the access to the display on the nanos. I have doom on my iPod photo, but it runs very slowly. From what I understand, the iPod is fairly powerful (two 80 MHz ARM's, or something like that, which should be enough for very low res Doom), but the access to the LCD is just ot designed for intensive video, so it involves a lot of overhead. I haven't yet bothered to adequately educate myself on this, though.
  • Re:Ipods and linux (Score:5, Informative)

    by i_should_be_working (720372) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @07:35PM (#13552308)
    I'm in the same boat as you. After the nano came out I'm considering one for the first time ever. So I borrowed my flatmate's to see how well it does with Linux/Gnome/Rhythmbox.

    Flawlessly.

    As soon as I plugged it in, an ipod shaped icon showed up on the desktop through which I could browse the thing. You can see everything on the ipod just through browing with Nautilus, or whatever your file browser is, but the songs are in some non-sensical folder structure. It's easier to use Rhythmbox. So I Open up Rhythmbox and click on the Ipod icon that had just showed up in the sources list and was able to browse the songs. Copied some songs from the Ipod to my computer by just dragging the song from Rhythmbox to my desktop, which I believe you can't do in itunes.

    This was with Gnome 2.12, Rhythmbox 0.9, Ubuntu Breezy.
  • by m33p (635261) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @08:01PM (#13552540)
    My experience with the Nano hasn't been quite so good. I drove out to the local Apple Store several hours after they got their first shipment and came home with a 4G Nano in black. I opened it in the store, it powered up, but didn't have any songs pre-loaded, so I stuck it in my pocket and drove home.

    When I got home, I was surprised to discover two things:

    1. Just riding for an hour in my pocket with my cell phone scratched up the gorgeous clear plastic front.

    2. The unit failed to power up reliably once I got home. I was able to hard-reset it a few times to gain limited functionality, and then it died completely.

    I drove back to the store the following day, the techs there prounced it dead (after waiting for 45 minutes, grrr...) but they were out of the 4G black model. Not happy to settle for white or two gigs, I just got a refund.

    I may, or may not, try again in the future. It sure is one sexy little toy, and it might still function after being run over by a car, but a screen that scratches so easily is completely unacceptable.

    -p.
  • by commonchaos (309500) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @08:06PM (#13552584) Homepage Journal
    Create Gapless CD's and AAC Files with iTunes 4.9 [wanderingfocus.com]

    "Copy a CD (with live material, for example) to a single AAC file w/ embedded Track info for duplication with iTunes or listening truely gapless on a modern iPod."

    Is this something close to what you want?

  • by hawx54 (858674) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @08:18PM (#13552680)
    It's called a nano Tube. [apple.com]
  • by mr i want to go home (610257) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @09:40PM (#13553266)
    You will be only using your fingers if you have a huge huge hand - to reach the buttons on most mice you will have to have your wrist quite close to the back of the mouse, and be reaching up over it. It may seem like your fingers are doing most of the work, but you are also rolling around on your wrist - check it out closely and you'll see what I mean.

    The puck is so low profile that you don't have this problem - and with the sensitivity right up, you can move the pointer right across the screen with TINY movements of your fingers. You have to try it to apprecite the difference.

    For the record, I don't use one and haven't for many years now. But I do think it's such a shame that many people - especially those here who are for the most part proponents of clever and considered design - dismiss it outright without considering why it is like it is.

    Heh. Maybe I should have a new warcry - Viva Amiga, and the Puck!

  • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@x[ ].net ['oxy' in gap]> on Wednesday September 14, 2005 @01:14AM (#13554382) Homepage Journal
    It's worth noting that if you bought the iPod during one of the special periods from the Apple Store when they were offering free laser engraving, that they will take the old back-panel from your iPod and put it onto the new one. So you get to keep your engraving, scratches and all.

    I was a little concerned about this when I heard about their exchange program. Getting rid of scratches is nice, except when the scratches are in a very precise laser-applied pattern, that you happen to be fond of.
  • by philg8 (64645) on Wednesday September 14, 2005 @09:20AM (#13556400)
    To perform a hard reset on an iPod, I believe you need to hold down the center button and the play/pause button for 5 (maybe 10?) seconds.
  • by Dogtanian (588974) on Wednesday September 14, 2005 @09:42AM (#13556568) Homepage
    You see to think that design means asthetics. It doesn't.

    I'd mod you up to 5 if it were possible.

    "The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald Norman gives a number of examples of where designers have chosen aesthetics over usability.

    For example, symmetrical doors that don't make clear where they are hinged.... or better, and more commonly, doors with pull handles on both sides, even when one side is meant to be pushed (although I suspect the latter example may be down to lack of thought on the part of the people who put in the doors).

    If I thought harder, I'm sure I could come up with some good examples, but the point is.... you're absolutely right. Design is more than aesthetics.

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