“It Is A Licence To Print Money!”

On Friday two weeks ago, Frank, Meghan, and I paid a visit to the Valley Fair Apple Store to see if the new iPod nanos had arrived. Just to, you know, look.

Because I am terminally lazy, I am simply going to shamelessly crib what I wrote elsewhere.

Important Safety Tip: Do not pick one of these up unless you are prepared to buy it. Once it is in your hand, you will not want to let it go. It’s like The One Ring of portable audio players. Touch its ensorcelled metal, and you instantly covet the Precious.

It’s not just that it’s small, although it is ridiculously so. Plenty of other portable players occupy roughly the same volume. But they don’t have the deceptively-simple perfection of proportion. The nano isn’t just compact: it’s a thin, flat slab that lies lightly on your fingers, with all the controls situated exactly under your thumb, in a way that strongly suggests that nothing else has any business being there again, ever.

Also, it’s not a stripped-down player with two buttons and possibly a small numeric monochrome LCD. It’s a full-bore iPod, with a bright, high-resolution color display, the full UI, and the scroll wheel that’s such an absolute delight to use.

I’ve been using technology long enough that I’d thought I’d gotten completely jaded about the notion that next year’s model will be half the size of last year’s, and do twice as much, but holding the nano, I feel like someone in Scheduling screwed up, and let the future arrive well before it was supposed to.

I almost feel sorry for everyone else making portable music players. It’s like a bunch of Shriners got together one fine Sunday morning to race their little go-carts, and some bastard pulled up to the starting line in a Ferrari. Doom.

Apple is going to be Hoovering up design awards for this one in the year to come the way I vacuum up spilled cat litter. They’re also, assuming they can meet consumer demand, going to want an extra shipment of leaf bags for all the cash they’ll be raking in. Apparently the black 4 GB model is so popular that Apple is already having to retool production to crank out enough of the things.

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