Sep. 12, 2012 at 5:39 PM ET
The new iPods were quite a surprise at Apple's iPhone launch event, not because they exist, but because they're actually impressive. The iPod Nano — always the product with which Apple takes crazy chances and aggressively switches up designs — is fresh little plaything, while the iPod Touch has grown up to become a serious product in its own right.
The Nanos are still not totally to be taken seriously, but the larger screen means that you can do more without getting lost in the interface — more scrolling, more options. And added Bluetooth means it can feed music to speaker systems and cars wirelessly.
One thing to note: Apple has done away with the weird little clock faces that were available on the last generation Nano. I guess the whole trend of wearing a Nano on your wrist as an oversize watch has faded.
The Touch is better (and thinner) than ever, and now comes with Siri. During my short demo, we almost got it to book us a restaurant reservation, as you can see below.
The screen, which is the same Retina display on the iPhone 5, really does come to life on the iPod Touch. And when you look at an app like iPhoto, you realize that the extra pixels give you a little wiggle room, even on a screen that remains relatively small.
The only problem that I see with the iPod Touch is its price. Will anyone buy a non-phone at $299? Phones can be cheaper because we pay carriers monthly, and those carriers eat some of the cost. There's no benefit like that here. I don't know how well it can compete, especially with a mini iPad rumored to be in the wings.