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First impressions of the new iPods

[intro]I've been hands on with the glorious iPod Touch... and I'm surprisingly taken by the new Nano[/intro]So the new iPods are with, and all our dre

[intro]I’ve been hands on with the glorious iPod Touch… and I’m surprisingly taken by the new Nano[/intro]

So the new iPods are with, and all our dreams have been realised. Well, except the one about digital radio. But hey, no-one really believed that…

I’ve had a quick play with all the new iPods (except the new Shuffle, which has just been given a paintjob). Here’s what I reckon:

iPod Nano (4GB 99GBP, 8GB 129GBP)

When I saw the spy pictures that leaked on to the web last week, my heart sank. It looks like an old Nano, but stretched wide to accomodate a bigger screen. Surely Apple’s design guru Jonathan Ives wouldn’t sanction such a thing? Well, he has. And the pictures don’t do it justice.

Yes, the Nano’s clickwheel feels a bit piddly, and yes it’s a bit wider – but it’s a lot shorter and unbelievably thin. Credit card thin – helped by the curved shape of the sides that finish in a point.

The user interface is a great leap forward, too, and while I don’t fancy watching video on it for very long, the hi-res screen looks fantastic. I’d certainly be willing to trade in my old Nano. It’ll sell by the lorry load, helped by its range of colours.

iPod Classic (80GB 159GBP, 160GB 229GBP)

Very nice, but hardly setting my pulse racing, the old-school hard-drive iPod has a nicely refined user interface – including cover flow – plus a further slimming and an immense 160GB top-end version. It’s perfect for serial downloaders who absolutely must carry their music collection with them, and it looks slightly sexier, but my heart is elsewhere…One thought though – gone is the iPod’s white enclosure – now Apple’s only white prodcut left is the Macbook, so surely that’s due an update soon?

iPod Touch (8GB 199GBP, 16GB 269GBP)

Ok, I admit it… I now feel a bit stupid for buying an iPhone only to use it’s non-phone features. Because I wasted money on a 4GB iPhone when I could have bought a 16GB iPod Touch for the same price. Plus, it’ll be officially available in the UK by the end of September, months before the iPhone.

It looks and feels exactly like an iPhone, although the lack of phone features mean it’s a couple of millimetres thinner. The headphone socket has moved to the bottom, too, and it’s not recessed like the iPhone so you’ll be able to use non-apple headphones without an adapter. 

It’s very slightly shorter than the iPhone too, but has the same 3.5in screen that makes viewing photos and videos a joy. And of course it shares the same groundbreaking multi-touch interface i’ve been banging on about since January. I won’t go into too many details – try it for yourself. If it doesn’t change the way you view gadgets, you’re heart must be made of silicon.

I’m surprised the Apple included Wi-Fi functionality, but I’m also glad – Safari on the iPod Touch is hands-down the best mobile browser and in some ways is more fun than browsing on a PC. The Wi-Fi iTunes store is a boon, too, if you like buying music from Apple (and now that they offer DRM-free music, I do). Not having to pay any extra to buy tunes on the move will certainly give the mobile networks something to think about – as will not being hobbled by low-quality mobile music.

I guess the one downside is the capacity – but 16GB will hold a lot of music and movies. I’m certainly willing to make the sacrifice – I’ll just have to weed out the rubbish from my music collection. After all, only great music is worthy of such a gorgeous music player.

Alright, I’m gushing now. I’ll stop. We’ll have a more sober review of all the new iPods up just as soon as we spend some quality time with them. But hell, you’ll probably have bought your new baby before then, won’t you? See my full live blog coverage of the launch herePS We’ll have full video coverage of the launch in our next vidcast, out Monday.