The radio introduced on the last iPod nano is still present on this one - though we at TR still have no desire to ever use it. As before, live pausing and 'tagging' of songs you like for later purchase in iTunes are possible and both work as advertised. Sadly there's no feature for getting DJs to shut the heck up and play some damn music.
Also missing from the new iPod nano is the ability to play the games made available for previous devices. The reason is obvious: those games were made for a device with a click wheel and the iPod nano now has none. What's surprising is that there's no suggestion from Apple that any will be available.
In fact, we're left to wonder why there's no facility for augmenting the music playback ability of the iPod nano with any other applications (outside of a clock and Nike+). Obviously the number of apps that could work on the tiny resolution display is limited, and running them would detract from iPod nano's the impressive 24 hour battery life, but there's definitely potential. If Steve Jobs announces the 'revolutionary' introduction of iPod nano apps at a future event, remember: we predicted it here first.
Where the iPod nano doesn't surprise is its pricing. At £159 for a 16GB and £129 for an 8GB device, it's definitely the most expensive device in its class. It's possible to pick up a Sony E-Series Walkman for half the price at the same capacity and the Sony player isn't so much bigger or heavier than the iPod nano as to be a notably worse companion. And of course Sony doesn't force you to use iTunes (or any software) to put music on its device and we all know iPods will never be the class leaders in sound quality - although the iPod nano is actually a decent sounding device.
Whether anyone thinking about buying an iPod nano will care is debatable, but as sales of the MacBook Air reveal, Apple customers tend to have a certain blindness to the premium they are paying for (arguably) unnecessary style. Nothing about the iPod nano makes us think that its buyers will be any different.
To purchase an iPod nano, you have to be happy to do so fully aware than you are paying well over the odds for what is admittedly a beautiful piece of industrial design, but also a work of form over function. But when the form is so exquisite, should you care?