July 30, 2012

Apple exploring iPod nano clip that doubles as docking contact

By Neil Hughes

Published: 08:42 AM EST (05:42 AM PST)
Apple has shown interest in having the rear clip on the iPod nano double as a quick-and-easy way of recharging and syncing the media player.

The concept was revealed in a new patent application published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and discovered by AppleInsider. Entitled “Portable User Device with a Clip Having Electrical Thermals,” it describes different ways that a device with a clip could be used to secure, charge and sync it.

In particular, the application includes illustrations that show a device extremely similar in design to Apple’s current iPod nano, which features a multi-touch display on the front and a clip on the back. Currently, the clip is used to make the device wearable for activities like exercise.

But if Apple’s new patent application becomes a reality, that clip could also include charging contacts. With a new charging base, users would simply clip the iPod nano, or any other clip-equipped device, onto it to recharge its battery or even transfer data.

The filing notes that portable media devices usually rely on a plug-and-socket connection for charging and syncing. This is also the case with the current iPod nano, which features Apple’s standard 30-pin dock connector.

Apple said that clips on portable devices can be used to affix them to an article of clothing or an accessory, but aside from mechanical clamping, the clip does not provide any other function.

In Apple’s concept, the clip would be “electrically coupled to the rechargeable battery.” The clip would also provide a “clamping force which aids in maintaining contact between the receiving receptacle and the clip member.”

Apple’s application even goes beyond the iPod nano itself, and describes how an accessory could even be clipped to another device, like a MacBook, for charging and syncing. In one illustration, a notebook computer features an indentation to the right of its display where an accessory could be clipped.

In a more traditional example, Apple shows a regular iPod charging dock with an adapter that would allow the clip to be securely fastened and connected.

The illustrations accompanying the application suggest Apple could apply its concept on devices beyond the iPod nano. In one image, a phone with a rear clip featuring charging and syncing contacts is also shown.

The proposed invention, made public this week by the USPTO, was first filed in January of 2011. It is credited to Jeffery T. Lee and Scott Krueger.

The filing comes as a new rumor published this week suggested Apple is working on a new iPod nano that would ditch the current square design and rear clip for wearability. Instead, it claimed the device will feature a rectangular touchscreen and a dedicated home button, much like an iPhone or iPod touch. It was also said the device would have a dedicated built-in iTunes service for accessing content.

AppleInsider

Apple’s next iPod nano may resemble tiny iPhone, feature dedicated iTunes service

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 12:46 PM EST (09:46 AM PST)
Apple may once again redesign its iPod nano this fall with a rectangular screen and a home button, much like an iPhone, along with a dedicated built-in iTunes service.

The new iPod nano is rumored to arrive this fall alongside an overhaul of Apple’s iTunes music and media service, according to Japanese blog Macotakara. Citing a “reliable Chinese source,” a report on Tuesday indicated the next iPod nano is “not square shaped” like the current model.

Instead, the new iPod nano is alleged to have a rectangular display, presumably touchscreen, that would be like a smaller version of the 3.5-inch screen found on the iPhone and iPod touch. Like the larger iOS-based devices, the new iPod nano is also said to have a home button.

The details appear to come from a source who claims to have seen a leaked case revealing the new design. The person said that the case for the new iPod nano had a hole on the front that would presumably be used for a dedicated home button.

The new iPod nano is also rumored to feature a “dedicated new iTunes service,” that person added. An anticipated “autumn update” to iTunes would bring about new features, and ditch Ping, the social networking service Apple launched in 2010 that has since failed to gain any traction.

Apple redesigned the iPod nano in 2010 with a new square design controlled through a small multi-touch display. That design features a clip on the back making it deal for using during physical activity, but the updated iPod nano is rumored to ditch the clip.

The leaked casing was said to be smaller than the fifth-generation iPod nano, and thinner than the current-generation model, thanks largely to the absence of the rear clip.

A render included with the story shows a device that looks like a mix between an iPhone or iPod touch with Apple’s fifth-generation iPod nano, which also featured a rectangular shape but was controlled by a click-wheel.

While the current iPod nano mimics Apple’s iOS mobile operating system found on the iPhone and iPad, it is not the same software, and cannot run applications that are available on the App Store. Tuesday’s report did not indicate whether an iPod nano with a home button would actually run iOS, or continue to be its own separate, app-less platform.

AppleInsider

The Littlest Black Book For The iPod Nano [Review]

The Littlest Black Book For The iPod Nano [Review]

Pad&Quill’s Littlest Black Book case was announced back on April 1st, and it still seems like a joke. However, I have one next to my keyboard as I type this and it is very real. And very, very cute.

The case is the smallest in Pad&Quill’s Molekine-y range of cases for the iPad and iPhone. Like the other cases, it consists of a baltic birch frame encased in a bookbindery book cover, complete with a red fabric lining and even a tiny ribbon bookmark.

All the ports are free (the iPod Nano within is clamped firmly by its two sides), and there is a cutout to fit the now vestigial clip.

The Good

Pretty much everything. Not only will the Littlest Black Book put a smile on the face of anyone who sees it, it also makes the Nano a lot easier to use.

When closed, the case does a fine job of protecting the screen. Yes, it doubles the thickness of the naked iPod, but who cares? It’s too small to begin with.

Once opened (done by un-hitching the elastic strap), you now have something to grip other than the iPod itself. It’s a curious fact that – tiny as it is – the current Nano is a two-handed device. It is almost impossible to use the touch screen and hold it at the same time. No wonder those watch-strap cases are so popular.

With the Pad&Quill case in place, though, it works more like a (miniature) classic Star Trek communicator. You can cradle it in your fingers and thumb away at the screen, or you can grip the front cover between fingers and palm and then use the thumb. Either method feels more secure than using the bare Nano one-handed.

The case also feels very safe. While you could probably drop an iPad inside a Pad&Quill case and come off without any damage, this tiny case feels like you could throw it against the wall or floor and not have to worry. It also makes for a decent disguise, although here the size works against it somewhat – who’s going to believe you carry such a tiny notebook?

The Bad

The Littlest Black Book For The iPod Nano [Review]

The only complaints I have are down the the elastic strap which holds the case closed. It does its job fine, but obscures the iPod’s unlock button (which gets used a lot when you double-tap to play/pause). The good news is that you can still use the button through the strap, but that might be annoying for picky princesses.

Round the other side the strap sits inside the headphone socket. This means that the case can’t be opened if headphones are plugged in.

The Verdict

I love it. It seems absurd to put a case on the Nano, with its pocket-friendly size and handy clip, but this one works so well I would use it all the time. Even The Lady, forever skeptical of the widgets and gadgets that constantly turn up at our door, likes the thing, and actually uses it. And there probably isn’t any higher praise than that. $ 35.

Rating: ★

★

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½

½

Cult of Mac

The Syre Aims To Take iPod Nano Watchbands To The Next Level

The Syre Aims To Take iPod Nano Watchbands To The Next Level

Since the debut of the sixth generation iPod nano in late 2010, watchband cases have become all the rage. Within only a few weeks of release, numerous iPod nano watchbands started popping up, some better than others. There’s a new watchband in town now, and it’s shaping up to be the most impressive one yet. The Syre is the first iPod nano case to feature Bluetooth technology built in.

While other iPod nano watchbands required you to plug in a set of headphones in order to listen to your music on your wrist, the Syre includes a Bluetooth receiver which automatically lets you listen to your music wirelessly, with any set of compatible headphones.

The main focus of the Syre is to offer athletes a full range of motion when working out. Typically, headphone cords limit the movement of athletes when working out. The Syre solves this problem, and is therefore a perfect companion for an active lifestyle.

While no release date has been specified as of now, you can check out the project on Kickstarter to find more information. The project will only be funded if $ 75,000 can be attained for manufacturing, so if this is something you’re interested in, you might want to give it a look. Two models of the watchband will be sold, one with and one without Bluetooth functionality. The bands will start at $ 39.95 without Bluetooth.

Cult of Mac

This Guy Got 4 Magnets Implanted In His Wrist To Hold His iPod Nano [Video]

This Guy Got 4 Magnets Implanted In His Wrist To Hold His iPod Nano [Video]

Most of us have kind of moved on from the iPod. It was really freaking awesome for a while, but then Apple came out with the iPhone and iPad. Since then iPod sales have slowly dropped, because why spend $ 150 on an iPod when an extra hundo will get you an iPod Touch? Some people still really really love their iPods though. Some in more crazy ways than others. Like Dave Hurban for example, who had four holes drilled into his wrist and plugged with magnets, just so he doesn’t have to bother with iPod Nano watch bands. Dave’s “invention” is called the iDermal, and it’s crazy, original, and pretty weird.

Eat your heart out Pebble, and check out the video below.

I guess Dave just took Apple fanboyism to the next level. If you’re not doing some kind of weird body modification then you don’t love the Fruit Company as much as he does, but I’m not even going to try and keep up.

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busterheineBuster Heine is Cult of Mac’s Social Media Editor and Staff Writer. Hailing from Roswell, New Mexico, but now spending his days in Phoenix, Arizona, he wastes most of his time eating burritos and reading spanish romance novels.  Twitter: twitter.com/bst3r.

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Cult of Mac

Apple Forced To Pay Tokyo Couple $7,400 After iPod Nano Bursts Into Flames

Apple Forced To Pay Tokyo Couple $  7,400 After iPod Nano Bursts Into Flames

If you’ve got a first-generation iPod nano, get it replaced before it looks like this.

Apple has been forced to pay a couple in Tokyo, Japan, ¥600,000 (approx. $ 7,400) for medical fees and pain and suffering after their first-generation iPod nano spontaneously burst into flames, causing burns to the hand that took more than a month to completely heal.

The device, which was purchased back in 2005, overheated and caught fire while charging in July 2010.

The worrying thing is, this isn’t the first time this has happened to a first-generation iPod nano. The issue has been well documented throughout the years, and Apple recalled the device back 2009. Last November, the Cupertino company began a worldwide replacement program, allowing owners to trade in their first-generation unit for a free replacement.

So if you’re still clinging onto one of these explosive devices, there’s no excuse not to get it replaced. It’s free, and you’re likely to end up with a sixth-generation model — the current model — as a replacement.

When pressed for comment on this case, a representative for Apple Japan told Nikkei: ”we cannot comment without confirming with our American head office.”

[via The Verge]

Cult of Mac

Pad&Quill’s Tiny Moleskine-Alike Case For… The iPod Nano?

Pad&Quill’s Tiny Moleskine-Alike Case For… The iPod Nano?

The iPod Nano, like an iPad for little folk

If you’re going to launch a real product on April 1st, then you may as well make it seems as ridiculous as possible, and that’s just what Brian Holmes did yesterday when he announced The Littlest Black Book for the iPod Nano, the new tiny, nano-sized Moleskine-style case from Brian’s company, Pad&Quill.

I actually mailed Brian yesterday to see if this was for real, and it is. There’s even a Kickstarter page to prove it, which is already almost a quarter of the way to the $ 4,500 goal.

Pad&Quill became famous for its “bookbindery” iPad cases. Similar in look to the DodoCase, their baltic birch frames are sturdier than the bamboo Dodos, and the case designs have evolved over the years instead of standing still.

The Littlest Black Book for the iPod Nano is pretty much a miniaturized version of the original case, and holds the Nano tight inside. To me, it seems to make the Nano better than it is naked, as you can actually get a grip on the tiny thing and use it one-handed. It is quite ridiculous that, unclothed, the Nano is actually harder to use with one hand than the bigger iPod Touch.

I love this design, and it might make me dig out my Nano once again. To get one of your own, you’ll need to pledge a minimum of $ 34, with higher pledges getting you increasing amounts of personalization.

[Thanks, Brian!]

Charlie SorrelCharlie Sorrel sits in his gadget nerve-center in Barcelona, Spain, and spits out words about  various weird plastic widgets while the sun shines outside his iCave. Previously found at Wired.com’s Gadget Lab covering cameras, power cables and sneaking in as much Apple-centric coverage as he could, Charlie spends his rare moments outside perched atop a bicycle and snapping photos. You can follow him on Twitter via @mistercharlie

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Cult of Mac

Is Pad & Quill’s new case for the iPod nano cute or what?

Pad & Quill makes amazingly cool book-like cases for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and other devices like the Kindle and Nook. Today they announced their latest product — the Littlest Black Book for iPod nano.

The case uses Pad & Quill’s wonderful bookbinding and woodworking skills to their fullest extent, creating a leather-bound case that cradles the tiny iPod nano in the cutest case EVAH! Lest you think this is some sort of silly April Fools joke, you can actually back the project on Kickstarter to get this little guy into production.

Check out the video below and then show your support out on Kickstarter. And by the way, Mr. & Mrs. PQ are giving TUAW readers a 10 percent discount on the Octavo (US$ 109.99, on pre-order) and Contega ($ 99.99) cases for the new iPad (third-generation) — just use the coupon code TUW31 when you’re checking out to get a heck of a deal on a beautiful iPad case.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

This iPod Nano Concept Better Is Than The Real Thing

I’d trade my crappy square Nano in for one of these in a second

We love us a good iConcept design here at Cult of Mac, and we especially love those which appear to be better than the Apple product they are based on. So I’m happy to bring you Enrico Penello’s iPod Nano Touch, a great-looking update to the terrible iPod Nano.

While Enrico’s concept incorporates Wi-Fi, FaceTime, a home button and other unlikely frivolities, the real meat of his design is in the shape. The current Nano is terrible. To use the thing you need two hands: one to cradle it and one to swipe the tiny screen.

Making it longer like this would sure make it easier to hold, turning it back into a one-handed device like almost every iPod before it. It also makes hitting the volume switches easier, and the extra space would allow for a battery more than powerful enough for the slightly bigger (taller but narrower) screen.

That said, Wi-Fi would actually be pretty sweet, if only for grabbing the latest episode of the CultCast over the air. But what do you think, dear reader? Is the Nano in need of a redesign? And if so, is this it?

[Via Yanko]


Cult of Mac

Hex Vision Classic Leather Watch Band for 6G iPod nano: Good-looking, reasonably priced

When the first watch bands started appearing for iPod nanos, I really thought the idea was ludicrous. After all, what kind of person would spend a minimum of US$ 129 on a touchscreen watch when they have a really good clock in their pocket — an iPhone — already? I felt that way until a friend of mine gave me a 6G iPod nano a few weeks ago and I coincidentally received a Hex Vision Classic Leather Watch Band (US$ 49.95) to review. Now I’m hooked on the idea of the 6G iPod nano as a watch, and this classy and inexpensive watch band has had a lot to do with my change of heart.

Design

There’s not much to say about watch bands. Basically, they’re what hold the mechanical or electrical gadgetry onto your wrist. In the case of the watch bands that have been designed for the sixth-generation iPod nano, they hold the nano into place either using the clip on the back of the device or through some other mechanical means.

Some of the designs I’ve seen so far have been bulky affairs that encase the entire nano. More often, the watch bands use a mechanism that is like that of the Vision Classic — a stainless steel (or other material) plate that the nano clips onto. I like this more open design, as the nano doesn’t need to be removed from the band for syncing or charging.

The Vision Classic is indeed a take on the classic leather watch band. The stainless steel clip makes it easy to add or remove the nano while being unobtrusive. The leather band is comfortable and topstitched for added flair, and comes in four different colors: black, white, British tan, and grey.

Functionality

The Vision Classic does what it’s designed to do: hold an iPod nano to your wrist while looking good. It feels great, it’s easy to get the nano in and out of the watch band, and — most importantly in my opinion — it’s inexpensive for a non-plastic nano band.

Yeah, you can get crappy-looking polycarbonate watch bands from a number of manufacturers (including Hex) for less money, but when it comes to nice looking bands that don’t cost an arm and a leg, the Vision Classic Leather Watch Band is a winner.

Be sure to check out the gallery of photos to see the Vision Classic and my mighty arm in action.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog