Is the new iPod Nano actually much, much more than it seems? Apple is selling it as a tiny touch-screen iPod. But could it be one tick away from a powerful, integrated mobile information device?
Once upon a time, the iPhone was supposed to be just a great combination of a phone, camera, iPod, and ordinary web browser. Then Apple opened it up to third party apps and it took off as a gamer, tracker, library, shopper, and on and on. Third-party customization turned it into a truly astounding piece of equipment.
Another such opportunity may soon be upon us. It seems to me that, with the addition of Bluetooth and iPhone-like appification, the new iPod nano could easily soon become quite an extraordinary device. In conjunction with the iPhone in your pocket, it could bring you texts, emails, messages, calendar updates, and any other customized media imaginable. I imagine businesses and consumers could find innumerable uses for a tiny hands-free interface that has all the connectedness of the iPhone but doesn't actually require any holding.
Usual disclosure: Yes, I am an Apple spaz. Yes, I own Apple stock.
David Shenk is a writer on genetics, talent and intelligence. He is the author of Data Smog, The Forgetting, and most recently, The Genius In All of Us.