Remembering Apple’s first iWatch: The 6th gen. iPod nano

“The tech industry has been buzzing in recent weeks about the sudden burst of announcements about wearable computing, and in particular about rumors that Apple is working on some kind of iWatch,” Chris O’Brien reports for The Los Angeles Times. “But in the view of some Apple fans, such a gadget wouldn’t be Apple’s first watch. As far as they’re concerned, Apple already released — and then withdrew — its first watch when it introduced the 6th generation of its iPod Nano in 2010.”

“Apple must have had some inkling that people might use the gadget this way. On the product description page, the company noted the options for different clock faces that ‘turn iPod Nano into a stylish timepiece,'” O’Brien reports. “Apple even used to sell several different wristbands from other companies through its website. ”

O’Brien reports, “Alas, Apple redesigned the Nano again last year, returning it to a rectangular shape for the 7th generation that is too awkward to wear on your wrist. Was this driven by natural design evolution? Or was this spontaneous watch market getting ahead of Apple’s official plans for a watch? Nobody knows for sure, of course. ‘We were obviously disappointed,’ [Chris Wilson, founder of LunaTik iPod nano watchband-maker] said. ‘You can never count on Apple not to change their product. When they did that, they either completely lost a product that was a vision of the future. Or, they have a plan up their sleeve.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s change of iPod nano from watch-like back to small PMP is by design.

As we wrote last September when the new iPod nano debuted:

We’re looking at a TIKTOK [watchband] with the iPod nano stuck in it sitting on the desk. Here’s the thing: We don’t wear watches. Here’s another thing: We don’t know anyone under 50 who wears a watch. Wristwatches are uncomfortable and redundant. They beg to die out, not to be reinvented. (In fact, wristwatches are dying out and have been for some time now. Wristwatch salesmen, have at it below.) If we want to know the time, we press the Home button on our iPhones or the button on our Nike+ FuelBands. Two clocks, right there. We don’t need an anachronistic third digging into and impinging our wrists all day.

We tried – so hard – to use the TIKTOK+iPod nano conglomeration as a runner’s watch. It’s absolutely great for music and absolutely horrible as a pace watch. The screen is just too small to see when you’re bouncing around and when you lift it to your face and stop naturally swinging your arm to look at it, the pace goes wonky. Sure it tracks the time and distance semi-acurately, but there are plenty of far better solutions for that sort of thing. It’s a wonderful iPod, a needless watch, and an absolutely horrid runner’s watch – which is probably why Apple made the smart move and turned it back into an iPod with a screen that’s big enough to actually use for something more than displaying 20 watch faces at the press of a button. The 6th generation iPod nano was too much of a “Super iPod shuffle” and not enough of an iPod nano. (We were kind of hoping the iPod nano was going to become the new iPod shuffle, but the economics – that damn touchscreen! – probably didn’t work for Apple).

The new 7th generation iPod nano looks to be much better for working out, now with Bluetooth 4.0, and you can still use it to show photos to grandma, but now she can actually see them! With a larger screen and the ability to play TV shows and movies, it’s a great thing for kids and less expensive than even last year’s iPod touch which Apple has kept as the entry-level touch ($149 vs. $199). Plus, it’s really, really, really thin at just 5.4mm!

Hey, who knows? Maybe right now Apple’s hard at work reinventing the wristwatch into something we’d actually want to strap to our wrists: FaceTime, Dick Tracy, etc. If so, bring it on, but it should be its own thing, “iWatch” or whatever, not an iPod nano stuck into a third-party strap sitting on the desk, not on our wrists.

Related articles:
PC Magazine reviews Apple iPod nano (7th gen): ‘beautifully crafted,much-improved player, easily our Editors’ Choice’ – October 11, 2012
Apple’s new iPod nano a timid move that sidesteps the smartwatch revolution? – September 14, 2012
Apple unveils all-new iPod touch and iPod nano – September 12, 2012

Apple’s iWatch will measure far more than time – March 12, 2013
Disney ‘MagicBands’ showcases massive potential for Apple’s iWatch – March 6, 2013
Apple’s iOS-powered ‘iWatch’ facing battery life challenge, sources say – March 4, 2013
Apple seeks to introduce ‘iWatch’ as soon as this year, says source – March 4, 2013
Apple doesn’t need Corning for an iWatch, LG Display is ready to go with flexible OLED displays – March 3, 2013
Apple supplier Corning: It’ll be three years before companies start making ‘Willow’ flexible display products – February 28, 2013
Apple patent for flexible display slap bracelet ‘iWatch’ could fire up stock again – February 22, 2013
How to profit from Apple’s iWatch, Nike’s FuelBand and Google’s Glass – February 22, 2013
Apple’s iWatch concept is real – and here’s how it might work – February 22, 2013
ABI Research: Apple ‘iWatch’ could prove to be revelation in wearable tech – February 21, 2013
Apple patent application reveals slap bracelet ‘iWatch’ with flexible touchscreen display – February 21, 2013
Apple ‘iWatch’ leaks: Preemption or desperation? – February 19, 2013
Patents may point the way towards Apple iWatch – February 19, 2013
Samsung trying to beat Apple to market with ‘iWatch’ rival? – February 15, 2013
What if an Apple iWatch replaced most of the iPhone’s functions? – February 13, 2013
Apple ‘iWatch’ beyond ‘experimentation phase,’ sources say – February 13, 2013
Features that would make Apple’s iWatch a killer product – February 12, 2013
7 reasons why Apple’s unannounced ‘iWatch’ won’t fly – February 12, 2013
Patent application reveals Apple secretly developing wearable computing platform – February 12, 2013
Morgan Stanley: Apple iWatch, iTV could generate additional $80 billion annually – February 12, 2013
With ‘iWatch,’ Apple could turn wearable devices into next big thing – February 12, 2013
Why Apple is working on ‘iWatch,’ not ‘iGlasses’ – February 11, 2013
WSJ: Apple testing ‘iWatch’ device – February 11, 2013
iWatch: Apple developing curved-glass smart watch, sources say – February 11, 2013
Tog: The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem – February 7, 2013
Why Apple should hang-up on the iPhone, iWear is next – January 6, 2013
Analyst sees wearable computers from Apple as future replacement for iPhone – January 2, 2013
Apple and Intel secretly building Bluetooth smartwatch that connects to your iOS devices, say sources – December 27, 2012
Apple patent application details display-integrated cellular antennas – May 6, 2012
Apple patent app details next-gen microstrip cellular antenna for future MacBooks, iWatch and beyond – October 25, 2011


    1. Yeah, I don’t get the whole “I don’t wear a watch” thing anyway? I believe that is more about people trying to be too cool by saying that they don’t wear a watch. What? It’s easier to reach in your pocket and pull out a phone and look at it to see what time it is rather than look at your wrist with just a glance? Then put it back into your pocket until you have to do it all over again? I guess that means that we should get rid of all the clocks in our homes and businesses? We certainly don’t want a clock on the dash in our automobile. Clocks. Who needs them? Right? Nah, I don’t think so.

      1. You sync it your iTunes which is synced to your computer which should be synced to a time server. But it will go astray without this and cannot be accurately adjusted offline.

  1. Could have more than one version. One that’s a phone/ipod. But there better be one where you can SEE the person ala Dick Tracy otherwse it won’t be as cool as possible.

  2. For those that haven’t worked it out yet ….
    It’s referred to as an iWatch because it looks like a watch and is worn like a watch. However using an iWatch for telling the time is possibly the least of the reasons you might want one. People will want them for all the other things that it will do.
    Some people simply can’t get past the ‘watch’ part of the name. Virtually nobody wants a digital replacement for a watch, what people will be offered is a digital supplement to their phone.

  3. SORRY MDN. I wear my 6th generation iPod nano watch everyday as both a music player and a watch and it gathers oohs and aahs almost every day from people that love the idea as I do

  4. I’m totally with GM re. wearing a watch. It’s far more time-consuming dragging a phone out of your pocket, turning it round, then the right side up, then waking it up, just to read the time! What sort of idiot thinks that’s easier than a five-second, or less, glance at a watch on your wrist.
    Especially if you’re operating machinery or something where a phone isn’t allowed to be used, but you still need to know the time for production purposes.
    Of course, if you’re one of those sad-sack imbeciles who go everywhere with their phone clutched in their sweaty hand, then your ‘coolness’ rating dictates that you be seen to always have the latest phone on display.
    My current watches are a Casio G-101 for work, for getting banged around machinery, and my beautiful Seiko ‘SPORK’, an automatic mechanical, which is accurate to 25 seconds over three months so far, which is good enough for me.
    Even when I’m using my computer at work, the admin s/ware doesn’t display a clock, so my watch is essential, my phone is disallowed for security purposes.

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