Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a brilliant move on Apple’s part to take on the wildly popular Flip video line of super-small camcorders today, by instantly turning every new iPod Nano into a portable video studio.
But I was much more impressed by the addition of an FM tuner. Why? Well for one thing, this feature has been missing from every single iPod since they launched the product back in 2000. That’s nearly 10 years of everyone (give or take a few Apple fanboys) telling them that they should add radio capability.
So either Steve Jobs has proven that he can listen to his customers, or he’s realized that the quarter of the media-player market that Apple doesn’t control is dominated by devices that can play FM radio – including the Microsoft Zune.
Speaking of the Zune, the new Nano borrows a trick from Redmond’s baby: While listening to your favourite FM radio station, you can “tag” the songs you like for future lookup and purchase in iTunes. It’s a killer feature, but it requires that the station you’re listening to supports iTunes tagging, which not all of them do.
I’ve tried to find a definitive list of Canadian stations that have this, but have so far come up empty. Drop a comment below if you know of a good resource for this.
But Apple has not only met the Zune in the radio department, they’ve also upped the ante. The Nano’s FM radio behaves more like a satellite radio receiver than a typical FM receiver: as soon as you tune-in to a station, the iPod starts buffering the audio to memory, allowing you to pause or even scroll back and forth along the recorded timeline. PVR users will identify with this right away as it’s the same thing you get when watching live TV with a PVR.
Nice work Apple, now tell us again why we had to wait a decade?
Update: Apple’s Canadian spokesperson, Simon Atkins, tells me that there are no radio stations in Canada that currently support iTunes tagging. Bummer.