Apple iPod Nano review:

iPod Nano falls short in the era of the smartphone


What's worse is that the Nano isn't compatible with "rented" songs if you're an Apple Music subscriber. You read correctly: in the midst of the streaming music war -- one in which Apple has a big stake -- its standalone music player doesn't let you listen to music for which you're paying $10 a month. (And unlike the more expensive iPod Touch, the Nano isn't compatible with other music services, such as Spotify or Tidal.)

It charges via Lightning.

Josh Miller/CNET

As the iPod has stagnated in the shadow of the iPhone, we've seen fitness trackers and wireless speakers with streaming music features that have shown more innovation. The Samsung Gear Fit 2, meanwhile, doubles as a music player with a 4GB capacity, while the upcoming Pebble Core will allow you to download Spotify playlists for offline listening. If Apple had an interest in really making their music players better -- and at this point, I don't think its does -- adding Wi-Fi to a next-gen Nano and allowing it to sync and download from iCloud would be a big step towards making the product relevant again.

In fact, the previous square version of the Nano wasn't a half-bad wristwatch, back in the day. A more affordable Apple Watch could be a worthy Nano replacement, since that product can already sideload music from an iPhone and work as a wireless audio player.

In the meantime, though, you're better off spending that money somewhere else. For less than the cost of the iPod Shuffle, you can instead buy a comparable SanDisk MP3 player that lets you listen to your music, including purchased iTunes music, and lets you add up to 64GB more of storage via microSD card.

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