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The hot new Apple iPod Nano

The hot new Apple iPod Nano

As expected, Apple announced the second-generation iPod Nano, and, yes, it does have a maximum capacity of 8GB. That brings it in line with the current market rate--before today, the 4GB iPod Nano cost as much as the 8GB SanDisk Sansa e280--$250 (ouch). Well, here's Apple's retort, and while the new Nano still doesn't play video, it is much improved in many ways, including the price, which gives you twice the gigabytes for the same price. The 2GB model will cost $149, the 4GB $199, and the 8GB $249.

The second-gen iPod Nano looks and feels better. Its body is now made of anodized aluminum, rather than the scratch-prone polycarbonate of the original. It's also thinner, believe it or not. Five new bright colors bring us back to the iPod Mini days: silver (2GB/4GB), green (4GB), pink (4GB), blue (4GB), and a fresh-looking black full on with a black Click Wheel (8GB)--thinner, more durable, and colorful. However, for those who want an 8GB green, pink, blue or silver Nano, you're out of luck.

What's more, you get up to a rated 24 hours of battery life now (vs. a rated 12 hours from the 1st gen), plus gapless playback of audio files (like in the new 5G iPod and iTunes 7). Other features include instant search by first letter, the "new and improved" headphones, and a 40 percent brighter screen. Even the iPod Nano packaging is improved, with 52 percent less volume. Unlike the flagship iPod, you won't get the improved gaming option.

So, in addition to the boost in capacity, the new Nano is all about improvement: improved durability, sleekness, and battery; some wish-list features such as gapless playback; and of course, an array of color choices. While the value of this model isn't as great as for the $349 80GB iPod (you can get a 30GB iPod or the much thicker but more feature filled SanDisk for the same price), the thin design and incremental improvements should continue the Nano's claim as the world's most popular player. We will update our opinion on the design, sound quality, and lab-tested battery life once we get our hands on one. Also check out our first take on the new 5G iPod.

Pros: Up to 8GB at market price; thinner and more durable body; gapless playback; instant search; improved battery life; brighter display

Cons: 8GB version is same price as 30GB iPod; not all color options available for all capacities; no major feature additions like FM radio or video.