As reported on AppAdvice.com in July, Apple has been manufacturing a small touchscreen for inclusion in an unknown future device. It appears that we finally know what it’s for.
Recent additions to an Asian case manufacturer’s site lists cases for a sixth-generation iPod Nano. The cases pictured feature a completely open front that seems to match the size of the previously seen 3cm touchscreens. The back is also open, possibly for a clip like the ones used on the iPod shuffle.
Holes on the bottom of the case seem to support a dock connector and headphones. Three more holes on the top of the case provide places for a mute/hold switch, as well as volume buttons or a speaker. Noticeably missing is any obvious spot for a camera. If the back does include a clip as sites like Macrumors.com suggest, then there will be no rear-facing camera.
A likely reason for the lack of camera is an increased focus on reducing the size and cost of the Nano. The device that fits in this case is only about the size of a saltine cracker and fitting a camera into a saltine is problematic, and generally ill-advised. Also, with camera(s) reportedly being added to the iPod touch, Apple may believe it is not needed in the Nano.
The obvious question when discussing a touchscreen iPod is “what will it run?” It would obviously be in Apple’s best interest if the device could run iOS like the iPod touch, but a touchscreen that size could not run existing apps. John Gruber of DaringFireball.net discussed, on his podcast, that just because a device has iOS doesn’t necessarily mean it would have an App Store and third-party apps.
Pictured above is a mockup from MacRumors.com which shows what a sixth-generation Nano could look like if it ran iOS with only the standard apps from Apple. This would let Apple standardize with iOS across many devices, but not complicate the device or the developer world by adding a new screen resolution to support.
What do you think? Are traditional iPods still important? Will making the Nano a touchscreen device make it even more important? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.