Will the 7th-Gen Nano’s New Features Save It? Probably Not

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The last 6th edition Nano was kind of the runt of Apple’s MP3 pack — somewhere between the “less is more” ethos of the shuffle and the full-fledged capabilities of a standard iPod. But even if previous reports hold true and the coming version of Apple’s pint-sized player comes equipped with the 1.3-megapixel camera the photos seem to indicate, I can’t help but feel that it’s all little more than bells and whistles used to prolong the device’s inevitable demise.

Apple Insider revealed a few documents submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with pictures to boot. In addition to the reintroduction of a camera, notable hardware inclusions indicate there’ll be a motion sensor, temperature gauge and a microphone. Plus, there’ll apparently be games, which would be a first since Apple shrunk the device down to shuffle size in 2009 and gave it a touch screen.

Which isn’t to that that these things will detract from the Nano’s appeal. It likely won’t be — even with all these new additions — a scaled down version of normal-sized iPods (hackers tore the thing down last year and revealed it to run a totally different operating system than iOS), and it’ll probably still be able to take a beating.

But for the record, I still think the 5th-generation Nano (scroll wheel and all) was as close to perfect as the Nano could be in terms of size and features (many of which, if the rumors hold true, are being introduced again with this latest Nano). But unless we see a price reduction, I still don’t think all these new additives would really justify the $150 low-end, especially when you look at something like the just-as-functional, twice-as-cheap ZEN.