Features Lost in the New iPod shuffle, nano & touch. Why a Sub-Megapixel touch Rear Camera?

As my old friend and co-blogger Frank McPherson noted yesterday.

Apple Announces New iPods

Apple made fairly radical changes to the iPod shuffle, iPod nano, and iPod touch. The shuffle gained back physical controls (moved to special earbuds in the previous generation) while the nano lost its clickwheel. Lost in the various commentary I read about the devices was, well, the loss of features and some oddly reduced features in the new iPods. Here’s what I noticed:

iPod shuffle: While I thought the movement of all physical controls to the shuffle’s special earbuds in the previous model was a bad idea, the ability to control aspects like audio volume from earbud controls is a good thing to have. The new shuffle comes with low-end Apple earbuds that do not have volume controls.

iPod nano: The 6th generation nano lost a couple of significant features. It does not have the low resolution video camera that was introduced in last year’s 5th generation nano. It also lost the ability to play video. The smaller square screen may be blamed. But, Apple could have easily designed a 4:3 rectangular display for video playback. It also lost its speaker and ability to record audio with an microphone equipped Apple headset.

iPod touch: The touch gained a lot of interesting features including the high resolution Retina Display and both front and rear facing cameras. However, while the iPhone 4’s rear facing camera is a 5 megapixel one, the touch’s rear facing camera is less than 1 megapixel: 960 x 720 = 691,220 pixels.

Despite these feature losses, the new iPod lineup looks impressive. I ordered a 16GB nano to take a look at its new touch screen user interface. Apple estimates a delivery date between September 10 and 14. So, stay tuned for more 6th generation nano commentary.