Patent filed by Apple hints at next-gen iPod nano features

Summary:AppleInsider's discovery of the 2009 patent application for the iPod nano reveals a camera, touchscreen, mic and even games.

There is now further proof the photo of a green iPod nano with an embedded rear camera that surfaced earlier this week is not just some Photoshop joke. It could very well be the rumored new nano.

AppleInsider reports that the 2009 patent application filed by Apple, "describes adding new sensors to the iPod nano, including a camera, to add new functionality" but "makes no mention of the iPod nano model in its text." The diagrams published on AppleInsider's site show a square device with no buttons, with icon-like graphics on a single screen that will presumably display different information when pressed (like a touchscreen).

The document also suggests that games will be a part of this new design, as well as "a motion sensor, temperature gauge, and a microphone. Each of these sensors could be used to dynamically alter the way a screensaver would be played on an iPod nano," according to AppleInsider.

I wonder if the "motion sensor" will serve a health function (i.e. a pedometer or heart rate monitor) or be used for games (like the Wii-mote). After all, many users like to exercise with their nanos rather than risk dropping their iPhones at the gym. Playing games on such a tiny screen (if the form factor is similar to the current nano) would hurt my eyes but perhaps Apple has some other types of game-play in mind.

What would you like your new nano to do for you?

[Source & Image: AppleInsider; here is a link to the original US Patent Application 20110109538]

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hardware, Legal

About

Gloria Sin is a New York-based freelance journalist who writes about the tech toys that you can't live without for ZDNet. She has little patience for poorly designed user experiences, and is not afraid of opening the guts of her own machines for repair or hacking her gadgets for new uses.She has written for FastCompany.com, Popular Scienc... Full Bio

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