Flashback 2005: Apple Unveils the iPod nano

Twelve years ago this month Apple unveiled the iPod nano as a replacement for the popular iPod mini. Considered super sleek at the time, the player was pivotal in the evolution of the world’s most famous music player.

The nano used solid-state flash storage instead of a hard-drive and was offered in 2 GB and 4 GB versions with enough capacity to store 500 and 1,000 songs, respectively. Apple rolled out a 1 GB model in early 2006 but discontinued it just six months later, presumably due to its limited capacity (about 240 songs), which hampered its appeal.

The use of flash storage enabled the sleek form factor as well as increased reliability and extended battery life. Consumers showed their love for the new and improved iPod, snapping up a million units in just over two weeks. The early use of flash storage also set the stage for the iPhone (2007), iPad (2010), and all-flash-storage MacBooks (2012).

But all was not perfect in nano-land. The screen on some of the early players was prone to scratching and cracking that could cause the screen to become unreadable. Maintaining that only one tenth of 1 percent of the early players had defective screens, Apple agreed to replace cracked screens and provided protective cases. Still unsatisfied, a group of nano owners filed a class action suit, which the company eventually settled; most of those who participated in the suit reportedly received between $15 and $25.

In 2011, Apple announced a recall and replacement program for nano’s sold between September 2005 and December 2006; some of the players had a faulty battery that would overheat in “very rare cases.” The replacement program was discontinued earlier this year, followed by the player itself in late July.

With the demise of the nano, Apple now sells only the iPod touch as the era of the iPod winds down.