MP3 Players

Would you use an iPod Nano as a wristwatch?


When Apple released the new, miniature sized iPod Nano last year, a lot of people scratched their head wondering what on Earth was going on. We're used to products being improved from one generation to the other, so going from an iPod with both a video camera and a nice (for video) 240 x 376 screen to a tiny square MP3 player with no camera and no video support made many people think that Apple had lost it. 

The story of the new Nano took a rather surprising turn, though, when people started strapping them to their hands and using them as watches. Before too long, every case manufacturer out there had released a wristband strap for the Nano. When Apple announced a software update for the Nano on Tuesday, new clockfaces were one of very few upgrades to the player. Apple seems to have accidentally invented a watch with this iteration of the Nano, but is there really an attraction with using an MP3 player as a wristwatch?

The first few armband cases that were available for the Nano were pretty simple – and many still are. A silicone wristband with some way of holding the Nano is all many people need, but some premium variants quickly appeared. It makes sense, really – if you pay that much for an MP3 player to use as a wristwatch, you'd likely want it to look and feel nice. My personal favorite is a pair of clock bands for the Nano that started out as a Kickstarter project, got an amazing 63 times as much funding as their goal, and was even shown in Apple's presentation on Tuesday: The LunaTik and TikTok. The quality and look of those watchbands immediately turned my feeling towards the concept from "seriously?" to "oh, nice". The review below is from YouTube and shows off both these two watchbands with the Nano in them. 

The updated Nano now has a total of 18 clockfaces to go with these armbands, ranging from traditional analog clocks to digital ones. There's even a Mockey Mouse clockface, which is certain to bring back memories for a lot of people. 


Even with nice armbands and more clockfaces, though, it's hard to ignore the fact that this is a very huge, somewhat expensive watch – and with a battery life that isn't exactly measured in months. That being said, it is after all an iPod first and foremost, so you're not paying all that money for just a watch (and watches aren't cheap either). The built-in workout features of the Nano makes it a rather nice training accessory as well, and the wristband is a nice accessory for that type of use in itself. 

The biggest issue I have with this concept as it stands now is the lack of Bluetooth in the Nano. Having it be wireless makes a ton of sense when wearing it on your wrist, even though that will affect sound quality. There are of course Bluetooth dongles available as accessories – like this one – but those inceease the size of the already huge watch even more. 

I've also previously expressed my disappointment that Apple didn't turn the Nano into an iOS version of the Sony Ericsson LiveView when they updated it on Tuesday. I would buy the Nano and a watchband in a second if I could connect it to my iPad or iPhone (or both) and use it for media controls, to see text messages and caller ID, and so on. The technology is there, so I just think it's a wasted opportunity to not tie these products together. 

So, what do you guys think about this? Would you pay $130+ for an iPod nano and then another $40+ for something like the TikTok in order to carry an iPod Nano as a wristwatch? Would you be more likely to shell out the money if the Nano was more like the LiveView? Let us know in the comments!

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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11 thoughts on “Would you use an iPod Nano as a wristwatch?

  • Avatar of Sebastian

    If I had an iPod Nano, I would definitely have one of these armbands. It looks good as a training accessory.
    But I’m saving my money for the iPhone 4S XD

  • Avatar of fiveseven808

    Definitely not buying a nano to use as a watch. A cord leading to my wrist spells nothing but bad news when I want to reach out and grab something. And the fact that it doesn’t have bluetooth and can’t even connect to a phone, let alone an iPhone wirelessly? I spend all this money, there are no “apps”, AND I have to push a button to tell time? That’s a joke to me. Don’t get me wrong, the iPod Nano totally has a place; on my wrist just isn’t it.

    -An embarrassed SE LiveView owner and extremely proud MBW-150 owner

  • Really, you write this article on October 6, 2011? Didn’t the new nano come out last year around this time? Where have you been? Isn’t this a tech site? Wait, let me check . . . Why, yes it is.

    Sarcasm aside, drip, I bought the nano with knowing that someone would come up with a watch band and got the LunaTik as soon as it came became available. I use it every time I go out. Since Apple stores now carry the LunaTik I’m getting the feeling I’m not the only one. It is not a perfect thing, of course. I use it for what it can do within it’s limits. I like the pedometer, not because it’s accurate but because it offers a much better counter than I can do on my head where I to try. The wire going up the arm can be easily managed with an arm band, not a big deal. So, music, pedometer, hmmmn, watch and showing off to my non-techie acquaintances every few months when they notice me fiddling with it.

    That said the new Moto gizmo will have GPS tracking so I might upgrade when it comes out. But maybe not.

    And thanks for allowing me an opportunity to rant sarcastically.

  • Yes I wrote it on October 6 2011 as that’s when Apple added new watch faces, and by doing so, putting their stamp of approval on that sort of use. There are also people who e.g. connect their nano to an external amp through line out, and if Apple suddenly included a line out cable with the Nano, I would write an article asking if people were going to use that. Covering every little nice usage scenario out there for every product would be a full time job, which is why it’s more relevant when the company puts the spotlight on a specific feature. There’s a reason why Pixelmags, a company that helps put magazines on mobile devices, saw a 1100% growth in a week after iOS 5 and Newsstand came out – being an official feature changes everything.

  • I figured it was because of the new watch faces. However, the 6th generation Nano did have a watch face when it came out so the article would have been relevant a year ago as it was an official feature then. In fact, the main reason they came out with the new watch faces was because a good percentage of those of us who bought them use it as such so the premise of the article is fallacious as it purports not to know the answer to the question. Had the title of this article been “Have the new watch faces for the iPod Nano made you use it as a wristwatch?” it would be for a different audience and my comments would be negated.

    It would be equally irrelevant if Apple included a line out cable. Those of us who have purchased iPods – and other portable music players – have used them with amps for more than ten years now. An article about a line out cable would be even more out of date than this one.

    If this article had been published in a non-techie news site it wouldn’t matter as there is a portion of the public who is just not aware of the multiple uses of technical gadgets. I am sure there may be a good number of people who have the 6th generation nano and have not even thought of using it as a watch, nevermind connecting it to their amp throught he line out/in. Those people would, most likely, not be your readers though, would they?

    That being said the article was well written and had good content, thanks.

  • Actually, those people would be our readers. As would the people who have been using line out cables for 10 years. You don’t have to know it all to be interested in technology, and we cater to both ends of the scale.

  • I was wrong. Your site is not tech news. You have just defined it as a tech fluff. Had I known that I wouldn’t have bothered with the rant, much as I have enjoyed it. Please forgive my ignorance and grating sarcasm.

    By the way, is it a Norwegian or Danish name? Just curious.

    If you manage to get your hands on that new Moto gizmo with a GPS – before it becomes public or within the first few days of it’s release – please let me know as it looks interesting and I enjoy the structure of your article. No, I am not afilitated with Moto in any way. I am just interested in actual tech “news” and this is an item I have very little information on that (beside the fact that it has specs remarkably similar to an iPod Nano with a GPS for tracking running/walking) I might buy once it’s reviewed propperly.

  • Avatar of Daniel Davis

    Now now, Emmanuelle-

    Pocketables isn’t a “fluff” site. Yes, it’s not a “hard news” site, but that’s one of the good things about it. It’s a site for pocket computing enthusiasts, written by those selfsame enthusiasts. Yes, some of the… er… advocacy… of certain platforms on here can be a bit much (such as a certain Apple fanatic staff member here who makes me groan every time he reviews an iPod). But would you want a site written by people who weren’t enthusiastic about the stuff they review?

  • You are right. It’s not fluff. If it was I wouldn’t read it sometimes. But his claim to “cater to both ends of the scale” was just too sweet to pass up.

    I don’t see the enthusiast in this particular article though. I mean, he actually claimed the watch faces where a “stamp of approval” from Apple when there was a watch face when it came out. Apple stores started carrying watch bands for it back in, what, May of this year, perhaps before then? It seems to me this guy has never even handled a Nano or even bothered doing research on one before writing the article – however well written it is (I liked the link about Kickstarter in it).

  • It seems to me like you just want to argue. That’s fine. I suggest checking out the Pocketables forums, where there are plenty of people that you can argue with. Personally, sarcastic comments about timing and remarks about not doing research is not something I appreciate, and not something I consider constructive, so I would suggest you go somewhere else if the articles are not to your liking.

  • Avatar of danindenver

    Wow! Where do I get me one?


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