iPod Nano review The new (fourth generation) Nano was evaluated for Access IT magazine in October 2008 by Stephen N Plumbton, one of RNIB's technology officers. Here is some of what he had to say: "Apple has released the new iPod Nano in a variety of colours and in 8 Gigabyte or 16 Gigabyte guises. The menu structure on the iPod can now be spoken using a synthetic voice, so now if you can’t see the iPod screen, you will not be left wondering what tracks you have downloaded or have selected to play. "The great news is that this is an iPod that anyone can buy and use, not a specialist product or needing an add-on for blind or partially sighted people to use. This is the first talking iPod to come to the market. "The spoken interface can be used on a Macintosh or Windows PC but you must use iTunes version 8. When the iPod is plugged in the first time, it will begin to charge up the battery. Eventually a start up screen appears which allows you to choose how you want to set up the iPod. One of the tick box options is “spoken menus”. Tick this box if you want iPod menus to be spoken. "The voice used is a synthetic voice (i.e. computer generated voice) so might not be totally clear or understandable. The voice used is the one chosen in Speech in System preferences folder on a Mac and the speech folder in the Control Panel on a Windows PC. These are text to speech voices that are installed on your computer's hard drive. The more synthesizers you have installed then the greater the number of voices you have to choose from. "The iPod has an LCD screen, which is approximately half of the height of the device. Below the screen is a touch wheel. This touch wheel is made up of four buttons that can be pressed - so left side of the wheel is rewind or backwards but also can be volume down, the right side of the wheel when pressed is fast forward or volume up. The top of the wheel is Menu and the bottom of the wheel when pressed toggles between play and pause. The touch wheel can also be used as a touch sensitive scroll wheel. Sliding your finger around the wheel will move backwards or forward through the menus. Finally the inside of the wheel acts as an on and off button. "To listen to tracks simply move through your menu list of tracks and press play on the one you want to hear. If you want to browse for another track whilst listening to a song, the iPod fades the music playing into the background while speaking the menu contents. Once you finish navigating in the menus the song returns to the set volume. "The iPod has an accelerometer built in so it can detect which way it is being held up. This is mainly as a feature for sighted users viewing photos, movies or downloads. However the accelerometer allows the iPod to detect when it is shaken. This shaking is used as the shuffle feature and a track is played randomly from the playlist. "When the iPod is your pocket, bag or even on your arm you can set it to play then disable to touch wheel functions so that it does not change songs or stop playing by accident. It's similar to keypad lock on a mobile phone. On the top left of the iPod is a tiny round slide switch. Sliding it to the right puts the iPod into keypad locked. To the left, unlock touch pad. "The display is small - after all, the device is called a Nano! However there is some accessibility built in. In the General folder the backlight, brightness, font size can be adjusted. The font adjustment has two settings: standard and large. Large is approximately 14 point print size. The colour scheme appears to be set as black text on a white background. There is a lot of adjustment in the Brightness setting if people find the bright white background causes glare however contrast does deteriorate if the brightness is turned down low. A useful feature is the "clicker", which registers movement on the touch wheel by clicking through menu items."