Rumor: next iPod nano is taller, has home button, integrates with iTunes

The otherwise pretty reliable Japanese blog Macotakara reported today that Apple’s iPod nano music player is undergoing a major redesign later this year, focusing on a taller appearance akin to the previous-generation model.

In addition, the rumored device is said to have gained a home button and some sort of iTunes integration. Macotakara previously leaked parts of both the new iPad and iPad 3 and reported the next iPhone would launch this fall so you shouldn’t dismiss this new piece of information as an unreliable rumor from a shady source…

Macotakara has the story (machine-translated), citing a “reliable source” from China:

The new iPod nano, a small square off the body, is again back to the portrait style. Size is the size of three-fourths of the (5th generation) iPod nano, is thinner than the part so that the body was removed from the clip (6th generation) iPod nano. That a click wheel is no resurrection is like, it seems a hole for the buttons such as a home button.

As for the home button, Apple removed all physical buttons from the front of the iPod shuffle in March 2009 only to put back both the buttons and the trademark click wheel a year later. Taking this into consideration, it’s entirely conceivable that the company could pull a similar thing with the iPod nano.¬†Macotakara provided this rendering of the device, based on the description from the source.

This is what the next iPod nano could look like. Mockup: Taiyo Fujii

The poor translation suggests that the device could feature some sort of iTunes integration, letting you take “full advantage of the music service”, perhaps through direct WiFi connection to Apple’s music store.

If true, this could be pretty big as users would be able to presumably use an iTunes client on the device to perhaps tag and purchase songs on the go.

For comparison, the previous-generation iPod nano is pictured right below.

The current-generation iPod nano, pictured at the top, features a rectangular design with no physical buttons. Instead, the device is operated through familiar multitouch gestures such as swipe.¬†It’s got a load of built-in apps, is powered by an iOS-esque operating system and has inspired a bunch of wrist bands and iWatch mockups.

Apple usually updates the iPod lineup around fall so we may learn more about this new iPod in a few weeks time. The current-generation iPod nano was last redesigned nearly two years ago, in September of 2010, so it’s fairly safe to assume that a significant design change would be in the cards.

I’m not using my iPod nano much these days as I’m using Spotify and Apple’s Music app on my iPhone to listen to music wherever I go, but this rumored new iPod nano surely sounds intriguing.

Would you be willing to buy it, if the rumor pans out?