Even Apple’s most fanatical followers are sheepishly admitting that the UI of the firm’s latest iPod nano is laughably terrible, with bizarre, round icons that bear no resemblance at all to Apple’s normally beautiful products. But I have a (humorous) theory about why the iPod nano is so horrible. It’s because Apple promised not to copy Microsoft’s products.

More specifically, by not copying the design of Windows Phone, which feature large, finger-friendly (and more expressive) live tiles, Apple has instead been forced to compromise on the design of the iPod nano.

I know, I know. You’re thinking that Microsoft agreed to not copy Apple, not the other way around. And you’re thinking that because that’s how the mainstream media reported this situation. But that premise is wrong. As part of a cross-licensing of mobile patents, both companies agreed not to copy each other. So Apple agreed not to copy Microsoft too. They agreed not to copy Microsoft’s mobile products.

Apple agreed not to copy Windows Phone.

The thing is, if Apple had used square icons, it could have resulted in something that looked just like Windows Phone, but without the benefits of the Windows Phone UI’s tiles, which include live updates and dynamic information.

So consumers will get this misguided piece of junk:

nano-awful

Instead of a device that looks like this:

nano-ripoff

And admit it, even with static “tiles,” that latter design does look better. Still ugly, but better.

Just a (humorous) thought. :)