This is very interesting to look at. As you may know, Apple redesigned the iPod nano about midway through last year, and now it looks more like an iPod shuffle with a touchscreen. It's not unusual to see Apple play with designs like that, sometimes they change things up to see if a new idea works. If it doesn't they seem to kind of revert to an older design with some new touches.
We're not saying that is the case this time, as Apple is probably just filing a patent to keep others from taking this design. It's last-generations iPod nano, buttons and all:
A handheld computing device is disclosed. The handheld computing device includes a seamless housing formed from an extruded tube. The extruded tube includes open ends and internal rails which serve as a guide for slidably assembling an operational assembly through the open ends of the extruded tube, a reference surface for positioning the operational assembly relative to an access opening in the seamless housing, and a support structure for supporting the operational assembly during use.
Truth is, the patent application itself isn't anything particularly interesting. What is very cool, however, is that it explains the construction of the device a bit and shows some cool drawings of the various components.
It's interesting to see the unibody design in all their products, as the description above explains, the nano is just a tube with pieces at the end to hold the media player's internals.
We have a few of the drawings below, but you can read the full application here.