"The iPods were bad enough when they just distracted students with violent hip-hop music," explained Karl Sobczak, the association's secretary and assistant superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools. "But at least before you couldn't shank someone in the lunchroom with one. Well, not effectively."
Apple is downplaying the concerns, though, saying that the blade - which pops out when the click-wheel is spun rapidly counter-clockwise - is just one of numerous new Nano features, including a video camera, a voice recorder and a pedometer, as well as a GPS app that can locate the nearest coffee bar.
But a source close to the company, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said the blade was among several "strange" requests from Apple CEO Steve Jobs after he returned suddenly to the company recently, his head shaved and wearing an Under Armour camo fleece pullover in place of his trademark black turtleneck.
"The knife was just the start. We had to talk him out of the laser and the grappling hook," said the source, noting those will probably debut with the next iPod Touch.