It sounds to me like the problem is discoverabilty, not useability. Once you showed her the spin motion, all else is pretty simple. The spin motion was more discoverable on the original iPod because it actually spun.
But Apple's decision not to include manuals can only work when the product's features are discoverable. It's obvious once you've seen it, but if there's no system in place to let you see it before you use the device and no signifiers around the device itself, it's all down to luck.
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