Pick the right iPod


In 2001, Apple introduced the 5GB iPod. At first it wasn’t the amazing success it is today, but soon people realized that Apple’s hardware/software integration made the MP3 player experience that much better. Soon Apple came out with different models, and today there are 4 models to choose from. Each model has benefits and drawbacks that make it best for a specific type of user.

Continuing on from my Pick the right Mac post, here is a guide to pick the right iPod for your music listening needs.

iPod shuffle

As the smallest, cheapest and simplest iPod in Apple’s lineup, the iPod shuffle is best suited as a second iPod or as an introductory MP3 player for a child. The shuffle does not have a screen, which means songs are either played at random, or continuously from a selected playlist. Playing songs this way, as well as the 1 or 2 GB storage limit, makes the shuffle unsuitable for users who like having access to every song in their iTunes library. Instead, the shuffle should be used by active users listening to a single playlist, as the flash storage medium means songs will not skip.

Good for:

  • Active users
  • Users with small music libraries
  • Children
  • Accompanying a larger, more expensive iPod

Not so good for:

  • Users with large music libraries
  • Those who want access to any song they own

iPod nano

As the second member of the iPod family, the nano is a compromise between the flash-based shuffle and full sized, hard drive based iPod classic. The nano currently comes in 4 or 8 GB sizes, and the 2nd generation player has video capabilities, though watching an epic widescreen movie on the tiny screen may become tiresome. The nano also does not skip music, making it good for active users, but the smaller storage capacities means you will need to pick and choose which music the device will store.

Good for:

  • Users with larger libraries
  • Active users
  • Smaller budgets
  • Watching occasional videos

Not so good for:

  • People who lose things
  • Users who want access to their entire libraries

iPod classic

The iPod classic is the closest relative to the iPod that started it all. Available in 80 or 160 GB sizes, this iPod has enough room to store your entire music collection, and still have some space left for TV shows or movies. Similar to the nano, the classic uses Apple’s acclaimed click wheel for navigation. Scrolling through long lists becomes exceptionally easy, and the interface is very intuitive. For users looking to have access to their entire library on the go, this is the only choice.

Good for:

  • Very large music collections
  • Watching more videos
  • Accessing every song you own

Not so good for:

  • Active users
  • Users with small libraries
  • Smaller checkbooks

iPod touch

When the iPhone was introduced in January 2007, many people — me included — immediately hoped that Apple would release an iPod with the revolutionary touch screen, but without the phone and associated costs. The iPod touch is that product. It uses the same touchscreen panel and multi-touch interface as the iPhone, but has connectivity limited to WiFi. I use the touch as my only iPod, and with applications like Safari, Mail, and Address Book, it does the work of a PDA nicely. With the release of iPhone software 2.0 on July 11, the functionality is further increased. In my opinion, this is the best iPod to come out of Cupertino for a long time.

Good for:

  • Mobile users
  • Staying connected
  • Replacing another iPod and PDA
  • Watching videos
  • Playing games (with the 2.0 upgrade)

Not so good for:

  • Small pocketbooks
  • Users with basic multimedia needs

[tags]iPod, Apple, shuffle, classic, touch, nano[/tags]

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2 comments on “Pick the right iPod
  1. Tony Hofland says:

    Hey Wesg,

    What should I do with my son who wants to work at any Apple Store, but can’t get his head out of the garbage he’s into everyday. Thoughts?

    Tony H

  2. wesg says:

    @Tony Hofland
    Well, I’d tell him to quit picking up garbage, and write a blog until someone at Apple notices!

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