How to Buy an iPod

The iPod will be a hot-seller this holiday season — as it always is. It’s still the most stylish, easiest to use MP3 player, and the one with the largest music library thanks to Apple’s iTunes. But if someone you know is asking for an IPod this Christmas, it’s not as simple as just adding “iPod” to your online shopping cart. Here’s what you need to consider when giving an iPod as a gift.

What kinds of iPods are there?
There are four iPods currently available at Apple’s Mac Store: Touch, Nano, Shuffle and Classic. They are wildly different in function, form and, most importantly price.
iPod TouchiPod Touch

The new, basic iPod is essentially an iPhone without the ability to make phone calls. Users can play games, watch videos, access the internet and downloads Apps from Apple’s App Store. The prices vary on how much memory (for music, videos, games, etc.) they contain: 8gb is $229, 16gb is $299 and 64gb is $399.
iPod NanoiPod Nano

While the Nano has a touchscreen like the Touch, it can’t do anything other than play music. On the other hand, it does have a built-in FM radio, a fitness program, and comes in a rainbow of colors. Its 8gb model is $149, and 16gb is $179.
iPod Shuffle

iPod ShuffleThe Shuffle only also plays music — but the difference here is that users can’t select what music it plays. There’s no screen; users load their favorite songs and the Shuffle plays them randomly. It comes in all the colors of the Nano. It’s only $49, and only comes with 2gb.


iPod ClassiciPod Classic

Before the Touch, this was the regular iPod. It plays music and videos, but doesn’t do Apps or the internet. It comes in white or black, is $249, but contains a massive 160gb — that’s the equivalent of 40,000 songs.


Which iPod should you buy?
It depends on who you’re buying it for, obviously. Most folks will want the music/video/internet surfing features of the Touch (unless they already have an iPhone). Fitness buffs will love the small Nano for their workouts. Real music buffs will need the Classic to contain all their music. The Shuffle is cheap enough for people who want an MP3 player but aren’t gung-ho about any of the features.

Do you need any accessories?
Not necessarily, but consider this: all iPods only contain a USB cable, so they can be plugged into computers. If users want to be able to charge them into an electrical outlet, they’ll need the Power Adaptor ($29). Some folks find the iPod’s earphones annoying, so you might want to think about picking up another brand. And since the iPod Touch is pretty much an iPhone — in the sense that it gets carried around a lot, and can get dirty or scratched — most people prefer to have a case for them, and protectors for the screen.

Anything else you should know?
Well, iPod prices are dictated by Apple, so they never change no matter what store you go to; at best some stores might give you a free iTunes gift card with purchase. However, Apple does offer free engraving on all the iPods it sells — it’s a nice way to make giving this popular gadget a little more personal! 

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