iPod Buyer's Guide

Apple iPod Information Center
iPod Buyers' Guide
iPod Service Plan Guide
iPod touch Resource Center
About iPod touch
iPod touch Accessories
iPod nano Resource Center
About iPod nano
iPod nano Accessories
iPod classic Resource Center
About iPod classic
iPod classic Accessories
iPod shuffle Resource Center
About iPod shuffle
iPod shuffle Accessories

How to buy an iPod – Which iPod is for you?

Eleven years on and the iPod remains the most popular and most coveted portable MP3 player around. It has captivated the masses since its first release in 2001 and, over the years, Apple has successfully launched several models to expand (and improve on previous models of) the iPod family. The current lineup includes the shuffle, nano, classic, and touch. Each one has its own appeal, and if you are ever planning on purchasing one, then this guide on how to buy an iPod can help you identify the perfect one for you.

Storage capacity: How much space do you need?

The iPod line comes in a range of storage capacities. The iPod shuffle has the smallest with 2GB and 4GB. At the other end of the pole is the iPod classic, which comes in 160GB options, while the iPod nano and the iPod touch fall in the middle of the pack. If you prefer to have an extensive array of media content on hand, then the classic is the clear choice with its mammoth hard drive.

Music+photos+video: What multimedia features do you want?

All the iPods, except for the shuffle which can only play audio files, allow you to listen to music, view pictures, and watch videos, but they do vary in screen size. The iPod classic and the latest generation of iPod nano sports a 2.5-inch display, while the iPod touch has an impressive 4-inch Retina display. Battery life varies as well. The classic, which is primarily built as a beefed-up portable multimedia device, comes up on top with up to 36 hours of audio playback or 6 hours of video playback. The nano and touch are not too far behind. The nano has up to 24 hours of battery life, while the touch boasts of 40 hours of audio and 6 hours of video playback.

Web-access: Do you want to surf the internet?

The touch is the only iPod that supports Wi-Fi for hassle-free wireless connection to any open Wi-Fi network. Surfing the web is easy with Apple's Safari browser, and simple via the touchscreen display that features a keyboard and multi-touch navigation. The touch’s ability to connect to the internet allows you to extend its functionality beyond the normal MP3 device. You can download games and other applications through the Apps Store, so you can turn your touch into a truly multi-functional portable machine.

Which iPod fits your lifestyle?

If you plan to take your iPod with you to the gym or the trail, you should consider one with a flash-based hard drive. You have three options here: the shuffle, the nano, and the touch, but you may want to leave the touch out since you would likely want something light and compact. The shuffle is the smaller of the two and it easily attaches via the built-in clip. In keeping with the compact concept, it does away with the display screen to make navigation simple and straightforward. But what you gain in convenience you lose in extra features that you find in the nano. You can slip it in your pocket and still have plenty of room for your car keys or mobile phone. It is not too shabby for its diminutive size. It's about the length and width of a credit card but packs music, video, radio, among others, in features. The shuffle comes in 5 different eye-catching colors while the nano offers 9 electrifying colors, so either model makes for a great fashion accessory.

If you are serious about your music and want your massive music library with you at all time, then the classic is right up your alley. It holds up to 40,000 songs which you can enjoy for up to 36 hours. You can load it up with your favorite movies and all the seasons of your favorite television programs too. With the classic, you never have to compromise – the huge storage space can accommodate all the media content you want. Apple has updated this model (from its predecessor, the 4th generation video iPod) with a bigger hard drive, longer battery life, and a new anodized aluminum face, but still retained that unmistakable iPod design that the world fell in love with when it first came out.

If you want the entire multimedia experience in one super-sleek device, then check out the touch. It has the same gorgeous design and revolutionary interface as the iPhone. Not only can you enjoy your music and videos on the go, but you can connect to the web as well. Plus, with thousands of apps available from the App Store, it's more than just a handheld device. It is like having your computer in the palm of your hand.

Budget: How much are you willing to shell out?

iPod costs vary depending on the features and the storage space you want on the iPod. The shuffle is the least expensive at $45.98 for its 2 GB model. The iPod touch, on the other hand, starts at $294 for its 16 GB model. For first-time iPod buyers, the nano is the perfect candidate; it's got everything you need in one affordable little package, starting at just $147.