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iPod Buying Guide: Which iPod Should I Buy

Which iPod should I buy? This article is just a iPod buying guide about this, don't go away.

Well, in my opinion, it depends a lot on the money you have to spend and what you'd like that iPod to do. To help make choices of how to choose an iPod more clear, let's look at this year's lineup of Apple's portable media players.

iPod shuffle

Today's $49 4G iPod shuffle looks very similar to the 2G shuffle of yore but, unlike that earlier iPod model, if you care to you can navigate the device by holding down a VoiceOver button (or pressing the controller on the optional $29 Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic).

Best for: Athletes (and wanna-be athletes); kids; those who like to press play and go about their business; anyone seeking a spare, kick-around iPod.

Not for: People looking for easy navigation of their music library; those wanting to carry lots of music; individuals desiring an iPod on which to watch videos.

iPod nano

A software update issued in the fall of 2011 added a number of stylish clock faces to the nano for those who like to wear it as a watch. The iPod nano is now very much a music player and little else.

Available in 8GB ($129) and 16GB ($149) capacities and in seven colors (silver, gray, blue, green, orange, pink and Product Red) the 6G iPod nano is, in some ways, more like a display-bearing iPod shuffle than a successor to the 5G iPod nano. It earns this comparison due to its small size and lack of hardware play controls--you play and navigate through it via on-screen touch controls or with an optional headset that features an inline controller. And for some people--those who want a lightweight, more navigable, higher-capacity iPod for their workouts, for example--that's perfect. It's also a cute little thing.

Best for: Exercising iPod owners; older kids who can be trusted to not lose it; public transportation commuters; anyone who wants to carry a reasonable amount of music in a stylish package.

Not for: Individuals desiring an iPod on which to watch videos or keep contacts, calendars, and notes; those who find a touch interface isn't appropriate for every purpose.

iPod classic

The $249 iPod classic is available in silver or black in a single 160GB capacity. It will carry 40,000 4-minute songs encoded at 128-kbps AAC, which works out to a little more than 111 days of continuous music. Additionally, it can play videos and show images on its 2.5-inch color display and hold contacts, calendars, and notes. Nothing new, nothing particularly flashy, just a whole lot of room to store all or the bulk of your media library.

Best for: People who want to take all (or a large portion) of their iTunes media libraries with them.

Not for: Those for whom capacity isn't as important as an iPod touch's feature set; the visually impaired and blind, who would find it very difficult to navigate this iPod's interface.

iPod touch

The iPod touch comes in three capacities--8GB, 32GB, and 64GB--priced respectively at $199, $299, and $399. These models, in ascending order, hold 1750 128-kbps AAC-encoded songs or 10 hours of video, 7000 songs or 40 hours of video, and 14,000 songs or 80 hours of video. While the iPod touch may not match the capacity of the iPod classic, a 64GB iPod touch that can hold 40 two-hour movies is nothing to sneeze at.

Best for: Those who want to enjoy most of the advantages of add-on applications, the iTunes Store, the iBookstore, Wi-Fi access to the Internet (and all that comes with it, including iTunes Match), an always-with-you still and video camera, FaceTime, and portable video, but don't need a phone.

Not for: Those looking for an exercise-only iPod--it's a little bulky and, with its glass screen, you don't want to drop it on a locker room's tile floor or the jogging trail. People seeking the best retina display and rear-facing camera Apple offers in a portable device.

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