The iPod is the quintessential digital music player. With a massive share of the market and a stranglehold on our era’s imagery and attitude, the Apple iPod is to portable media devices as Coca-Cola is to soda pop—there are many an imitator, and even some predecessors, but the Apple iPod will always be the classic. Deciding to buy an iPod is easy—they are affordable, reliable and highly covetous across all generations. But upon setting foot in the Apple Store, you’ll notice that there are a plethora of Apple iPod models to choose from. Here’s a guide that will help you decide which one is best for you.
The iPod Classic will be the most recognizable iPod, with its dimensions resembling a deck of cards, its iconic navigational wheel and it’s squat, yet ample screen. With the iPod Classic, it’s all about the multimedia. iPod Classics can hold more songs and videos than any other iPod. It is, however, the largest and thickest of all the iPods. But when you want to have as many audiobooks, albums, photos, videos and podcasts as possible, the iPod Classic is the way to go.
The iPod Nano reinvents itself practically every year, but the principle is that it’s a smaller, more portable version of the iPod Classic. The capacity is smaller on an iPod Nano, but so is the pricetag. Geared towards the active crowd, iPod Nano also supports Nike + iPod and features a pedometer and FM tuner to keep you jamming on your jogs. Navigation comes via a multi-touch display, which can be rotated. This little number is small enough to clip to a belt buckle, messenger bag strap or lapel. Portability is the word when it comes to the iPod Nano.
The iPod Shuffle is the smallest iPod and the most affordable. It lacks many of the features of other iPods, include a display. Instead, songs are played at random, with a voiceover announcing the artist, song title and other information. Even more portable than the iPod Nano, the iPod Shuffle can also be clipped to a shirt or armband.
The iPod Touch is the most advanced of all the iPods. It’s essentially an iPhone without the phone (or the pricey contract)—you get WiFi connectivity for surfing the web, emailing, video chatting and downloading and using apps. There’s also a built-in camera that shoots HD video. In terms of capacity, the iPod Touch is second only to the iPod Classic, allowing you to pack tons of music, videos and apps onto its flash hard drive. The multi-touch screen makes for intuitive browsing and scrolling and ample opportunity for gaming.
Older and Future iPod Models
These descriptions apply to the current generation of iPod models. Note that if you are buying a used iPod, some of the features discussed here may not apply. Furthermore, Apple is constantly reinventing their line of iPod models. But in general, the iPod Classic will always be about capacity, the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle will be about portability and the iPod Touch will be about a full on, web-enabled, video and gaming experience.