It's no wonder the iPod touch is a big hit: with its roomy touchscreen, ability to play movies, music, amazing apps, full-featured web experience, and great looks, it's a terrific device. But with prices starting at around US$230, it's not exactly cheap.
The same is true of other iPods: even though some of them, like the nano, cost around $150, other MP3 players are less expensive, so saving money on an iPod is important.
So, if you want an iPod but are on a budget, you're probably looking for ways to score a cheap iPod touch. With such a popular set of products, Apple can mostly get the prices they want and getting a cheap iPod isn't easy. But here are a few tips that will help you score some savings when you buy an iPod.
Don't Wait for Sales
Apple exerts very tight control on iPod prices. Popular products can support higher prices, and because the iPod is so popular, you'll almost never see iPods on sale. Don't look for a cheap iPod that way. Apple will occasionally discount iPods around the holiday season, but you'll be lucky to save 20%--and 10% might be more realistic. Given this, if you're in the market for cheap iPods, skip the sales and try some of these ideas.
Buy the Previous Generation
You can always be sure to save a few dollars by buying an older model. If you know you're planning to buy an iPod soon, check the Apple rumor websites (I try to report the most credible rumors as they trickle out at my blog) and be patient. Wait until just after the newest model is announced or released. If you can resist the temptation to buy the latest and greatest, you can get a deal.
Instead of buying the newly announced model, buy the model that just got replaced (for example, if the 5th generation iPod touch has just been announced, target the 4th generation touch to buy). Retailers will still have the older models on hand and usually discount prices to clear space for the new ones.
While this technique you may not get the latest model, you'll still get a good, cheap iPod touch.
Even if you have to have the latest model, you can still get a cheap iPod touch by buying a refurbished unit. To get these, you'll need to wait a few weeks, or even a month or two, for Apple to start to build a stock of refurbished models. Once you do, though, you'll be getting a device that carries an Apple warranty and is generally as reliable as a new one (though you may want to buy an extended warranty). Though the discounts aren't huge using this technique, you'll save some cash and get a good warranty at the same time. Check the online Apple store for refurbished models.
Sometimes finding good deals requires looking somewhere other than Apple. Craigslist, eBay, and companies that specialize in used iPods can also offer cheap iPods. The drawbacks here include that the iPods are used, don't always have warranties, probably won't be the latest generation, and, with an auction or classified ad, you might not get what you think you're buying. Be sure to research the seller's other transactions where possible. If you're willing to take a little more risk, though, buying used is a sure bet for saving money.
Know What You're Buying
Saving money is good, but it's only a savings if you get a model that does what you want. If you going to follow the advice in this article, make sure you understand the trade-offs you're making. For instance, buying an older model means you may not get the latest and greatest hardware or software. So, before you buy, make sure you understand the plusses and minuses and are making an informed choice. If you do that, you'll be happy to have both an iPod touch and some extra money.
Have questions about the iPod touch? Ask them in the forum.