With four iPod models available this holiday season - and the iPhone and iPad - your choices for gifts are more complicated than they've been since you had to decide between Beta and VHS. Is an iPod touch better than a Classic? What's the big difference between a nano and a Shuffle?
Anyone who opens wrapping paper to find an iPod this holiday season will be thrilled, but you can thrill your friends and family even more if you get just the right iPod for their lives and interests.
This guide to each iPod, and what kind of person to buy it for, should go a long way to making your recipients happy.
1. iPod touch
People who will love the iPod touch include people who want:
- Their iPod to do a bit of everything. The touch stores up to 14,000 songs or 80 hours of video, its high-resolution 4-inch screen is great for video, and built-in Wi-Fi allows users to browse the web or check email.
- The 700,000-plus games and apps at the App Store make the touch endlessly fun and useful.
- A PDA with a music player built-in. The touch includes a calendar, address book, and email program.
- Great battery life. The touch offers up to 40 hours battery life.
- To please their teenagers. With the multitude of features, teens love the touch.
- A sleek gadget. The touch weighs just 3.1 ounces and slips easily into a pocket.
2. iPod nano
The iPod nano occupies the middle of the iPod line--it's not too expensive, but doesn't have huge storage capacity. It has a lot of features, but doesn't support apps. The 7th gen. nano is a big improvement over the 6th, bringing back some old features that had been missing and adding some good new ones. The nano is very affordable: it costs just $149.
The iPod nano is great for:
- The music lover who wants to tote up to 4,000 songs.
- People who want to watch short videos, or look at their photos, on the go.
- Exercisers who use Nike+ to track their workouts (Nike+ is built into this nano).
- The first-time iPod owner. With terrific iPod features and style, the nano is a great step into the world of the iPod.
3. iPod Shuffle
One major thing sets the iPod Shuffle apart from all other iPods - it doesn't have a screen. Instead, the Shuffle is a tiny square with a few buttons on the front and a clip on the back. Despite lacking a screen, the Shuffle can be a great gift for people who:
- Exercise a lot. Because the Shuffle is almost ridiculously small and light (0.44 ounces), it's a great workout companion for joggers, bikers, or anyone else who liked music while exercising.
- Have a limited budget. Want to give an iPod, but short on funds? With a Shuffle, you can give the 2GB model for just $49 - at that price, it's practically a stocking stuffer!
4. iPod Classic
With its huge 160 GB hard drive and sizable screen, the iPod Classic is perfect for:
- Music lovers with gigantic iTunes libraries. Apple says the Classic can hold 40,000 songs or 200 hours of video.
- Music fans who want to watch the occasional music video, TV show, or movie. Movie lovers who watch a lot of video may want the bigger screen offered by the iPod touch.
- Those not concerned about a little extra weight or size.
- Lovers of the classic iPod size and shape.
The Classic is getting a little long in the tooth, though, and lacks many modern features (like Internet access or the App Store), so make sure this is absolutely the right gift for your recipient before buying it. In many cases, an iPod touch with 64 GB of storage may be better.
5. iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 is better than ever, and though it's not technically an iPod, it grew out of the iPod line. It's a complicated gift because it comes with a two-year cell phone contract, but it's also the most full-featured music, video, and app device from Apple. The iPhone 5 could be great for:
- College students. If you've got a child in college, they've got a cell phone (which you're probably paying for) and might have/want an iPod. Why not combine the two?
- People on the go--with a phone, music player, and always-on Internet access, the iPhone is terrific for someone always out and about.
- Mobile video makers.
- Game lovers. With the App Store, the iPhone 5 has a library of terrific mobile games.
- Gadget lovers who want the most powerful smartphone around.
Apple's smash hit iPad or iPad mini makes for a great (though somewhat expensive) gift. With a feature set largely derived from the iPhone, it will be loved by:
- Gamers. With its big touchscreen and App Store support, it offers a great gaming experience.
- Movie lovers. The 9.7-inch (or 7-inch on the mini) screen looks great playing video.
- Folks looking for a second computer. For most users, the iPad is a great laptop replacement.
- Book lovers. With the iBooks app and store, as well as the Kindle app, readers can bring an entire library with them.