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Buy an iPod for Everyone on Your List (and Maybe an iPhone or iPad, too)

Who Should Get Which iPod


With four iPod models available this holiday season - and the 2 iPhones and 2 iPads - 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 nano? What's the big difference between a nano and a Shuffle?

Anyone who opens wrapping paper to find an iPod or iPhone this holiday season will be thrilled, but you can please your friends and family even more if you get just the right iOS device to match their lives and interests.

This guide to each iPhone, iPod, and iPad--and what kind of person to buy it for--should go a long way to making your recipients happy.

1. iPod touch

5th Generation iPod touch
image copyright Apple Inc.

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 1,000,000-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

7th Generation iPod nano
image copyright Apple Inc.

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

4th Generation Apple iPod Shuffle
image copyright Apple Inc.

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

Apple iPod Classic
image copyright Apple

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 5S

iPhone 5S
image copyright Apple Inc.

There used to be just one new iPhone model a year to choose from. Now, though, there's two, and the people they're for are pretty different. The iPhone 5S will be most appreciated by:

  • Power users. The iPhone 5S is packed with the latest, most advanced features, including the 64-bit Apple A7 chip (the first 64-bit chip in a smartphone) and the M7 motion co-processor. If you've got a technophile on your list, they'll love to have these new features.
  • Photographers. The iPhone 5S's camera is deceptive: it has the same megapixel specs as the 5C, but it takes much better pictures. This is due to dual-flash, larger pixels (which result in better photos), and other improvements. The 5S can even take up to 10 photos per second and slow motion video, something no other iOS device offers.
  • People who want more security. The 5S has the Touch ID fingerprint scanner built into the Home button, which makes security tighter than with a standard passcode.

6. iPhone 5C

iPhone 5C
image copyright Apple Inc.

The iPhone 5C doesn't pack all of the advanced features of the 5S, but it's still a great phone. In fact, it's nearly identical to last year's iPhone 5, just with a new, colorful backing. Combine new looks with a solid product, and then add in its lower price, and the 5C will be a hit with:

  • 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 5C has a library of terrific mobile games.
  • Gadget lovers who want the most powerful smartphone around.

7. iPad Air

iPad Air
image copyright Apple Inc.

Apple's smash hit iPad--the newest model being the iPad Air--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 screen looks great playing video.
  • Folks looking for a second computer. For most users, the iPad Air 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.
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8. iPad mini

iPad Mini with Retina Display
image copyright Apple Inc.

With its beautiful Retina Display screen and great portability, the iPad Mini is a terrific tablet. It offers practically everything that the iPad Air does in a smaller package--and at a lower price. People who will love the iPad Mini include:

  • People who want portability. The iPad Mini is the full iPad experience, just with a slightly smaller screen and a quarter of a pound lighter. The makes it a terrific tablet for anyone looking to carry less weight on the go.
  • Book lovers in particular. Because the iPad Mini weighs just three-quarters of a pound, it's terrific for holding for a long time, or one handed, while reading.
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  3. iPhone / iPod
  4. iPhone & iPod touch
  5. Buying or Upgrading iPhone
  6. Past iOS Holiday Buying Guides
  7. Holiday Buying Guide 2009
  8. Buy An iPod For Everyone on Your List - Holiday Buying Guide 2013

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