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iPod touch: Everything You Need to Know

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5th Generation iPod nano

5th Generation iPod nano

image copyright Apple Inc.

Apple’s iPod touch is one of the most popular MP3 players today. It’s popular in large part, though, because it’s not just an MP3 player. Thanks to the iTunes Store and App Store, it’s also a web browsing device, a portable game system, and a video player.

The iPod touch, sometimes incorrectly called the “iTouch,” occupies the top of the iPod line at Apple – in fact, it’s just a few steps away from being an iPhone. The iPod touch has long been referred to as “an iPhone without the phone” – and that’s basically correct. These days, there are very few hardware differences. They both even run the same operating system: the iOS.

iPod touch Models

The iPod touch debuted in Sept. 2007 and has been updated a few times since. The models are:

1st Generation – The original model. Offered 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB of storage and Internet connection via WiFi.

2nd Generation - This model offered a better battery and added additional hardware features such as an accelerometer, updated shape, and Nike+ integration. Capacity and networking features were the same.

3rd Generation – Capacity bumped up here to 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, and the device gained greater performance thanks to a faster chip and more powerful graphics hardware.

4th Generation – This model gained the high-resolution Retina Display screen, two cameras including one that records video at 720p HD, and support for FaceTime.

5th Generation - This model of the touch is very similar to the iPhone 5. It includes a 4-inch screen, the speedy A5 processor, support for Siri, and is very light and thin.

Hardware Features

While the early models of the iPod touch featured the same set of hardware features that users can interface with, the 5th generation adds some new ones:

Screen – The 4-inch high resolution, multitouch, Retina Display screen is the same as the one used in the iPhone and includes the same features, like zooming in and out by pinching. The 4th generation touch and earlier used a 3.5-inch screen. The Retina Display screen was introduced with the 4th gen. model.

Home button – The button on the bottom center of the face of the iPod touch is used in many functions, including:

Hold button – This button on the top right corner of the touch locks the screen and puts the device to sleep.

Volume control – On the right side of the touch is a button that can be pressed in two directions, one each to raise or lower the volume.

Wi-Fi – The touch accesses the Internet via Wi-Fi, with all three models using 802.11b/g standards. The 5th gen. model includes support for both the 2.5 Ghz and 5 Ghz Wi-Fi bands

Dock Connector – This slot on the bottom of the touch is used to sync content between a computer and the device. The 5th gen. model uses the smaller Lightning connector, while all earlier models used the traditional 30-pin version.

Accelerometer – A sensor that allows the touch to respond to how the device is held and moved. This is most often used in games and gives players more immersive and interesting ways to control onscreen action.

Buying an iPod touch

As of May 2013, Apple had sold over 100 million iPod touches. If you’re considering joining the fun, you may want to consider:

To help guide your buying decision, check out reviews of the iPod touch and iPod accessories.

Compare prices on iPod touch at multiple stores

Setup and Use

Once you’ve gotten your new iPod touch, you’ll need to set it up. The set up process is pretty easy and quick, and once you’ve completed it, you can get to the good stuff, like:

If your iPod touch is an upgrade from another iPod or MP3 player, you may have music that’s only on your old device that you want to get onto your hard drive before setting up your iPod touch. There are a few ways to do this, but the easiest is probably by using third-party software.

iPod touch Help

While the iPod touch is a great multimedia device, it’s not completely trouble free. In your early days of using it, you may run into situations where it freezes and you need to restart it.

You’ll also want to take precautions with your touch and yourself, such as avoiding hearing loss or theft, and how to save your touch if it gets very wet.

Later in its life, you may start to notice some degradation of the touch’s battery life. When that time comes, you’ll need to decide whether to buy a new MP3 player or look into battery replacement services.

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