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JACK OF ALL TRADES: HOW TO BUY THE BEST iPod

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/7/2006 | Music

Apple Computers CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPod on October 23, 2001. The world has never been the same since. Initially a Mac compatible product that was supposed to put 1000 songs in your pocket, the iPod today is an MP3 music player, which can store up to 15,000 songs and 25,000 photos. It is portable, weighs an average of 6.5 oz and comes in four models: iPod shuffle with 512 MB and 1GB memory, iPod nano with 1 GB, 2 GB, and 4 GB memory, and simply the iPod (or video iPod), with 30 GB and 60 GB memory.

For all those iPod veterans casting your eyes heavenwards with weary sighs, bear with us. We couldnt resist giving the less clued in a preliminary tour of the iPod marvel. Of course, as anyone on even nodding terms with the iPod knows, how clued in you are depends on what generation your iPod belongs to. Currently, we are in the fifth generation of the iPod not including the U2 and Harry Potters collector models -- and 2001 seems a long time ago.

By now, you must be screaming at us to get to the point, which is, given all these different models, how to buy the best iPod? We must tell you straight away that if you dont have any hang-ups about buying second hand, theres a good chance that your best iPod will be older models like the iPod photo, iPod mini and first, second, third and fourth generation iPods, both online and at brick and mortar stores. Obviously, the best iPod for you will depend entirely on your budget, requirements and personal preferences.

Most important among the above considerations is how you want to use your new iPod, and how much music you want to store in it. The average user is happy playing one or two albums during a single day. In that case, an iPod shuffle will be the best iPod for you. As we mentioned, the shuffle has either a 512 MB or a 1 GB memory, and is the cheapest iPod that Apple Computers currently have on the market. Even the 512 MB Shuffle stores at least 10 albums, so you have no problems there.

However, the shuffle is the only iPod that does not have either a dock connector or a display. If you want those, the best iPod for you is the iPod nano, the unbelievably thin and sleek-looking iPod released in September 2005 replacing the iPod mini. Its 1 GB, 2 GB or 4 GB capacity is enough for most users, and though it does not play video, it does store your photographs. Besides, it is so easy to carry that you can always have it with you.

However, for the true buffs, who spend all their time listening to music, and who constantly upgrade their music library, the 30GB or 60GB iPod is ideal, of course at a higher price. The 60GB iPod gives you the power to store a few thousand music albums and a few videos, though these take up far more space than music albums. As of now, this is the only iPod that stores video, so it is also called Video iPod.

While first hand iPod prices approximately range between 350 and 450, you will obviously find cheaper prices from online auction sites as well as with individual retailers and whole sellers offering discount schemes. However, before you buy any model, make sure you know your needs. And if you are an accessories freak, your iPod model must be compatible with them. A good idea to find out what accessories work best for you and how to buy the best iPod is to look at iPod forums and blogs. And remember, for free MP3 downloads, do not just visit any old website go to Apple iTunes.