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Which iPods are currently shipping? How many songs does each iPod hold? What are the "pros and cons" of each iPod? Which should I buy?
This year, Apple brought "new features" to existing iPod models and lowered the prices rather than releasing completely new ones.
Consequently, iPod models released in 2011 are a revised "4.5" Generation iPod touch -- available in white as well as black -- and a 6th Generation iPod nano with updated software. In addition, Apple sells an unchanged from last year iPod shuffle (4th Gen) and the still available iPod classic (Late 2009).
Photo Credit: Apple, Inc.
In the above 2010 promo photo -- which Apple decided to use again in 2011 -- the iPod shuffle 4th Gen, the iPod nano 6th Gen and iPod touch 4th Gen stand side-by-side from left to right. The iPod classic is not pictured.
The major differences between these iPods are summarized below:
|Storage Capacity:||2 GB||8, 16 GB||8, 32, 64 GB||160 GB|
|Song Capacity:||500*||2000, 4000*||1750, 7K, 14K*||40,000|
|Photo Capacity:||None||7000, 14,000*||10K, 40K, 90K*||25,000|
|Video Capacity:||None||None||10, 40, 80 Hrs*||200 Hours|
|Case Colors:||Colors†||Colors††||Black, White||Silver, Black|
|Max Battery Life:||15 Hours||24 Hours||36 Hours||36 Hours|
|Shake to Shuffle:||No||Yes||Yes||No|
* Apple no longer provides "official" estimates for song capacity, photo capacity and video capacity. However, as overall capacities of these models are unchanged from the previous models, these estimates still are worthwhile to get a general idea of storage capacity.
† The iPod shuffle 4th Generation models are offered in silver (which has a black "ring") and blue, green, orange and pink (which have white "rings").
†† The iPod nano 6th Generation models are are offered in silver, graphite, blue, green, orange, pink and red. All colors are available in both 8 GB and 16 GB capacities.
§ Note that the "VoiceOver" technology provided by the iPod touch is a sophisticated "gesture-based screen reader" and the "VoiceOver" technology provided by the iPod nano and shuffle models simply reads the names of songs, artists, playlists, battery life and other related info.
The above chart provides many of the "pros and cons" of each model compared to each other, but you may find the below summary to be useful as well.
iPod shuffle 4th Gen
iPod nano 6th Gen
iPod touch "4.5" Gen
iPod classic 2nd Gen
Which iPod should I buy?
To determine which iPod you should buy, if you "should" buy an iPod at all, it is necessary to first decide which aspect of the purchase is most important to you.
If price is the most important consideration and you only need music playback capabilities and only need to play a modest collection of music at one time, consider the least expensive iPod shuffle (4th Gen) model. You also may wish to consider purchasing a used iPod or saving money until you can purchase an iPod with more features, again, assuming that you would be able to put the additional features to good use.
If music playback and working out are your main intended uses -- and you have no need for video playback, a camera, games, or video chat -- the iPod nano (6th Gen) would suit you well. If you are on a tight budget, the iPod shuffle also could meet your needs, but note it lacks a display, pedometer and Nike support.
If you want a full-fledged handheld computer with essentially complete access to the library of iOS applications and games, video chat functionality, Skype/VOIP capability, music and video playback, and more, the "4.5" Generation iPod touch is for you.
Finally, last but not least, if storage is your top priority -- you have a huge collection of music and movies that you want to be able to carry around at one time -- the increasingly vintage iPod classic (Late 2009) may be your best option. You also will want to weigh whether or not the additional features provided by a 64 GB iPod touch are more important to you than the 160 GB of storage provided by the iPod classic.
Ultimately, only you can decide which iPod is best for your needs, but by evaluating the "pros and cons" of each and which aspect of the purchase is most important to you you can make an excellent choice.
To dynamically compare any of these iPod models to all other iPod, iPhone, and iPad models -- new and old -- please see Everyi.com's Ultimate iComparison feature.