~~ Complete iPod Buying Guide to All Models ~~
An iPod is simply a music player. But recently it has become so much more. Photo viewing, games, video, and other features have elevated the simple concept of a music player into a new level. A level which cannot be duplicated by any other music players. Since its introduction in 2001 for the Mac and 2002 for Windows, it has grown to become one of the most popular consumer electronic devices. The Christmas Season fuels much of this market. It continues to be a hot item every year, and with Apple constantly developing new models and features, such as the new iPod Nano, it will likely remain like this. Before the nano, iPod dominated music player sales by controlling 90 percent of the hard-drive based players and 70 percent of the market for all players. This guide will teach you everything you will need to know to make an informed buying decision. I will cover all models currently on the market with detailed information.
The Ipod Family
~ Nano ~
Descendant of the no longer produced mini, this model has seen great success after its initial release in September. The newest addition to the family most noticeably features a color screen and very small and sleek design. Is 3.5 inches tall, 1.6 inches wide, and an impressive 0.27 inch... Get the full iPod Nano Review (guide was split up becuase of character limits on guides)
~ iPod Shuffle ~
The iPod shuffle may seem very primitive, especially if you just read the section about the Nano above. Lacking a screen, wheel controller, large song capacity, and basically all features seen on other iPod models, the shuffle may seem not worth mentioning. However, just as all models, the shuffle will appeal to specific users. These are the users looking for two things. First, it is the most affordable iPod available, which will appeal to customers looking to save money. Secondly, it will appeal to people who would like to use it to work out or are just generally looking for a small durable player. It is, in fact, the smallest iPod available weighing in at nearly half the weight of the nano. If you are not looking for a player for either of the reasons stated above than you will have trouble justifying your purchase as I did. I particularly had trouble justifying its value. What is so special about his model that other music players do not have that sell for a lower price? Do I want to spend $99 or $149 for a very basic player? This decision will be left to you at the end. I will present all the facts and put it up head to head not only with other iPod models but also with other company’s music players. That is the only way you will make an informed decision and not just simply buying because it is an iPod.
For previous owners of the iPod and the mini, it will be difficult to cram your library into the very small capacity. It comes in two sizes, one is 512 MB and the other is 1 GB for an extra $50. That equates to about 120 and 240 songs, which is not bad for typical users. The USB connector located on the bottom under the cap is useful and efficient to use when using the shuffle as a removable drive. I found this to be the best feature for it ended the need to carry small capacity drives around. But using it this way will also decreased your song capacity further. This fact never bothered me thought. I never actually kept more than fifty songs on it at a time. This was due to the fact that it is very difficult to find certain songs to play without a display. You will not be able to view song titles, song times, or anything you do with other models. The name shuffle suggests that it is good at playing songs in shuffle mode. A very simple concept that I enjoy when I am doing work and don’t have time to find certain songs anyway. The shuffle feature, however, is seen on almost every music player model ever created. I would rather use the shuffle mode on a player with a screen available also. Regular sequential music playing is also an option. A new feature created specifically for the shuffle is the ability to make a custom play order list with the itunes software. This will basically give you the ability to play songs in the order that you want.
The shuffle was a great idea after its initial release in January 2005. But soon after the recent release of the nano, the shuffle no longer seemed like a logical purchase. It was specifically designed to play your favorite songs in a portable enclosure. It accomplished this task successfully. However, now you can get a nano for only fifty more dollars! A huge step up for a very small price difference. The feature list between the two is incomparable. The only thing the shuffle has over the nano is that it is substantially more durable. Unless if you are a rock climber, or specifically require a durable player, the shuffle will not be a likely option compared to other iPod models. The shuffle resembles the entire line of ipods in its white design. The clickwheel seen on other models has been left out on the shuffle. Since there is no need to navigate menus, the clickwheel has been replaced with a five-button interface. The play pause button is in the center, fast forward/backward is to the left and right, and the volume up and down is above and below the center button. On the rear you will find a three-position power switch which you use to turn it one, randomize play, and play in sequential order. A color changing light display can also be found on the back. This will let you know of the batteries current power.
There is even more bad news for the shuffle when we compare it to the competing players on the market. Apple has successfully dominated the high priced music player market since its initial iPod introduction. The shuffle was entered into the very competitive low priced market. Its relative success was due largely in part to the effective advertising and the iPod family’s reputation. There are a numerous amount of players that have the same specifications as the shuffle, and also have a display, that sell for less. For instance, you can buy a player of the same size, 512 MB capacity, and made by a good company for $70. For a 1 GB player you will pay only $100. Do you understand why I don’t praise the shuffle now? Do a comparison for yourself. The best sites to do this are pricewatch.com and newegg.com.
~ iPod Mini ~
This model is exactly what the name attached to it implies. A miniature version of the original iPod that comes in five wonderful colors. Its perfect combination of small size, large capacity, and great styling made it an instant hit after its initial release in 2004. Today it is no longer produced, following the release of the nano, and will only be seen in stores until the remaining quantities are sold.
The iPod mini is a close replica of its bigger brother. The most obvious difference would be, of course, the appearance. The outer surface of the mini is made by a seamless piece of anodized-aluminum, giving it a smooth, sturdy feel to it. It is also shorter, thinner, and weights about forty percent less at 3.6 ounces. The hardest decision you may have to make when buying might just be which color you desire. The mini is available in four fashionable colors, silver, blue, pink, and green which highlight the new curvier styling. A seamless piece of anodized aluminum gives the mini a smooth attractive exterior finish. This durable iPod is very effective and hiding its age. It is infinitely more scratch resilient than the models forged of chrome and acrylic. No case is ne No case is ne No case is neookie. The monochrome display is easy to read and view at all times, as well as in a dark setting, assisted with the enhanced backlights. Slightly recessed behind the outer surface, this 100 by 100 resolution five-line display is very strong and would be difficult to crack even if you were to try. Being the complete paradox of the nanos construction, this model will be literally unfazed by digs, drops, and thumps. Its most delicate part is the internal one-inch hard drive, which can handle slightly less abuse than the outer cover. The hard rive is also susceptive to skipping, but remains perfect for jogging with an enhanced anti skip protection for up to 26 minutes. The innovative click wheel design, first introduced on the mini and then extended to other models, is almost seamlessly blended with the outer plate covering. The smooth circular design proves to be very functional as well as uncomplicated, a concept all other companies have a great deal of trouble duplicating. It also aids in the effortless navigation of the easy to use menu structure. Navigation thru hundreds of songs is a breeze with a simple twirl of the finger around the wheel. Another great feature exclusive to Apple. Apples tradition of excellence is also easily apparent in the sound quality of its players. The mini is no acceptation. It offers the same crisp, clear sound that the full size model puts forward.
The minis relatively short eight-hour battery life on the first generation model was elevated to 18 hours. This figure promised by Apple proved to be very conservative. I was able to use it about two hours a day for about twelve day. That is equal to nearly 24 hours of continuous play. This is the most notable difference between the first and second-generation minis. Another positive note on the battery is that it is that it is user replaceable. For the small price of about $25 you will be able to bring your battery life to maximum capacity. Aside from the battery enhancements and small cosmetic color changes, not much else has change aside from the price fall. Apples decision to discontinue to model came as a huge shock to everyone following the online iPod community. It was a logical decision though. The size of the original ipods continued to fall until there was little difference between the two. It also no longer was a portable choice with the shuffle and nano now available. However, it still remains a great player and still my second favorite and most used model behind the nano. There really is not much more information specific to the mini model alone. The mini and the original basically have the same features in different enclosures. To learn more information you should read the next section about the original models also.
~ IPod original/iPod Photo ~
We finally made it to the original iPod. This is the model that began the iPod craze, and also the one that introduced Apple to the music player market. Apple’s history of beautiful yet functional... The full iPod Original Guide (guide was split up becuase of character limits on guides)
~ Purchasing From eBay ~
EBay is the best opportunity to buy new and used ipods at discounted prices. However there are things you need to watch out for when making a purchase on eBay, especially if you are buying a used item. When buying a used item you need to be sure to read exactly what you are getting. Clear picture of the exact item you are buying is also a must. It will be the only way for you to examine the item before you buy it. Also, a sellers return policy is important. If the item does not work or is not as described, is the seller willing to refund your money? These are all things you should ask for before you buy the item. You can often times see how your transaction will turn out through how they answer emails. Do they take the time to answer your questions quickly and professionally? A good seller will put his customer first. Don’t expect anything less, especially if you are about to spend $200 or more.
So you found that perfect iPod on eBay and you have to have it. How do you get the lowest price on it? Here are several strategies you may use.
1. You are probably familiar with the sniping strategy or you have lost an item because of a sniper. The sniping strategy is basically waiting for the last minute to place your bid. Placing your bid in the final seconds of an auction will, if your bid is high enough, make you the high bidder. The other bidders will not have time to place another bid before it closes so you end up taking the item. When using this strategy your bid should be the highest price you are willing to pay. Do not place your bid at a dollar higher than the current price because you will not get it. There also will most likely be other snipers. If you choose to snipe, open several browsers to the bid page to get ready for any more bids you may want to make. Also, look at ended auctions of the same item. You want to see how much it went for to give you an idea of how much you should bid.
2. Do not place your bids in even increments. Place a bid of $3.06 or $3.56. If another bidder places a bid of $3 or $3.55 than you will win the auction.
3. Don’t bid during peak times or days. Sunday is a bad day to buy anything on eBay. This is the busiest day and this is bad for you because more people will be bidding. Afternoons are also busy times. Bidding on items ending in the middle of the night are the best. There will likely be no other snipers and most of the other bidders will be sleeping. This is a huge advantage. If you live in the PDT time zone you also have an advantage over everyone on the east coast because you are three hours behind. If you live on the east coast, wake up early one morning to buy the item. Also avoid normally busy holidays such as Christmas.
4. Seller has multiple auctions. If a seller has three items ending closely together than you can get a lower price. Skip the auction ending first; it will go for the highest price. The second auction is the one you want to bid on. Bidders for the first item will not have enough time to regroup and bid on the second item, so they will move on to the third. Not you however, you will bid on the second item. The auctions have to end together in a short period of time for this to work. This will work best in auctions where there are not to many bidders. If you are looking for a nano, however, it will not work because there will be many other sellers looking at the second auction already. If you want to buy an older model than this strategy will be more effective.
5. And finally, increase your bids by $.50 or $1. This will scare some sellers because they will see that there is a large amount of bidding activity so they think the item will go for a high price. This is more effective in the music player category because sellers can see on the search results page that there are a lot of bidders. There are usually many of the same items on sale so the buyers will just move on to these auctions.
EBay has gained a reputation for being a safe place to buy goods over the Internet. Currently, less than 1% of transactions are fraudulent. EBay has come a long way in protecting you since it’s beginning in 1995. Below is some additional information you should know to protect yourself.
1. Use Paypal. Whether the seller has buyer protection or not, Paypal will protect you for up to $1000. Please note that you must be a verified Paypal member and the item must be shipped to your verified address for you to qualify for protection. This process takes little time to complete and would be worth your while.
2. EBay also offers insurance. They offer coverage of $200 and $500 for purchases made from a PowerSeller. However, eBay will only refund this money if you do not receive the item at all. They will not refund your money if you purchase was damaged or not as described.
3. Do not use checks to pay for items! A single check contains all of the information someone would need to create more checks and defraud you. In addition to that, you will have trouble receiving a refund if something does occur, and you will not be protected for any money. Your alternative is to use a check through Paypal. This will give you the safety and protection you will need.
4. Use an Escrow service. This will cost you about 1% of the purchase price. Basically it brings a third party to the transaction. You pay the company, you receive your item, and if you are satisfied then you can release the payment to the seller. Ask the seller to use an escrow service such as escrow.com for more expensive purchases.