iPod Shuffle: After an initial six month update cycle that started back in 2007, the iPod Shuffle has become a somewhat forgotten model. The current device was introduced in 2013, replacing the previous version which had been on the shelves since 2010, but the only update was to the colours available. The last three updates have all occurred in September, so it would logically still be a long time before we see the current model superseded.
iPod Nano: Last updated in September 2013, the Nano is another iPod whose future is unsure. Apple has said that iPods are a declining market, and with the current model being a perfectly good iPod for most uses we can't see how much Apple would change it in the coming months. Up until 2013 the Nano was updated once a year, but 2014 saw no new model announced, suggesting this cycle might be slowing down.
iPod Touch: Of all the current range the iPod Touch is the one that still seems to be on Apple's radar. Updated in June 2014, with a price drop into the bargain, we'd expect to see this iOS enabled device continue to be a regular on the shelves of the Apple store and this summer/autumn looks a likely time for an upgrade.
iPod buying guide: Summary
Having explored the various advantages and compromises that each model offers, hopefully we've shed a little more light on the subject. Inevitably there will be some crossover between devices, but we feel that each is distinct enough to occupy its own place on the menu. With that in mind here are a few final conclusions regarding who might benefit most from the various iPods available.
iPod Shuffle - We think that this one is the best for sports enthusiasts, due to the fact it's cheap, hardy, and can clip onto anything. Those with smaller music libraries will also see the value of an inexpensive device that is still powerful thanks to the Voice Over feature, and of course people who don't want to spend a lot on a music player.
iPod Nano - Due to its size and sandboxed nature the iPod Nano would make an excellent iPod for younger children. Those who generally want a svelte device with more capacity than a Shuffle will also find the little iPod a very attractive option, and if you do already use the NikePlus fitness service, then the integrated app might well prove a tipping point.
iPod Touch - The Touch is a very impressive device, but it has a price tag to match. In many ways it strays a bit too close to the smartphone world to make it an actually compelling device for those who already own an iPhone. If you do want an internet capable, iOS device but find iPads a bit on the large size, then the iPod Touch will give you a good percentage of that experience, including a Retina screen, for about £100 less than the iPad Mini 2. One area where it really shines though is as an entry point to the Apple world for teenagers that want to communicate with friends, watch the latest Youtube videos, listen to their music, and not have ongoing bills for their parents to pay.
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