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By Jack Spence
Like most parents in North America, when it comes to getting gifts for our kids we are always inclined to get the newest, or the hottest, or the flashiest. This year the model with buzz was the iPod Touch. And while several of my friends were getting their kids the iPod Touch, I had my doubts that this would be the right choice for our son.
Dont get me wrong, the iPod Touch provides great entertainment and would make a great gift, but after some reflection we decided to get the iPod Classic. There are number of factors that went into our decision, but three stand out as being the most important.
As everybody knows by now one of the great features of the iPod Touch is the ability to access the Internet wirelessly. This allows the owner to surf the net. To get updates on weather and the stock market. To download their favorite YouTube videos. And to access their e-mail as well as iTunes.
But the problem is, at high school student my son will be spending most of his time in an environment where either he is discouraged from surfing the net for his own entertainment-and probably for good reasons; or a wireless connection is simply not available. Consequently much of the functionality of the iPod Touch will be lost to him.
In the days of the transistor radio and the CD Walkman, portable entertainment was all about audio; the future is all about video. So we knew we just had a get an iPod that had a decent screen. Now the granddaddy of the big screen iPods is of course the iPod Touch-coming in with a 3.5 inch (diagonal) widescreen display.
But if you have a teenage boy and if youve ever handled an iPod Touch, then taht sound in your head is the sound of glass shattering! Because the one thing that impresses you most about the iPod Touch is the amount of surface area that is breakable. So in our opinion, the iPod Touch was just too vulnerable to destruction from the inevitable banging, and dropping, and general bumping our son would give it.
But try viewing a movie on the iPod Classic and its 2.5 inch (diagonal) color LCD display, and you come away surprised by the experience. For a handheld device the video quality is pretty impressive. And a ratio of extremely easily breakable surface area to easily breakable surface area is much smaller.
For our money, this is the main reason for buying the iPod Classic. At 160 GB the storage capacity of the iPod Classic blows away all of the other models-the nearest competitor is the iPod Touch which tops out at 32 GB. The reason why memory was so important to us is twofold.
Firstly, remember I said that video is both the present and the future? Well video takes up a lot of space. For instance, lets say that his tastes run toward watching movies like Superbad-and whose tastes wouldnt. If he were to download this movie to his iPod, it would take up 1.25 GB of storage space.
If his iPod were the iPod Touch, then he would only be able to have 25 movies on his iPod. This would leave very little room for music, photos, or other files. Now with his iPod classic, he would be able to keep over 100 more movies on his iPod. Many people would say that thats way too much space. In fact I hear echoes of what I said many years ago when I opted for a two gig hard drive over a 10 gig hard drive on my computer in the belief that I could never use more than two gigs of storage.
And this brings me to my second point. When we bought this iPod it was in the hope that it would take him through most of his high school career. And because high school is such a busy time in peoples lives, it is unlikely that our son will have time to switch out files on a regular basis from his iPod to his computer. So we bought the iPod classic with all of this memory counting on an accumulation of music, video, and photographic files.
When my son asked the inevitable question of why the Pod Classic versus the Touch, I was able to point to the limited functionality given his environment. I also reminded him of the necessity for having a screen that while still being able to watch a movie on, was not vulnerable to the inevitable bumps and shocks that it would receive. Finally there was all that storage for all that music, all those movies, all those photos-all those memories – that he will collect throughout high school.
About the Author: Jack Spence is a Financial Adviser and usually writes on business and financial matters. For more information and about purchasing iPods and other used Apple products online, got to: