Apples for your pockets (or Last Minute Shopping for iPods)

By Graham K. Rogers


In the closing days of the Year some of us are doing the last minute shopping we ought to have done already but never quite got to. The shops are filled with parcel-carrying people, so it makes sense to save the smaller items to last.

An iPod, or one of the accessories, may be on your list: one man I know gave his wife a MacBookPro soon after tying the knot then, the moment it was released, added an iPod touch.


The iPod began a revolution in the way many listen to music. I thought the idea wasn't going anywhere when I first saw the device, but I soon had my own. Initially Mac only, they were soon available for Windows users. I am currently carrying three. Although they are not the latest versions, they are fairly close to what is on offer: the iPod, the iPod nano and the iPod shuffle. There is also the wide-screen iPod touch.

My early 15G iPod had the double advantage of being able to act as a hard disk and with its Firewire connector was bootable. The iPod I have now has a capacity of 30G but connects only via USB cables and cannot boot a Mac. Unlike my earlier iPod, these now display videos, uploaded via iTunes on the synchronising computer.


Currently the iPod, now with the name, "Classic", comes in two sizes, 80G and 160G The 160G plays music for up to 40 hours, or 7 hours of video. They hold some 20,000 or 40,000 tunes respectively and are priced at 10,390 and 14,590 baht. My original 15G iPod cost 15,000 baht.

According to email from Apple, some iPods sold in the New Year period will come with a limited edition gift box in red or silver. There should be posters for these in places like the Siam BTS station.

shuffle While the Classic has a hard disk, other iPods store data on flash memory chips. The smallest in the range is the iPod shuffle. These are just over 1" high and a bit wider than 1.5". There is a single capacity of 1G, which holds about 240 songs (128kbps AAC format). The one I have is orange, but colours have recently been updated and match those of the nano range. The shuffle comes with a cradle that charges and transfers data through the same port the headphone uses. These are priced at 3,890 baht but some shops may have those with the earlier colours available for less.

A friend with the first generation 512MB shuffle (the one that looks like a stick of chewing gum) is careful to select the songs for his iPod; then he plays them in the same order. I just grab a few, sling them into an iTunes folder and have the shuffle set to "random" which means a bus journey into town can have added surprises. There is always "fast forward" if the music doesn't suit me for that moment.

nano The iPod nano is one of the most popular of the range and comes in capacities of 4G and 8G. it is now squat (2.75" x 2.06") and has a 2" screen that is much clearer than the earlier versions which were long and thin. The earlier nano came in capacities of 2G, 4G and 8G. The finish was metallic while the current nano has a smooth exterior like the Classic. There are still some of the earlier 4G ones available at 4,500 baht, while the current nano costs 6,390 or 8,590 depending on memory size.

Apart from the press briefing in the middle of September, I have not had a chance to play with the new nano. My experiences with the older version are not unpleasant. Both this and the shuffle are light enough to be unnoticable when carried about. A feature of the nano is the additional software that allows it to be used with the Nike + (plus) system. This links with iTunes and a Nike + website that allows the more competitive among us to share perfomance data with others round the world.

This is just one of the many accessories made by third party suppliers that work with the various iPods, from covers, to connectors, to alternative ear-buds and hi-fi speaker systems: some useful, some cosmetic. And some quite cheap.

touch For me, the widescreen iPod touch, looking much like the iPhone, is one of the more desirable devices available.

I had one of these for a couple of weeks in October and I really did not want to give it back. I tested the 8G version (12,590 baht) and there is also one of 16G (16,790). As well as access to my music, photographs and videos, I was able to surf the Internet, but not send POP email.

The best wishes of the season to all eXtensions readers.

Back to Making New year Gift Lists.

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