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Apple's iPod line-up is comparatively simple compared to what other companies offer. But it still makes sense to see what each particular model can offer so you can make a well-informed decision.
The iPod Shuffle is the smallest iPod available. It forgoes the display and it's small enough to clip onto a shirt. If all you want to do is listen to music and you don't care about what particular song is playing, then this is the iPod for you.
You can get one in either 1GB or 2GB storage capacities. Each model can hold 240 or 500 songs respectively. Randomness is a key factor in all of this. If you like small form factors and a certain degree of uncertainty in the songs that play, then the Shuffle will suit you fine.
The iPod Nano melds a small form factor with the power of a full-featured media player. Even with its small size, you get a nice high-pixel wide screen display that can display pictures and video.
The user interface is just as advanced as a full-sized iPod and makes shuffling through your media an easy process. If you want a more interactive iPod with a decent amount of space (8 and 16GB), this is the one to get. Also thanks to the accelerometer, it can offer some of the new controls found in the iPod touch.
Like a trip back in time, we have the iPod classic. With 120GB in storage, it's the highest capacity iPod in Apple's current line-up. If the idea of carrying your entire music library with you at all times is extremely important to you, then you should put this one at the top of your list.
This device is also capable of playing back video so having over a hundred gigs of space is a feature to have. It's the bulkiest iPod currently available but considering its immense storage and excellent battery life, it's something that most people are willing to overlook.
And finally, we get to the iPod Touch. It's the most advanced iPod. It contains a good amount of solid state storage (8 to 32GB) and a wealth of technological doodads. The glass touch screen is gorgeous and makes navigation even more intuitive when compared to the other iPods.
This is just not a iPod with a fancy touch screen, it's an emerging mobile platform. With excellent third party support there are wealth of applications that are available for this device. Suddenly this iPod is turning into more of a PDA.
In terms of connectivity, you get excellent Wi-Fi access. You also happen to get the finest mobile web browser available. The previously mentioned third party apps are able to bring new levels of online activity to this platform.
Do you sacrifice storage with the Touch but I think the overwhelming advancement in technology more than makes up for this difference.
With all that said, you just have to match your listening/viewing habits with the iPod whose feature set best matches those habits. Each model has something to bring to the table. Use of this guide will hopefully put you on the right track.