The Advantages of an iPod

By Will Conley

The iPod nano can be used as a pedometer.
i Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

The advantages of an iPod include huge storage capacities, an intuitive interface, and total control over various forms of media. Apple sells four types of iPod: the shuffle, the nano, the classic, and the touch (yes, Apple has a thing for lowercase.) The shuffle and nano are the Lilliputians of the bunch -- their combined weight is about an ounce -- but both carry plenty of clever advantages. The classic and touch carry some of the more complex advantages, but they are still small enough to fit inside the front pocket of a pair of skinny pants.

High Capacity, Small Size

iPods have plenty of storage space. The iPod shuffle has a 2GB capacity; the nano holds 8 to 16 GB; the iPod touch comes in 8, 32 or 64 GB capacities; and the classic holds a whopping 160 GB. That means you can hold anywhere from 500 to 40,000 songs depending on the chosen models, whose weights range from less-than-half an ounce to about 5 ounces.

Simple Controls for Complex Functions

The basic playback controls on iPods appear to be limited at first glance: Play/Pause, Back and Forward. However, there are loads of hidden controls. The shuffle, for example, compensates for its lack of a song information display by audibly telling you what song or playlist is on. The song list on a nano can be adjusted by talking to it or giving the device a good shake. The classic and touch have extensive hidden menus navigable by a click wheel or touch screen.

Multiple Media Formats

The iPod shuffle holds audio files only, but the iPod nano can pick up FM radio in addition to hard audio data. The classic and touch are where the multimedia advantages come in. Both the classic and the touch can play video and display images, in addition to their music capabilities. There are even games designed specifically for the controls on an iPod classic. And the iPod touch, which is like an iPhone without the phone, can access hundreds of thousands of apps that are downloadable at the App Store.

Customizable Organization

The songs, videos and images on an iPod can be organized by title, artist, song, album, custom category or customized playlist. In addition, the "Genius" function of an iPod lets you create playlists simply by selecting a song you like; the iPod then creates a playlist of songs that are similar to the selected one. Using iTunes, you can change what songs you want to place on the iPod, back up contents and playlists, and download new music.

Other Whistles and Bells

The iPod family has too many unique features to name here. For example, the iPod shuffle, which weighs less than half an ounce, clips to your clothing. The nano has a built-in pedometer as well as a microphone for vocally telling your iPod what to play. The classic can send photo slideshows to a TV via a simple cable. The iPod touch -- the most complex of iPods -- can even go online or be used as a video phone.