Help me buy an iPod, or not.


Apple today announced the newest iteration of the iPod nano and some changes to the iPod touch, among other things. This has been an eagerly-awaited day for me, since I took the honorarium from my April gig at Benedictine University and salted away most of it to get an iPod touch once the updates came out. But I must admit that I was really hoping that the 32GB model would be under $300; I was $100 off. So I turn to the blogosphere to help me decide how to blow my stash.

Constraints and preferences: I have $232.50 saved up. I have 12 GB of music (just music, no video) in iTunes and I would like to carry all of it with me plus some video. I would like — really like — to have mobile access to wifi in a handheld device. I currently have a 20GB photo iPod (second generation? third generation? something like that). And coming up with a whole lot of extra money — OK, well, really any amount of extra money — right now is doable but difficult to justify in the family budget.

Do I:

  1. Go for the 16GB iPod touch at $299, which is pretty close to what I have saved, and just deal with having 4 GB less space on the device than I currently have?
  2. Somehow (!) come up with $150 and go for the 32 GB iPod touch?
  3. Forget the iPod touch and go out and get one of the new nanos, which at $199 I can buy right now with no extra funding required and still have some left over — and muddle through without the mobile wifi?
  4. Do nothing and just wait around for the next round of upgrades?

Go ahead, spend my money for me!

22 Comments

Filed under Apple, Technology

22 responses to “Help me buy an iPod, or not.

  1. I would definitely save up the extra money, and go for the 32GB model. Why short yourself in the long-run for something cheap you can have right now? I’m constantly trying to get my room mate to think like this…it’s how I have a 55″ big screen, xbox 360, new laptop, and about to get my iPhone. Save. Wait. Patience. It feels soooo good in the end.

  2. Whatever purchase you decide to make (or not make), when you DO act, take your old iPod to an Apple store to return for recycling – you’ll get a 10% discount on your iPod upgrade (or so sez my wife’s issue of Women’s Health; no online citation available).

    You could also try any of the online re-sellers (like gazelle.com) who’ll pay cash for your old electronics of any stripe. I used Gazelle when they were called SecondRotation to get rid of an old Creative mp3 player when I got my first iPod, and I probably got more from them than I would’ve gotten on eBay.

    And yeah, if I was going to spend that kind of money, I’d sock it away a little longer and go whole hog. If you can’t justify it to the wife, every time you want to go to Starbucks, take the few bucks you’d spend on a mega mocha frappalappadingdong and put it in an envelope. You’ll have the difference made up in no time.

  3. @damian: Actually I’ve been pitching my iPod upgrade to my wife as: I get a new iPod and she gets to have my old one. Which makes me think this is an angle that might achieve some results with the Mrs.

  4. virusdoc

    You could buy a refurb 32 GB old 1st gen Touch from apple directly for $319 with free shipping (or a 16gb for $239). Apple is famous for selling refurb items without a single imperfection on them, with full warranty.

    The only things the previous gen lacks comparing to the new Touch are physical volume controls, accelerometer, and the Nike+ compatibility. The new 2.1 firmware works on it, as do all the App store apps.

  5. brownsqrl

    I’m saddened.. I’ve never EVER bought any Apple products before but, this new iPod touch is tempting me so much… Damn it…. DAMN IT!

  6. interesting

    —————————————————-
    Robomower RL1000 Review

  7. Silent|Storm

    ipod nano is a good small mp3 player. I’m using a 8gig 2nd gen and listening music 2h daily with that little beast. I change the songs after 2 months and use it a week or two without charging.

    For a mp3 player for a walking music addict like me, nano is a treat. I plan to buy another one when my nano completes its electronic life but not before.

    So I say, go with a nano, save space, save money, save your ears.

  8. Get an eBay account and sell the old one….check your model by searching ebay and see what they’re going for. I think it will be a lot better than trading up at the Apple Store…. Then buy the most product you can afford…it’ll stay relevant longer..

    And oh yeah…enjoy!!!

  9. J D

    Perhaps you could sell something you own in order to make up the difference? Have a yard sale … or list some stuff for sale on Craig’s List. I would definitely get the one you really WANT. Even if you have to wait … they won’t run out of them!

  10. Don’t worry about the ipod touch. Here is why I say that:

    1. I use an iPod Video every day in my classroom. In Alg 2 I use it to record my lecture with an iTalk (retail = $50, ebay = $13). I then import the recording to iTunes, copy it into Audacity, convert to MP3, and in less than 3 minutes have an MP3 uploaded to my class website.

    2. I also have around 10 gigs of video downloaded to the iPod that I ripped from YouTube, TED, Vimeo, etc. All of these are math related, and all are usable in the classroom. Connecting the iPod to a projector, and now we have a portable video player in the shirt pocket.

    I use Video playlists to sort the video according to topic, so I don’t have to search a long list for the correct video. Today in AP stats I will be showing a TED talk on statistical modeling.

    3. The iTalk does not work with the iPod Touch. Only the Video or the Nano.

    4. It blows the learners away when you demonstrate loading the lecture on the website in front of them. It seriously takes 3 minutes to do (okay, the first time it took around 6, but I have gotten faster). Now I am USING technology to aid learning, instead of talking about it. The learners respond to the use.

  11. virusdoc

    The new Touch does have audio in capability. That capability is currently only accessible with the Apple headphone/mic combo, but it is only a matter of time before third party components give you mic access for recording lectures. (The mic will not work with the Touch 1G). An additional benefit to this is that VOIP calls will likely be possible from the Touch over Wifi, if you need that capability.

    From your original post, Robert, it sounds like Wifi access is really important to you. If this is the case, I don’t think you will be happy with the Nano. I am seriously considering one as well, so that I have Wifi email and calendar access anywhere on my campus. Buy the Touch.

  12. zsirrom

    options 2 or 4 seem like the smartest

    1 & 3 I wouldn’t advise getting something you don’t really want, you’ll most likely end up regretting it, I know I do. I bought a white MacBook in August ’07. I really wanted to get a Pro but didn’t have the money at the time. If I had waited 6 months to save up the extra, and buy what I wanted…I would have a Pro with Leopard Pre-installed and a Multi-Touch Track Pad. I’m really kicking myself for that one

    If you manage to scrounge up the $150 extra to get what you want, well Its pretty simple, you have what you originally wanted.

    If you wait for the next update most likely the price will drop, plus it will have more cool features…its a win/win situation, except that you have to wait.

  13. Robert

    Depends how you use your ipod, and why you specifically want a larger memory.

    For me, I store the music / other audio on my PC in lossless format and spent my spare money on some excellent Sure headphones. I have to shift my music around to suit, but the quality is very good – much better than with the apple phones.

  14. virusdoc

    The vicarious Apple splurge suspense is killing me. What did you decide?

    [I’m about 64% sold on the Touch 2G 32 GB, about 36% sold on the 16 GB iPhone (although the monthly fees would be hard to palate, the always on internet would be fantastic. Next best thing to a Google search bar implanted in your forearm).]

  15. @virusdoc and all others following this little drama: While the new nano is awfully nice, the more I think about it the more I am sure that wifi access is a must-have feature for the next iPod, so I am definitely ruling out option #3. My usual guidelines for buying expensive stuff are (1) figure out very carefully what you can afford; and (2) either buy the best thing you can afford, or if there’s nothing you like that you can afford, don’t buy anything. What that in mind, I’m having a hard time reconciling myself to a 16 GB device; coming from a 20 GB device would make it almost seem like a downgrade. I don’t want to leave any of my music at home, and yet I want to be able to add apps, video, and photos without feeling like I am perilously close to maxing out the memory. So I am ruling out option #1 as well, although a little reluctantly because that option is within striking distance of my budget.

    So that leaves #2 and #4, which frankly amount to the same thing for now — waiting until I can afford the 32 GB model, whether by personal effort (eBay blitzing, selling plasma, etc. to find the extra money) or by attrition (waiting for the next round of price cuts, which given what happened with the 1G iPhones that might be as early as Saturday).

  16. virusdoc

    Good decision. There is some (small) likelihood of a (small) cut in the Touch prices before the holidays. Based on interviews I’ve been reading (see Appleinsider’s front page), investors still think the new Touch is priced too close to the iPhone to sell well, and if that pans out prior to the holiday buying season I would expect Apple to trim perhaps 30-50 bucks off the touch line across the board.

  17. Pingback: iPod update: A new hope « Casting Out Nines

  18. Lydia

    You should sell your old ipod on ebay or somewhere to earn extra cash. Then you should wait until best buy or someone is running a special on ipods. Then I would buy the 32GB ipod, but you on have 12 GB of stuff, so 16 GB should be plenty of space. I plan on getting the 16 GB model in a few days of so.

  19. virusdoc

    I broke down and bought the 16GB iPhone this weekend. Although I originally thought the monthly fees were exorbitant, after three days of using the device I am now convinced they are worth every penny. I am freed from my desktop, and everywhere I go I can use my time more efficiently. I can schedule meetings with faculty and students instantly, instead of saying “Sure, let me get back to my office and check my schedule and I’ll email you.” I can reclaim the 20 minute walk from home to work for podcasts, browsing, email, or phone calls.

    Sign me up for the fanboy club (as if I weren’t already a member)!

    What did you decide?

  20. I ultimately decided to wait it out and see if any price drops happen. There are some family finance issues that might gobble up the money I’ve saved up as well, so I’m holding off.

  21. it’s not that expensive, get one for yourself.

  22. “Not that expensive” is, to put it charitably, a relative term.