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Is Your iPod Feeling Old Today?

When I went shopping for an iPod nano last November, I thought at the time that it would be a mistake to go for the top-of-the-line, 8-gigabyte model--why spend the extra money on a device with such high odds of being replaced by a newer model within a year?

It looks like I was right about that, but wrong in my overall prediction: By this time, I just thought we'd have a nano that stored a lot more music, not one that also handles video and games yet is somehow even thinner than my newly-discontinued model.

That's a risk with any technology, but more so than usual with the frequently-reinvented iPod. Today's column assesses Apple's two latest media players, the iPod nano and the iPod touch.

I thought I'd like the iPod touch more at the start--it's the much more revolutionary model. But after the first day of use, I realized that it was a little too fussy to use, thanks to the lack of physical volume controls (not to mention the usability flaws created by the screen's automatic switching from portrait to landscape modes that I noted in my update to my iPhone review).

The iPod touch's arbitrarily limited software also hurt its cause. Unfortunately, it hasn't been hacked yet to allow the use of third-party programs.

If you've got time, have a look at the lengthier iPod touch reviews at Macintouch and Ars Technica for more details, such as the news that some iPod accessories may not work with the touch.

I had no such hangups with the iPod nano. I'll have even fewer after the inevitable upgrade to its memory--8 GB doesn't seem like that much room once you start adding TV shows or movies, which I never had to think about before as an iPod nano user. Games may also eat more of that space, but I'm not that much of a gamer (as anybody who's seen me play Halo or Guitar Hero can attest!); the games built into the nano suffice for me.

Both the touch and the nano use flash memory for storage, which means they're lighter than the "old-fashioned" iPod classic but also offer less storage for the dollar. If you look at how the cost of flash memory has been dropping over time, though, the future of the iPod probably rests in one of these new models.

If you're an iPod owner, what do you think of these models? How long have you had your iPod--and what would motivate you to trade it in for a newer model?

Any other questions? I'm online at 2 p.m. for my Web chat--ask away before then and during the show.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  September 20, 2007; 8:36 AM ET
Categories:  Gadgets  
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