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Please help me decide on our first foray into the world of Apple....

(17 Posts)
Rocinante Sun 07-Nov-10 21:34:11

So far we don't own any Apple products, scared off by being shackled to iTunes, but now DH has got a car with an iPod lead and it would be too expensive to change it to a more generic mp3 one.

So I think I'm going to get him an iPod for his birthday/Christmas present.
If I were getting it for myself, I'd like an iPod Touch but I don't really know much about them.

Is an 8gb sufficient or should I go for a 32gb, and is it really worth spending the extra on an iPod Touch rather than a classic iPod?

Can you avoid getting iTunes on your computer?

And does it play MP3 formats or will we have to convert our entire music library?

Any advice gratefully received!

lilystar Mon 08-Nov-10 08:13:02

8gb should be fine unless you are going to load it up with loads of videos. I currently have about 30 hours of music on mine, and it takes up 3.33gb.

Theoretically, yes you can avoid getting iTunes on your computer, but I don't think you need to. It used to a horrific experience on Windows, and was one of the reasons I stayed away from iPods for so long, but it is massively better now. It's not nice, but it is functional and it won't grind your machine to a halt anymore (I am running it on a cheap mid-range Compaq Windows Vista laptop). I would download it first, before you buy the iPod and have a play with it for a week or so. If you decide to go for something else, just google 'ITunes alternatives' but it will take a bit more work.

You can import all your existing mp3 files and it will play them no problem. You can also continue to buy from Play or Amazon, or Tesco, or wherever, and import the tracks to iTunes afterwards. You are not restricted to buying from the iTunes store. And if you are adding tracks from CDs, it'll do that for you.

Overall, I don't really like itunes, but at the same time, I don't loathe it with the same passion that I did before. Now, it's bearable.

As for the Touch v the Classic, the Classic does music, and lots of it. The Touch does email, apps and games. If he's ever going to use it outside the car, I'd go for a Touch.

wohmum Mon 08-Nov-10 08:41:08

I'd definitely go for an iPod touch , it does so much

BadgersPaws Mon 08-Nov-10 09:18:33

"So far we don't own any Apple products, scared off by being shackled to iTunes"

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "shackled". It is the easiest way to manage an iPod and it does a pretty good job of it. As someone else has already said you can load music you buy from elsewhere into it. You can also take the music you buy from iTunes and put it into other music management packages or MP3 players if you want to.

"Is an 8gb sufficient or should I go for a 32gb, and is it really worth spending the extra on an iPod Touch rather than a classic iPod?"

To me a Touch simply isn't big enough to use as my main music device. I've got about 7000 songs in nearly 60gb on my iPod Classic. So it does depend on how much music you have.

Also consider the quality you want to record in. As a default iTunes, and most CD rippers, will copy the CD in a quality that's good enough to listen to on the small headphones you get with them but isn't going to hold up to being played on a better stereo, such as in a car. So you might very well want to up the quality, which will lead to more space being taken up.

And that space worry is before you start wanting to put apps and photos on a Touch. I do have a Touch, and it's great, but space is an issue.

lilystar Mon 08-Nov-10 13:16:40

BadgersPaws - I understand what the OP means by shackled - as far as Apple are concerned you have to use iTunes, and until fairly recently this was not a pleasant experience on a Windows machine. Now, it's functional. but it's still not a good example of either software architecture or design.

As far as size goes, I don't store my whole music collection on my ipod, so I don't see this as a problem. I tend to have my most recent stuff, my current favourites and a couple of playlists of older stuff I never tire of, then I just change it when I feel like.

BadgersPaws Mon 08-Nov-10 14:02:01

"I understand what the OP means by shackled - as far as Apple are concerned you have to use iTunes"

I used to have another MP3 player and you had to use their management software too, so perhaps I'm just somewhat used to it.

Personally I find iTunes far easier to manage a large music collection with than just trying to do it through files. But then maybe that's the difference, I do have my entire music collection on my main iPod so it does need something that will look after it.

"it's still not a good example of either software architecture or design."

I can't see why...

Although I will admit that most of my iTunes time is done on a Mac and that I did try Safari on a Windows PC and thought it really rather rubbish and uninstalled it. Where as on a Mac it's my browser of choice.

In principle iTunes is a very good package that makes managing lots of music, much of which might have duplicate file names, very very easy. I realised how easy iTunes makes it when I started taking backups of my iPod to disk and started running into file and folder name clashes that iTunes does just take care of.

"As far as size goes, I don't store my whole music collection on my ipod, so I don't see this as a problem."

It depends very much on what you want your iPod for, and as said I've got both a Classic and a Touch as I can see very good reasons for wanting to work in different ways.

For someone like me who wants all their music on a gadget they can move around and doesn't want to faff about loading or unloading music from it trying to manage with an iPod Touch is a headache.

I don't want to have to think "oh, I'm going on holiday, I'm going to want X, Y and Z to listen to, right let's delete A, B and C and then load on the other stuff."

One day they'll release an iPod Touch with a much bigger storage capacity and I'll be content with just the one gadget

nocake Mon 08-Nov-10 15:10:01

We have an iPod classic which stores more music than we could possibly ever own. That's it.... it stores music (and video) and plays it. Simple.

My sister has an iPod Touch which is like a little computer. She plays games on it, watches videos, surfs the net and all sorts of other stuff. But it's not big enough to fit her entire music collection on.

To answer the other questions.... they will both play MP3 format files so you won't need to convert everything and you don't have to use iTunes. I use MediaMonkey which happily synchs up to my iPod.

Rocinante Mon 08-Nov-10 18:57:39

Thank you.

I'm a bit more reassured about iTunes - I had heard that it was fine on a Mac but could massively slow down Windows which was why I wanted to avoid it. I think we still will if we can, so I'll check out Mediamonkey (thanks nocake).

I think I'll go for a larger memory one, but I'm still unsure on which type; I've been looking at the Nano today, thinking that DH could use it when he's running and as he doesn't use the internet too much or play games I think the Touch would be a bit of a waste for him. I'll just have to hint a bit harder that I'd like one....

thelunar66 Mon 08-Nov-10 19:04:19

DH has managed to move iTunes completely onto a separate hard drive, so it takes up no space on the main laptop. It was a nightmare before though.

Ive got a touch and love it for Mumsnetting in starbucks grin

BadgersPaws Tue 09-Nov-10 09:33:43

"DH has managed to move iTunes completely onto a separate hard drive, so it takes up no space on the main laptop. It was a nightmare before though."

You don't need to keep your music in iTunes once it's on your iPod. Set your iPod to be manually managed and then once you've dragged the music onto your iPod you can delete it from iTunes.

My usual way of working is...

1) Import the CD into iTunes.
2) Connect my iPod and drag the music onto it.
3) Delete the CD from iTunes.

Every few weeks I'll then back up my entire iPod to an external hard disk drive so that if I were to loose it I wouldn't have to reimport all my CDs again.

thelunar66 Tue 09-Nov-10 13:01:33

Wow Badger... That is where we have been going wrong then!!! I thought that if I deleted stuff out of iTunes, then next time I sync the ipod, it will assume I want them deleting from there too.

greenlotus Tue 09-Nov-10 13:07:49

I thought that the problem was that the ipod becomes a slave to one computer only - that's why I got a generic MP3 player even though I have a Mac, so that it will communicate with DH's PC's and other devices. I'd love to be corrected!

BadgersPaws Tue 09-Nov-10 13:17:05

"thought that if I deleted stuff out of iTunes, then next time I sync the ipod, it will assume I want them deleting from there too."

That's what will happen if you automatically sync the iPod, turn on manual management and it won't. However that also means that when adding new music you have to do step 2 above which is manually drag the music onto it.

"I thought that the problem was that the ipod becomes a slave to one computer only"

Again I think the answer is manual management, especially when the computers have different music in their iTunes.

There's some information on manual management of iPods here:
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1202

The only issue that I am aware of with using iPods and both PCs and Macs is that it's possible to format some of the bigger iPods in a Mac way. That makes more efficient use of the space but does mean that the iPod is then only usuable with a Mac from that point on. However that's not the default and it's something that you have to choose specifically to do.

So basically deleting a track from iTunes doesn't have to delete it from an iPod and you can use an iPod with multiple computers.

nocake Tue 09-Nov-10 15:41:13

iTunes is a complete memory hog but there's no reason to keep it running. You only need to start it when you want to add music or update your iPod.

If you do install it can I suggest you immediately go into the control panel and add/remove programs. Find "Bonjour" and uninstall it. It's a pointless connectivity tool that is installed as part of iTunes then runs in the background using up memory but doing nothing.

NetworkGuy Wed 10-Nov-10 10:21:47

presumably that was "doing nothing [useful until an Apple device is connected]"

I am no great fan of iTunes being needed to manage an iPod, nor of iTunes itself, but if Bonjour really did nothing there would be no point in distributing it

BadgersPaws Wed 10-Nov-10 10:32:41

Bonjour has nothing to do with whether an Apple device is connected or not. It's a tool that allows applications, such as iTunes in this case, to find each other across a network easily and to allow the sharing of things such as music.

So the idea is that it's running away all the times to help iTunes share it's music with other home machines.

But yes it should be easier to turn on/off, if you've got no other machines in your home network and/or don't want to share things then it is pointless.

NetworkGuy Wed 10-Nov-10 11:31:07

Thanks for the explanation / correction. I could have written 'or whatever' in case it did something else and I was under the misconception it would be useful, but in the example you have given, clearly that depends on the network situation within a home... so not 'always' necessary after all. Apologies too, to nocake as he might consider me a smartarse for trying to correct him!

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