OF 2010
With over 300,000 applications now in the App Store,
up 200% from this time last year, the average user
doesn’t have a prayer of finding the very best items
without help - even so, updates and new releases
seem to change the balance every day. But our
editors spend a great deal of time testing and hunting
down new apps, looking for the top tools to help
make the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch more useful.
You’ll find them here. We’ve selected 100 essential apps
from many genres, looking for the right combinations
of sheer utility, interface design, and value. Apps on
this list are the ones we actually use and love, not
flash-in-pan releases, with a focus on titles that were
released or substantially updated in the last year - many
now with universal iPad/iPhone/iPod support rather
than just working on one or two devices. While some
apps from last year’s list still remain worthwhile, the
picks here are the most vital and necessary today.
100 Essential Apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Audio / Music / Radio
NPR for iPad / NPR News
Technically two separate applications, NPR News for
iPhone/iPod touch and NPR for iPad overlap a lot,
demonstrating how a great iPhone app can benefit
further from extra real estate on the iPad’s screen.
Both provide access to audio streams from National
Public Radio, including broadcasts from numerous
member stations, on demand programming,
and spoken versions of top news stories, all
professionally produced with wonderful vocal work.
NPR for iPad lets you listen to news or music while
both reading and browsing NPR stories, while NPR
News lets you read or browse news, with music
content in a separate, recent NPR Music app. FREE
Pandora Radio
With a new UI and
a massive library of
downloadable sounds,
the latest version of this
background app creates
amazing atmospheres. $3
A monthly subscription
gets you unlimited access
to millions of songs,
including the week’s
latest releases, streamed
or saved. $10/Month
Live Internet radio,
including local AM/FM
stations plus 27,000 other
streams, can be played,
paused, and recorded
quickly to the device. $5
Updated for the iPad and
iOS 4 background-ready,
streams “you’ll like this
too” custom stations you
create by plugging in an
artist or song name. FREE
Slacker Radio
Wunder Radio
Like Napster but with a
different multi-milliontrack catalog that seems
lighter on new releases
and stronger on older
ones. $10/Month
With separate iPad and
iPhone versions, this app
IDs songs playing on the
radio just by using the
built-in mic. Accurate,
useful, and... FREE
Pandora alternative that
in our testing almost
always calls up the exact
song you specify on the
first search, then creates
related “stations.” FREE
Combines a great
Internet radio tuner
with a web browser so
pre-iOS 4.2 iPad users
can do other things while
listening to streams. $7
100 Essential Apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Books + Education
iBooks (Universal iPad/iPhone)
Originally content to be just a nicer-looking iPad
eBook reader and buying experience than Amazon’s
Kindle, Apple’s iBooks has become even better over
time, adding iPhone and iPod touch support, the
ability to read PDFs - including
our Books and Buyers’ Guides and of course, much more
content in its built-in iBookstore.
With an integrated brightness
control for reading in different
lighting conditions, and faster
page-turning than before, this is
now a must-grab. FREE
Distant Suns 3
Learn about planets
and stars using any iOS
device, with compass
support to align the star
chart with the night sky.
Hands-on and cool. $10
Academic research
literature is at your
fingertips with this now
universal app, critical for
science students and
some professionals. $15
Customize this magazinelike app with content
you want from major
web sites, Facebook, and
Twitter; makes text feeds
visually interesting. FREE
A deliberately spartan
but highly efficient UI
makes RSS reading via
Google Reader a joy.
Separate iPad and iPhone
apps, sadly. $3/$5
A next-generation
textbook replacement
with a bookstore that
sells by the chapter. Every
publisher and school
should use this. FREE
Solar Walk
Beautiful time-coded 3-D
renditions of planets in
our solar system come
to life on the large iPad
screen, though iPhone is
also supported. $35
Marvel Comics
Dig into Marvel’s amazing
collection of superhero
comics, some free, most
sold for $2-$4 each. Zoom
in on anything, swipe to
change pages. FREE
The Elements
Incredible next-gen iPad
book renders the periodic
table with spinning 3-D
objects; you’ll learn while
feeling like you’re living in
the future. $14
100 Essential Apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Communications + GPS
Skype (iPhone/iPod/iPad*)
Skype went from cool
to awesome when
iOS 4 added VoIP
multitasking, letting
iPods, iPhones and iPads
make free and low-cost
phone calls over Wi-Fi
or 3G while doing other
things. One hitch: the
app uses the iPhone UI
on iPad; Skype promises
an iPad UI shortly after
iOS 4.2 is out. FREE
CoPilot Live / HD
BeeJive IM
In separate iPad/iPhone
apps, AIM offers free
access to AOL/Apple’s
instant messaging
networks while tracking
Facebook + Twitter. FREE
This power user’s
IM client supports
numerous non-AOL chat
services, and offers push
notifications. Skip the
iPad version. $10
G-Whizz! Pro
iPad turn-by-turn GPS for
$30, iPhone for $5-$20 need we say more? While
Navigon’s prompting is
better, this app’s U.S. POIs
+ maps are solid. $5-$30
Routinely updated with
little features, the official
app of the biggest social
network is solid for 3.5”
devices but not the iPad;
get Social instead. FREE
Apple’s FaceTime only
offers video calling over
Wi-Fi; this works over 3G,
too, and provides decent
results at no charge, even
for iPhone 3GS. FREE
Google service users can
now access everything
from Gmail to Reader,
Voice, and Talk through
one app, rather than
several or Safari. $5
MobileNavigator offers
great turn-by-turn GPS
voice prompting and fine
maps, but at a higher
price, with no iPadspecific UI. $20-$50
iPad users who want
to share pictures over
Facebook haven’t had an
app to do so easily; this
third-party browser offers
that, plus chat + more. $2
A Twitter client with a
major difference: power
users can perform
multiple keyword
searches at once, and
filter out results. FREE
Great for most users,
the official Twitter app’s
iPhone side is simple and
efficient, while the iPad UI
has novel sliding panes,
but loses features. FREE
100 Essential Apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Entertainment + Kids
ABC Wildlife / ABC Wildlife iPad
Sold as two separate but nearly identical apps
for the iPad and iPhone/iPod touch, Peapod Labs’
ABC Wildlife - Little Explorers is one of the most
impressive educational tools around, featuring
gorgeous animal photos tied together with a letter
teaching trick: tap any letter of an animal’s name
to see another animal whose name starts with that
letter. Each animal is depicted through multiple
pictures, streaming videos, and little facts that can
be brought up by tapping on circular buttons; you’ll
find yourself so impressed by each image that you
might not discover all of the great stuff in here. The
prices for each app are reasonable, too. $2/$3
ABC Song
Thirteen screens take kids
through the alphabet
two letters at a time
as a cheerful song and
individual animations
play. Sweet and fun. $1
Even more impressive
on the iPad than it was
before, this hi-def roller
coaster simulator lets
you build and download
amazing free tracks. $1
Amazing Animals Savanna
Explore the African
savannah with a scrolling,
cute look at animals,
complete with sound
effects and a secret
dancing bird. $2
A To Z: Moose + Zee
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Chatter Telephone
Learn upper and lower
case letters from Nick Jr.’s
Moose and Zee, tapping
each of four letters on
26 differently themed,
drawn backdrops. $2
Combining Row Your
Boat and Black Sheep
nursery rhymes into a
single app, Duck Duck
Moose teaches object
finding + matching. $2
Flip between numbers,
musical instruments,
and professions with this
virtual Fisher Price toy,
which uses voice samples
to teach everything. $1
Ants Go Marching
A ten-verse rendition
of the classic kids’ song,
with animated marching
ants and brief pauses
for interactivity - nice for
learning numbers. $1
Drawing Pad
An awesome art tool
for kids, Darren Murtha
Design’s app includes
markers, crayons, and
resizable, rotatable
stickers. Great value. $2
100 Essential Apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Kids, Continued
Interactive Alphabet - ABC Flash
Cards (Universal iPad/iPhone)
It’s easy to try to teach a child the alphabet letter by
letter, but when the letters come to life with their
own interactive activities, learning is so much easier.
Pi’ikea’s Interactive Alphabet offers 26 separate
experiences that range from flying kites (K) to
writing with a quill (Q) and banging on a xylophone
(X), all without the mess of scattered toys. Nearly
all of the flash cards offer intuitive, attractively
designed things to do, and the developer has
been adding and fine-tuning features since the
initial release. We love that this app runs on iPads,
iPhones, and iPod touches; it’s very impressive. $5
Field Flier
Fish School / HD
Little People Farm
Simple but nice, this app
lets kids control Robin,
tapping the screen to
interact with food, music,
perches, and other
activities in a forest. $2
Another great Duck Duck
Moose app, this teaches
letters, shapes, colors,
and more using schools
of fish, the alphabet song,
and voiceovers. $2/$2
Now with iPad support,
this app teaches writing
and short word spelling,
with shapes that kids
are shown how to trace,
forming letters. $3
Fisher Price’s famous toys
get an app with cartoony
animals, songs, and
simple matching/cleanup
games for 2-4-year-olds.
Inexpensive fun. $2
Little Sky Writers
The Lorax
Midnight HD
My Baby Einstein
An especially welldeveloped letter-tracing
app for kids, with adultready voiceovers to help
a parent enjoy being part
of the teaching. $2
Just one of a number of
good Dr. Seuss books
that work equally well
on the iPad and smaller
iOS devices; a classic
environmental story. $4
Frequently updated,
this interactive particle
generator is 2010’s
version of the plasma
ball, letting you control
energy as if by magic. $1
Based on Disney’s DVD
series, this digital version
offers tons of in-app
video clip and flash card
purchases, boosting its
price and content. $4
100 Essential Apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Kids, Continued
Park Math (iPhone/iPod touch)
Any one of Duck Duck Moose’s increasingly
numerous applications could be a kids’ app of the
year winner, but the recently-released Park Math is
its best effort yet: a charmingly illustrated collection
of math-teaching activities with a park and
playground theme. Blue Bear skates from area to
area, learning simple addition, subtraction, equality,
counting, and pattern completion, leveraging the
company’s wonderful classical music and colorful
original characters for every screen. Though an
iPad-specific version has yet to be released, this
one runs well on all of the iOS devices, and delivers
superb value for the low asking price. $2
Intro To Letters
Montessorium’s letter
teaching app includes
phonics, names, and
guided tracing for one or
two letters at a time, with
nice presentation. $5
Pedlar Lady
Intro To Math
Using bars, dots, and
sequences of numbers,
Montessorium’s other
app teaches counting, big
and small, and tracing;
great UI design. $5
For older children, this
3-D rendered book
tells a classic story
using dramatic and
changing camera angles,
animation, and text. $5
Old MacDonald Piano
Along with a separate
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
app, Old MacDonald teaches
the lyrics and piano notes
to a rhyme while it
happily sings. $2
See ‘n Say
Prepare to be amazed by
this evolved classic Fisher
Price toy, with 12 animals
that each have multiple
videos to watch after the
arrow spins around. $2
100 Essential Apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Adobe Photoshop Express
(Universal iPad/iPhone)
Much improved from its earlier iPhone and iPod
touch version, Photoshop Express now offers iPad
owners even more reason to grab Apple’s Camera
Connection Kit: photos can be straightened,
rotated, color-corrected, filtered, and bordered
directly on the device before being shared - you
can handle e-mail yourself, but Express can do
direct posting to Facebook, TwitPic, or Adobe’s own sharing site as you prefer. Though
the “swipe on screen using invisible sliders” UI isn’t
ideal, the asking price is unbeatable. FREE
Apply classic camera
filters, crops, and borders
to any image in your
gallery; separate iPad and
iPhone versions have the
same features. $2/$3
Pulled from the App Store for offering a hidden feature,
Camera+ was still best of breed, offering separate focus
and exposure controls for some iPhone cameras, as well
as a huge lightbox of special effects, borders, and colorshifting tools to let you completely transform the look of
a photo. It deserves recognition, even though it’s GONE
Faster and more beautiful
than its prior version
thanks to Retina Display
support, Pano autostitches multiple photos
into panoramas. $3
A sophisticated set of
bordering, straightening
and editing tools, plus
cute text and thought
bubbles, sold in separate
iPad/iPhone apps. $2/$4
MobileMe Gallery
Use iPad or iPhone to
access galleries of photos
and videos on Apple’s
subscription MobileMe
service, including friends
and contacts. FREE
TiltShift Generator
One of our favorite iPad
and iPhone photo tools
makes even flat cell
phone images look like
DSLR-quality shots with
depth of field. $1/$3
100 Essential Apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Productivity + Tools
Pages (iPad)
Apple’s suite of iWork applications for the Mac
arrived individually for the iPad this year, and
though they all suffer from first-generation-itis,
they keep getting better with post-release updates.
The word processor Pages started out solid, with
support for different fonts, text styling, templates,
and word-wrapped photos. Now it handles imports
and exports of Microsoft Word files, as well as
saving in Pages and PDF formats, with the ability
to do everything except print directly to a printer that’s coming later this year with the release of iOS
4.2. Except for the likely charge for next year’s 2.0
release, it’s a no-brainer for word processing. $10
Stores all your passwords
and private info for easy
access, now with an iPad
UI, Dropbox sync support,
and syncing from both
Macs and PCs. $10
Evernote records and
stores text, photo, and
audio notes in collections
accessible on your iPad,
iPhone, and computer, for
no charge. FREE
Documents To Go
Open and edit Microsoft
Word, Excel and PDF files
without converting them
into Apple’s formats; the
more expensive version
has PowerPoint. $10/$15
For great convenience,
this iPhone 4 app offers
instant access to the
bright LED flash, which
serves as an illuminator,
strobe, or S.O.S. signal. $1
Drag and drop files from
your computer to a
cloud-based disk that’s
shared with your iPhone/
iPod/iPad, each with onscreen viewing. FREE
A text editor with
Dropbox support so that
you can create, edit, and
share HTML and text files.
Supports fonts and works
with keyboards, too. $1
iHome + Sleep
Read and annotate big
PDFs, edit text, and
maintain a library of
media/document files
on your iPhone or iPad.
Separate apps. $1/$3
For owners of iHome’s
latest clock radios, this
impressive app adds
extra alarms, Facebook
and Twitter notifications,
and weather info. FREE
100 Essential Apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Productivity, Continued
iTeleport for iPad / iTeleport Jaadu
VNC for iPhone/iPad (Universal)
Sold in universal and iPad-only versions at different
prices, iTeleport lets your iOS device see and control
the full screen of your computer (Mac/PC/Linux),
including a virtual keyboard and touchscreenbased mouse alternative. Capable of shrinking
even a 27” iMac display onto the 3.5” iPhone/iPod
touch screens - albeit with the need to do plenty
of pinching to zoom in and out - iTeleport even
enables you to control your machine over a 3G
cellular connection, useful for accessing files when
you’re not at home. It’s best-suited to computers
that aren’t behind firewalls. $20/$25
Even more useful
on iPads, grabs and
organizes web pages
for later offline viewing,
presenting their text in
simplified, clean form. $5
MobileMe iDisk
View and stream all the
music, movies, photos,
and documents you’ve
stored on Apple’s
subscription service, now
with an iPad UI. FREE
Make slick slideshows
with Apple’s rival to
Powerpoint, simplified for
the iPad while keeping
photo, text, and graph
styling templates. $10
Nike+ GPS
Ditch the Nike+ shoe
sensor with this iPhoneonly app that uses GPS
data to map and track
your outdoor runs, with
sync to $2
Logmein Ignition
For those who need live
iPad/iPhone access to
the screen of a PC or Mac
through a firewall, this
app beats iTeleport at a
higher price. $30
With potential to change
spreadsheets forever,
Apple’s iPad Excel rival
changes its virtual keys
based on the features +
functions you need. $10
Lose It!
Manage your weight
loss with this app, which
knows your personal
daily needs and also
the calories in popular
restaurant food. FREE
Easy but powerful task
management in separate
iPad and iPhone apps
that sync to a Mac, linking
to-do notes to contexts
and locations. $20/$40
100 Essential Apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Productivity + Tools
Penultimate (iPad)
Apple can pooh-pooh styluses all it wants, but
the tablet design of the iPad is a natural for notetaking and scribbling, both handled beautifully by
this inexpensive app. Open new or existing virtual
notepads with blank, lined, or grid paper, choose
from a handful of colors and pen tip sizes, then
write or sketch to your heart’s content. Though
Penultimate can’t recognize your handwriting, it
saves and optionally sends your pages via e-mail even in full notebook PDFs if you prefer. Cocoa Box
Design’s work on this app has been great so far;
Apple should buy it and incorporate the features
into every iPad. Until then, it’s an easy buy. $4
Turn your iPad into a
graph creation tool using
touch-based drawing
rather than pure number
entry; sketch a concept,
then tighten it up. $15
Remote (Apple)
Control iTunes, Apple
TVs, and AirPlay devices
with this iPad/iPod/
iPhone remote, accessing
libraries, changing
volume, and more. FREE
Transfer files between
your iOS device and
Mac with a simple copy
command, and create a
large clipboard filled with
editable files. $4
Still astonishing, this app
turns iPhone 3GS/4 into a
scanner and fax machine,
even sending faxes
overseas. Now charges
flat rates for faxing. FREE
Compose sharp-looking
relational diagrams
using text and photos
from your iPad, instantly
linking shapes together
with smart tools. $9
Going beyond the
iPhone/iPod calculator,
Soulver keeps tallies and
uses text expressions so
that you needn’t hunt
and peck buttons. $4/$8
iLounge Mobile!
We wouldn’t include our
own iPhone/iPod touch web
interface in this list, taking
the place of some worthy
third-party app, but iLounge
Mobile was developed to
provide a clean small screen
way to access our content
when you’re not near a
computer. Text is boosted,
photos formatted to fit the
screen’s width, and links
to our major site sections plus search - are all found
on the main page. Just visit to view
the site; it’s a free web app!
100 Essential Apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Epicurious Recipes & Shopping
List (Universal iPhone/iPad)
Originally released as an iPhone app last year,
CondeNet’s Epicurious came into its own with
an iPad redesign that made ideal use of the 9.7”
screen as a multi-paned cookbook. While it’s one
thing to see one proposed recipe at a time on a 3.5”
display, it’s entirely another to access a scrolling
list of beautiful photos alongside a collection of
seasonally updated categories, with recipes that
are brilliantly split separately into ingredient and
instruction panes. The app’s ability to instantly
create shopping lists for recipes is also impressive.
Few apps show the iPad’s potential so well. FREE
Discover for iPad
Browse Wikipedia with
a more interesting iPad
interface, including nice
fonts and background
themes, plus links to
related articles. FREE
Google Mobile
Now with Goggles,
which IDs the contents of
iPhone photos for Google
searches, this also added
iPad support and push
notifications. FREE
Equibase Racing
ESPN ScoreCenter
Siri Assistant
Impressively presents
horse race stats with full
video, records, and details
on records of horses and
jockeys - for no charge.
Quite a leg up. FREE
Purchased by Apple, Siri
translates your voice into
search queries, instantly
telling you movie show
times, weather, and much
more, with links. FREE
Scores and summaries
from major pro and
college games, updated
quickly, now with push
notifications directly to
your device. FREE
A serious Wikipedia
research tool with
bookmarks, in-page
search, and caching in
the paid separate iPad/
iPhone versions. FREE/$5
FlightTrack Pro
Combining live (albeit
slightly delayed) in-air
flight status with the
ability to sync itineraries
and push notify, this is
tops on iPad/iPhone. $10
Detailed multi-layer
weather maps go beyond
mere forecasts and let
you watch live radar, web
cams, and more, with a
global scope. FREE
100 Essential apps
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Video / Video Editing
Netflix (Universal iPad/iPhone)
Though a monthly subscription is necessary to
make use of its features, Netflix’s free app and free
trial period give you a nice opportunity to decide
whether you want to pay for its service: unlimited,
nearly instant streaming of Netflix’s growing movie
and TV show library, plus one or more DVD rentals
by mail at a time. Originally appealing to existing
Netflix rental customers, the U.S. and Canadian
streaming service continues to improve in selection
and device support so rapidly that DVDs are
becoming less necessary; iPads, iPhones, and iPods,
as well as PCs/Macs and new Apple TVs, can share
one account for as little as $9/month. FREE
There’s much,
much more!
ABC Player
Air Video
Forget iTunes rentals;
watch ABC’s top shows
for no charge, in HD, with
few ads - direct from the
network. Great quality
over 3G or Wi-Fi. FREE
Stream videos directly
from your PC/Mac - even
in non-iOS formats such
as AVI and DiVX - to your
iPhone, iPod, or iPad, with
realtime conversion. $3
iPhone 4 and iPod touch
4G camera users can edit
their videos directly from
the devices with this
Apple app, adding titles,
music, and photos. $5
Qik Video Camera Pro
UStream Broadcaster
Record or stream live
video from old and new
iPhones, complete with
realtime special video
effects and easy social
sharing options. $3
Supporting iPad and
more iPhone/touch
models than iMovie, this
editing, transition, and
titling app is slow but
powerful and only... $4
Send live video directly
from iPhone 3G, 3GS, or
4 over 3G or Wi-Fi to a
server where web users
can view and comment in
real time. FREE
We’ve included a
small collection
of runners up on
the next several
pages, but we’ve
reviewed so many
apps this year that
it’s best to keep up
with them every
week. Visit iLounge.
com for our weekly
iPhone + iPad Gems
columns, as well
as Small Apps +
Updates roundups,
which offer looks at
new, exciting, and
sometimes so-so
apps for the iPad,
iPhone, and iPod
2011 Buyers’ Guide
All Categories
Wired Magazine
A number of noteworthy magazines have tried to
bring their print editions to life on the iPad; Wired
is in some ways the most interesting. Stories on
movies and music evolve from still images and text
into video and audio clips, letting you experience
the film or artist being profiled; graphics with
foreign-language text are translated instantly with
the press of a button, and automatically reorient for
landscape and portrait orientations with reflowed
text. But in an age where publishers have been
forced to heavily discount if not give away their
magazines, Wired carries a full issue price tag, and
it’s hard to imagine paying $60 per year for this. $5
Art Authority
Bartleby’s Book
Another next-generation
interactive book for kids,
this one using buttons,
switches and levers to
move a nicely illustrated,
brief iPad story along. $3
Adds push notifications
to Twitter, e-mail, news
readers, and other apps
that you want to keep
instant on, including
Facebook on iPad. FREE
Compass HD
Find My iPhone
The iPad app has 40,000
paintings from 1,000
artists, available quickly
from any Internet
connection. Visual and
eductional. $10.
Adds numerous special
effects and filters to
iPhone 3GS/4 and iPod
touch 4G videos, though
some are locked inside
in-app purchases. $2
Fishbone’s stylish iPadonly reskinning of the
iPhone 3GS/4 compass
provides multiple styles
and panes, including map
and save features. $2
If you’ve lost an iPad/
iPhone/iPod touch, this
app works with Apple’s
MobileMe to pinpoint its
location using a second
iOS device. FREE
Another Apple calculator
replacement, this one
adds a recording tape
and exporting, with big
buttons on the iPad, two
screens on iPhone. $2
Fortune Magazine
This iPad-only evolution
of the financial magazine
is too expensive, but has
a sharp UI that rotates
and uses buttons and
graphics effectively. $5
2011 Buyers’ Guide
All Categories
Life Wonders of the World (iPad)
Based upon a year-old coffee table edition, Life’s
Wonders of the World Photography Book for the
iPad sells for much less and features the same
impressive photos of 50 different natural and
man-made sites, arranged here as horizontallyscrolling images with vertically-accessible text.
Unfortunately restricted solely to landscape mode
viewing without the ability to zoom in on images,
the app nonetheless provides an informative and
visually engaging experience, allowing you to gawk
or learn as you prefer. It’s a good stab at transferring
an existing photo book to iPad format, though an
interactive sequel’s easy to imagine. $10
IMDb Movies & TV
NY Times
Osfoora HD
Perfect Web Browser
A simplified iOS interface
for the movie, TV, and
industry database of
record, providing easier
access than the popular
web site. FREE
Offers most of the better
New York Times web
site with formatting that
more closely resembles
the venerable paper; not
flashy, but classy. FREE
Frills galore are what this
paid Twitter client offers
over the new official one
for the iPad, plus a dark
UI that focuses on clean
access to key features. $4
Tabs, privacy settings,
and VGA output are just
a few of the features this
offers over Safari on the
iPad; saves pages and
flips much faster. $3
Popular Mechanics+
As a demo of what this
print magazine could do
with an iPad app, offers
neat interactive graphics
that bring still images to
life, and more. $2
Popular Science+
Automatic recording of
your GPS location for the
purpose of geotagging
photos; just create a “trip,”
set an update interval
and go. $1
More expensive than the
other photo geotagger
Phototrip, Placetagger
has been updated more
often, has smart options,
and multitasks, too. $10
Early to the iPad
magazine party and now
cheaper, PopSci has some
great page designs with
scrolling parallax artwork
and buttons. $3
2011 Buyers’ Guide
All Categories
WeatherStation Free (iPad)
Some iPad users will use Apple’s built-in picture
frame feature to display photos; others will
see the 9.7” screen as a great place for stylish
displays of information. Bigsool’s aptly-named
WeatherStation Free turns the screen into a
wide or portrait equivalent of a digital weather
tool with the time and date at the top, and large
weather and temperature indications in the center.
With multiple color options for the screen and
text, WeatherStation outperforms the dedicated
standalone devices it emulates, and the price
is right, too. We’d love to see its panels become
buttons to lead to even more content. FREE
As one of several nextgeneration iPad RSS news
readers, Pulse presents
feeds with as much photo
content as possible on a
clean, dark grid. $2
If you keep this app
running and make friends
aware of it, sending SMS
and MMS messages can
become free - even to
iPads and iPods. FREE
StockWatch iPad
Like Apple’s Stocks app
on steroids, StockWatch
turns an iPad into a
market monitor with as
many companies and
indices as you want. $6
U.K.-only, this app offers
realtime scheduling of a
BSkyB DVR directly from
the iPhone with clear
buttons and no need for
a web interface. FREE
Top 100s By Year
Winnie Puzzle Book
iPad- and iPhone-ready,
this Winnie the Pooh
app offers simple but
beautiful puzzles plus a
Pooh story, with pleasant
voice narration. $1
Users of EyeFi cards
and other photo autouploading camera gear
can send their files
directly to the iPad or
iPhone with this app. $8
Thousands of popular
songs are streamed from
this app automatically by
year, letting you focus on
some of the best tracks as
background audio. $2
Find and access shared
cars from this popular car
rental service using one
app that does everything
from reserving to
opening up the car. FREE
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The iPod/iPhone/iPad
Buyers’ Guide
iPod, iPhone, or iPad:
Buy Now, or Wait?
Apple’s annual device refreshes place
prospective buyers in a constant timing
dilemma: “if I buy now, won’t I just be
angry when the new one comes out?” The
answer’s “maybe.” With few exceptions,
each new model improves on the one
that came before, but generally burn only
late-in-the-game purchasers who didn’t
get enough value before something
better came along. As 2010 draws to
a close, iPods have just been refreshed,
new iPads are likely only months away,
and new iPhones are believed to be
coming in early and mid-2011 - but
nothing’s certain. On the following
pages, you’ll see Apple’s current lineup,
focusing on what’s great and what’s
wrong, thus most likely to change in the
future. We also offer pointers on getting
top cash for used Apple devices when
you’re ready to upgrade.
The iPod and iPhone Family Two iPads and a New Apple TV iPod shuffle (Fourth-Generation)
iPod nano (Sixth-Generation)
iPod classic (Second-Generation/160GB)
iPod touch (Fourth-Generation)
iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4
iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G
Apple TV (Second-Generation)
Where to Buy New iPods, iPhones + Add-Ons
How to Buy/Sell Used iPods + iPhones
Evolving Apple Colors + Textures
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
The iPod and iPhone Family.
Though there are 27* different iPod and iPhone models to
choose from this year, the 32GB iPod touch is the family’s high
point on features for the dollar, with other models offering
relatively good rather than great alternatives. We explain why in
upcoming pages; here, we show their individual specifications.
iPod classic
iPod nano
iPod shuffle
1.14” x 1.24” x 0.34”
1.48” x 1.61” x 0.35”
4.1” x 2.4” x 0.41”
Music & Data Storage
Sport-Ready Media Player
High-Capacity Media Player
0.44 Ounces
0.74 Ounces
4.9 Ounces
1.54” / 240x240 / 220ppi
2.5” / 320x240 / 163ppi
15 Hour Battery
24-33 Hour Battery
36-42 Hour Battery
3 + ~50 iTunes Downloads
6 Hour Battery
Improved from last
year’s version, this
audio-only player is
cheap and colorful,
but lacks for a screen
and storage capacity
to hold all your music.
The switch to a tiny body
and touchscreen lost nano
its video and gaming
features, as well as interface
conveniences, but it’s a
wearable novelty due to its
new rear clip, if overpriced.
High storage capacity is the
only remaining virtue of this
now-ignored model, which
wasn’t updated for 2010.
Plays audio and videos, but
not increasingly important
iOS apps or games.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
iPhone 3GS
iPhone 4
4.4” x 2.3” x 0.28”
4.5” x 2.4” x 0.48”
4.5” x 2.31” x 0.37”
Touchscreen Wi-Fi Media Player
Touchscreen Media Phone
Touchscreen Media Phone
$99 Plus Contract
$199-$299 Plus Contract
3.56 Ounces
4.8 Ounces
4.8 Ounces
3.5” / 960x640 / 326ppi
3.5” / 480x320 / 163ppi
3.5” / 960x640 / 326ppi
29-30 Hour Battery
40-52 Hour Battery
App Store Downloads
App Store Downloads
9-10 Hour Battery
10-11 Hour Battery
A- (32GB) / B+ (8GB/64GB)
High-resolution screens and
twin video cameras for HD
recording and video calling
make all three touches strong,
but the 32GB is the best value;
slim and with strong battery
life, only iPhone 4 does more.
A step down from iPhone
4 in speed, screen quality,
battery, and camera
features, 3GS is nonetheless
a good starter iPhone for
$99, including the same iOS
and video recording.
Better than 3GS in all ways
save antenna performance
and durability, iPhone 4
has family-leading speed,
camera, and screen
performance on its side,
plus near-great battery life.
iPod touch
39-40 Hour Battery
Games: App Store Downloads
7-8 Hour Battery
(*/White “Delayed”)
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Two iPads + A New Apple TV.
New iPads may debut in
early 2011, but today’s
models are the best
first-generation devices
Apple has released in
years - priced well and
beautifully executed.
The company’s new
second-gen Apple TV
is also an improvement
over its three-year-old
predecessor, with added
features planned for late
2010’s launch of iOS 4.2.
iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G
9.56” x 7.47” x 0.5”
9.56” x 7.47” x 0.5”
Wi-Fi Tablet
Wi-Fi + Cellular Tablet With GPS
802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi + GSM 3G
1.5 Pounds
1.6 Pounds
9.7” / 1024x768 / 132ppi
9.7” / 1024x768 / 132ppi
Approx. 6 Day Battery
Approx. 6 Day Battery
10 Hour Wi-Fi Battery
10 Hour Wi-Fi/8-9 Hour 3G Battery
App Store Downloads
App Store Downloads
10-12 Hour Battery
10-12 Hour Battery
Equally easy for toddlers and
grandparents to understand,
Apple’s first tablet computer is a
home run, delivering beautiful
3-D graphics and most of the apps
from iPods + iPhones. No camera
and screen-filling apps are issues.
Just like the cheaper model but
with the ability to use AT&T’s and
other cellular networks for $15$25 monthly fees, the 3G-ready
iPad is the right pick for power
users and frequent GPS mappers
who are willing to spend more.
iPad with Wi-Fi
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Apple TV
Optical Audio
0.9” x 3.9” x 3.9”
HD Video/Photo/Audio Streaming
8GB (Not User-Accessible)
802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
0.6 Pounds
None, HDTV With HDMI Required
Streams From iTunes, iOS Devices
Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, Radio
Rentals + Streamed iTunes/iOS
One-quarter the size of the
original Apple TV, this new plastic
version runs cooler while losing
the 160GB hard disk in favor of
streaming from other devices.
Weak TV show list is offset by
growing Netflix + movie libraries.
Understanding our Ratings. iLounge’s letter grade
ratings break down into “excellent” (A), “good” (B),
“okay” (C), and “bad” (D) marks, with two ratings
(D- / F) reserved for products with serious defects.
A grades are reserved for the very best products
we highly recommend to our readers. Fewer
than 2% of all products we review receive flat A
grades, while A- ratings indicate small issues that
limit their universal appeal. B grades are issued
to products we generally recommend to our
readers, with caveats. These products are almost
universally well-made and useful, but have one or
more large issues that limit their universal appeal.
Products receiving B- grades qualify only for our
limited recommendation, which means “think
before buying.” C grades are for products that we
consider to be decent, but wouldn’t recommend
buying given other, better options, and D grades
are for products that we would pass on no matter
what. If you see a D- or F rating, both now rare, that
means our testing uncovered something seriously
wrong with its core functionality (D-), or potentially
dangerous to users (F).
The iLounge Difference. Over the years, the
distinctions between true “reviews” and marketing
hype disguised as analysis have become harder
to spot. Our reviews are written by hard-working
specialists who have covered Apple for years, but
don’t have behind-the-scenes relationships with
Apple or its developers. Agree or disagree with our
conclusions, you can trust that we’ll present you
with the info you need to make your own choices.
As a fully independent company, iLounge has
provided impartial reviews of Apple products
since the iPod’s 2001 release. Because of a strict
separation between our business and editorial
sides, and our strong belief in the value of an
objective resource for Apple customers around
the world, our reviews are in no way influenced
by advertising or outside concerns. We have no
agenda other than the promotion of a happy and
well-informed global community of Apple users.
Get Far More Detail From Our Complete Reviews.
Our Buyers’ Guide is desinged to be a convenient
summary of the comprehensive reviews we publish
online, all of which are archived at
index.php/accessories/. We spotlight new reviews
on our main page several times each week, and
with only limited exceptions, make an effort to
review products by as many different developers as
possible. Please address any questions regarding
our reviews to
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
iPod shuffle
2 GB - 15 Hour Battery - Music - Data - $49 US
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While Apple has fixed the problems with last year’s model,
bolstered the battery life to 15 hours, and improved the
sound quality - all positives - the iPod shuffle offers little save
for its low price. With too little storage for the average user’s
music library, and no screen, you’re left to load it with small
batches of tracks that can play with little direct control - or in
random mode, hence the “shuffle” name. Most users would be
best off spending a little more and buying one of last year’s
discontinued $99 iPod nanos, which offer great value. But if
budget and simplicity are critical, this is good enough for $49.
Last year’s iPod shuffle flopped due to its confusing and
ultimately failure-prone reliance on a wired three-button
remote for its track and volume controls. So Apple took its
two new features and dropped them into this: a smaller but
better retread of the second-generation iPod shuffle, now
with multiple playlists accessed by spoken VoiceOver menus.
A dedicated VoiceOver button on top activates the vocal
prompting, telling you artist, song, and playlist titles, as well
as battery status. A six-button Control Pad on front is now the
size of a U.S. quarter, with just enough polished aluminum on
all sides to make the device easy to hold, and a shirt clip on
the back to match one of its five body colors.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
This year’s five iPod shuffle
colors are identical to some of
the ones used for the current
iPod nano: muted rose pink
and copper-like orange with
silver, dull blue, and green.
Every iPod shuffle’s
box shrinks and loses
something from the prior
version, and this one
follows the pattern: the
included earphones lose
last year’s three-button
remote control, since the
buttons are back on the
shuffle. The tiny USB-toheadphone port charging
and syncing cable is still
there, as are comically
small instructions and an
Apple logo sticker.
As with the last two iPod
shuffles, this model has
a firm rear shirt clip that
can be used to attach the
device to your clothing.
New is the VoiceOver
button on the top,
between the power switch
and headphone port.
What’s most remarkable about the new iPod shuffle is that
it has lost virtually nothing besides size versus the 2005
original; the only major omission is the lack of a built-in USB
connector, requiring users to carry a little cable around or
wait to sync and charge at home. Otherwise, the $49 2GB
iPod shuffle offers better sound, capacity, and features than
the original plastic $99 512MB model, while building upon
the control options of the second-generation shuffle and
taking the VoiceOver/multiple playlist features from the third.
Size aside, the biggest physical change in the new iPod
shuffle is the look and feel of the aluminum, which has
been polished to a reflective finish rather than left with the
prior matte texture used for almost all of Apple’s past metal
products. The new finish is a little more eye-catching than
on prior shuffles, but also makes them slippery with moist
fingers, a possible issue when removing the shuffle after a
workout. Users continue to complain about the headphone
port’s susceptibility to sweat intrusion; turning the shuffle
upside down may help limit the port’s exposure to moisture.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
iPod nano
8-16 GB - 24-33 Hour Battery - Music - FM Radio - Photos - Data - $149-179 US
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The new iPod nano is streamlined - and still Nike + iPodready - but so threadbare that it no longer justifies $149
(8GB) or $179 (16GB) asking prices. Even if it feels like a
novelty model, destined to be replaced next year by a
better sequel, it has strong sound quality, and would have
been a great long-term replacement for the iPod shuffle.
There’s only one multi-touch gesture for the iPod nano,
two fingers to rotate the square screen, plus swipable sets
of four icons that look like the iPhone’s. Unfortunately,
they point to more trivial features: non-deletable icons for
“Composers,” “Genius Mixes,” “Fitness,” and “Photos,” even if
you don’t use them. Seven color choices remain, all with
less gloss and most with less saturation than last year’s.
As last year’s iPod shuffle demonstrated, Apple occasionally
sacrifices too much in the name of shrinking its products,
and the new iPod nano is the latest example: it literally
tosses away the video playback, video camera, gameplaying, and bigger screen of last year’s model in favor of an
audio-only device, now with a shirt clip and tiny, marginally
useful “multi-touch” display. The screen packs more detail
into a small space than any Apple product except for the
iPhone 4 and new iPod touch, but is only 1.54” on the
diagonal - so small that you can’t do much with it.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Barely taller than the included
earphones, the new nano
arrives with a USB to Dock
Connector cable, manual, and
Apple sticker in its box. Old
accessories still work, too.
The new 1.54” screen is so
small that album art gets
overlaid with icons and
text. Apple’s seven colors
include the iPod shuffle’s
five, plus a rich red and an
oddly dull graphite gray,
each with a polished finish
and rear shirt clips.
Shrinking the iPod nano required falling back to the feature
set of the original 2005 and 2006 models, dropping the
movie and TV show support of the “fat” nano and its later
tall-screened sequels. All Apple has added is a rear clip that
enables the nano to be worn on a shirt, jacket, or bag, with
the headphone port and Dock Connector remaining on the
bottom, and three buttons for volume and screen on-off
along the top surface. The new nano’s screen rotating ability
lets you move the buttons and ports to the sides or upside
down, though athletes will want to avoid moisture intrusion
by keeping both ports at the bottom as much as possible.
One change is the surface texture: whereas the prior model
had what looked like a layer of gloss atop the metal, the new
one either uses less gloss or a different process to achieve its
“polished aluminum” look.
The top and bottom surfaces
are not as slick, making them
a little easier to grip with
moist fingers while opening
the clip, until they get oily.
Apple preserves last
year’s integrated FM radio
and pedometer, while
supporting voice memo
recording and the Nike +
iPod Sport Kit for runners
if you provide the $29 mic
or Nike accessories. It also
has a photo display mode
with tiny images that look
horrifyingly bad when
played through a TV; video
playback is not an option.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
iPod classic
160 GB - 36-42 Hour Battery - Music - Photos - Videos - Games - Data - $249 US
With its tenth anniversary coming up in 2011, the iPod classic
has officially become an anachronism: a device with nothing but
its hard disk - a mixed blessing - to offer. The current-generation
iPod classic remains unchanged from last year’s 160GB model,
and virtually identical to the 120GB 2008 version, as well; only
the charcoal-colored faceplate and capacity set it apart from the
jet black 80GB unit introduced in 2007. While the iPod classic
plays music, photos, videos, and a small collection of sincediscontinued pre-iOS games, it doesn’t excel at any of them, with
an outdated menu system, no support for apps, and a 2.5” screen
that’s only marginally better than the one in last year’s iPod nano.
It’s also the bulkiest iPod by far, and comparatively drab.
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But the iPod classic continues to have more storage capacity than
any other iPod, iPhone, or iPad, with enough room for most users’
entire iTunes music and video libraries, at a lower price than the
32GB iPod touch or 32GB iPhone. If sheer space is enough to hook
you, consider it; our advice would otherwise be to pass.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
In addition to the
headphones and Dock
Connector cable found in
the iPod nano box, Apple
includes a Dock Adapter
with the iPod classic,
helping it to fit inside
common “universal” iPod
and iPhone docks and
speakers. It’s the only iPod
model that’s still sold in a
cardboard box.
The iPod classic’s interface
hasn’t changed since 2007,
when it was introduced for
this model and the thirdgeneration iPod nano. It
largely displays black text
on white backgrounds,
like the earliest iPods, and
relies upon Apple’s touchsensitive Click Wheel for
scrolling up and down lists
of choices - better than the
nano for large collections.
The iPod classic’s chassis consists of a silver or dark gray
metal faceplate, a glass screen, plastic Click Wheel, and a
mirror-polished steel back. As shown below, the back casing
scratches and tarnishes very easily - so easily that it needs to
be covered with film straight out of the box or will start to
show marks within minutes. The top has a headphone port
and Hold switch, while the bottom has a Dock Connector
that works with virtually all the same accessories as the
iPod nano, plus FireWire chargers. Headphones with
built-in microphones and three-button remote controls
work fully with this model, which has integrated voice
recording software, plus the longest-lasting battery in the
iPod family - roughly
tied with the iPod touch.
Missing from the classic
are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
features that iPod
touches can use for audio
streaming, so a dongle
is needed for wireless
headphones or speakers.
Because the iPod nano lost
video and game support, iPod
classic is now Apple’s smallestscreened device for watching
TV shows and movies, though
its games are weak and old.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
iPod touch
8-32-64 GB - 30-39 Hr. Battery - Music - Photos - Videos - Games - Internet - FaceTime - $229-$399 US
Let there be no doubt: Apple’s new 32GB iPod touch is, by
design, the family’s “sweet spot:” it has just the right storage
capacity to handle the typical user’s music, video, app, and
game collections with some extra room to spare, and its $299
price tag is fair given what’s inside. This year’s model comes
packed with twin video cameras for FaceTime video calling
and 720p recording, each capable of acting as low-resolution
still cameras. A 960x640 “Retina Display” provides the best
screen yet on an iPod, capable of the same high-resolution
graphics as the iPhone 4 with less viewing angle flexibility.
An improved speaker and built-in microphone help make it a
great iPhone alternative, too, and worthy of our A- rating.
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The $229 8GB model’s too light on storage, and the $399
64GB model’s more generous but too expensive, both earning
our B+ ratings this year, though if your needs and budget
dictate going in either direction, they’re both safe choices.
Apple has packed so much into the new iPod touch - 802.11n
wireless, great battery life, and a fast A4 processor - that it’s
hard to imagine what next year’s model needs, other than a
better rear still camera, more space, GPS, and joystick add-ons.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Running iOS 4, the new iPod
touch has a dedicated app
for FaceTime video calling,
using e-mail addresses for
receiving inbound and making
outbound calls over Wi-Fi.
Web browsing, e-mailing,
Internet-ready apps, and
games are all assets iPod
touch has over the iPod
classic; music playback,
Voice Control, Nike + iPod,
and full screen video, too.
Apple has pulled as much metal from the front and back of
the new iPod touch as possible, reducing what once was
a charcoal bezel down to an even thinner strip of polished
stainless steel than was on the 2008 and 2009 models. That
steel remains on the back, just as susceptible to scratches
and dings as before - a reason to look for protective film or
a case even before you take the touch out of its package.
Volume buttons on the side provide control over the pretty
good built-in speaker, which now vents through a mesh grille
on the bottom next to the Dock Connector and headphone
ports, while the camera, a pinhole microphone, and Sleep/
Wake Button are found together on the top left corner when
viewed from the back. Gone this year is the awkward plastic
antenna cover, as Apple now hides the Wi-Fi entirely inside
the shell, now thinner overall
than iPod shuffles and
nanos. Inside is a gyroscope
for motion tracking, which
will likely be useful for future
games and some apps.
iPod touch’s front and rear
cameras deliver low-res,
fuzzy still pictures by
comparison with iPhone
4 (shown left), so don’t
expect to toss away your
pocket camera for an iPod.
But video is recorded at
640x480 from the front
camera, or 1280x720
(720p) from the rear, both
better than what was on
pre-HD television sets.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
iPhone 3GS
8GB - 29-30 Hour Battery - GSM Phone - Music - Photos - Videos - Games - Internet - $99 US*
Apple’s iPhone 3GS was a strong option when it debuted in 2009,
adding a faster processor, video camera, digital compass, and voice
control features to the older iPhone 3G, and though it’s several
steps behind today’s iPhone 4, it’s an equally good pick for its
lower $99 asking price. Equipped with 8GB of storage - a fair starter
amount for a phone that will get cramped if you add lots of apps
and videos - the 3GS has a GPS chip built in, a decent 3-Megapixel
still camera, and 640x480 video recording capabilities. It also runs
the latest version of iOS, and will be capable of running the next
version as well, providing a year worth of future-proofing. The black
plastic body, once considered a liability, may stand up better to
abuse and accidental drops than the substantially glass iPhone 4.
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But iPhone 3GS’s weak spots are its battery life, which will likely
require mid-day charging for active users, and the comparative
weakness of its still camera, 480x320 screen, video camera, and
speed versus iPhone 4, which improved each feature to the point
that the $100 price premium is worth paying... unless durability or
dropped calls outweigh its other features. Pick iPhone 3GS if you’re
budget-sensitive and not concerned about photography.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Unlike the iPhone 4 and
all iPods, iPhone 3GS
has a chippable plastic
rear shell, glossy black
with silver writing, logos,
buttons, and camera ring.
The front is glass with an
oil-resistant coating.
There are now five primary differences between the iPhone
3GS and iPod touch that play out in hardware and software.
First, iPhone 3GS includes the Phone application and the
ability to make or receive calls over a cellular phone network,
though third-party VoIP applications offer Wi-Fi calling for
the iPod touch now, too. Second, the 3GS has SMS and
MMS messaging capabilities, which can be replaced on
the iPod touch with free apps or e-mail. Third, iPhone 3GS
has a GPS chip that makes its Maps application faster and
more accurate at determining your current location, as well
as the fourth difference, a magnetometer that enables it
to offer rough directional information in Maps or its own
Compass application. Fifth is a big difference in camera
technologies. The iPhone 3GS includes a 3.2-Megapixel rear
camera, which easily beats the iPod touch’s 0.7-Megapixel
still capabilities. But 3GS falls short on video, and doesn’t
include FaceTime support or a second, front-facing camera.
Other differences include the 3GS’s lower-resolution screen,
lack of a gyroscope, and weaker battery life under some
circumstances. You can choose what’s right for your needs;
bear in mind the iPhone 3GS’s 2-year contract, though.
Autofocus and extra pixels
make the iPhone 3GS capable
of better photos and video
than predecessors, though the
lens is smaller and does worse
in low light than iPhone 4.
Unlike iPods, the iPhone
3GS includes Apple’s
Earphones with Remote
and Mic, standard
earphones with a threebutton remote control
and microphone built in.
It also comes with a small
wall power adapter and
a Dock Connector to USB
charging cable, Apple
stickers, and instructional
booklets, plus a SIM tool.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
iPhone 4
16-32 GB - 40-52 Hr. Battery - Phone - Music - Photos - Videos - Games - Internet - FaceTime - $199-$299 US*
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Except if you hold the phone the wrong way without a case, at
which point its signal strength can fall to zero or near-zero levels
in some, but not all environments. This design flaw led Apple to
give away free cases, and later, lackluster free “Bumpers” to users
experiencing problems. Putting that and the risk of glass damage
aside, an encased iPhone 4 is extremely easy to recommend to any
past iPhone user and most new ones as well; the only reasons to
hold off are if you need something less expensive (iPhone 3GS),
want something more durable (iPhone 5?), or are waiting for the
white model, which has been delayed repeatedly since June.
If its well-documented antenna issues weren’t a factor, the iPhone
4 would have been the highest-rated iPhone in history: it is in most
ways as close to the ideal phone as Apple has come, with improved
battery life, a beautiful - albeit fragile - glass and metal body,
an even better 960x640 Retina Display than the one in the iPod
touch, and twin cameras that work well enough to replace lowend dedicated point-and-shoot units. FaceTime video calls, regular
phone calls, and apps all perform impressively on the iPhone 4;
cellular uploads are markedly faster than iPhone 3GS’s, as well.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
The iPhone 4 screen has more
detail than the human eye
can perceive, which makes for
great graphics but also can
increase data downloads and
loading times unnecessarily.
iPhone 4’s screen (right)
has four times the
detail of iPhone 3GS’s
(left), a difference that’s
noticeable in person but
less obvious as you hold
the phone away from your
face. Though it has the
same 960x640 resolution
as the new iPod touch, the
iPhone 4’s viewing angles
are markedly better, so
people sitting to the left or
right of an iPhone 4 user
can easily see the screen.
Twin cameras enable the
iPhone 4 to offer FaceTime
video calling over Wi-Fi;
the rear camera takes
720p videos and nearly
5-Megapixel still pictures,
even in low light. An LED
flash helps in darkness.
Apart from its controversial body changes, which saw the
iPhone lose considerable metal over time in favor of glossy
plastic and then more glass, iPhone 4 loses almost nothing
save thickness from the iPhone 3GS. It comes with the same
remote- and microphone-aided Earphones, a small wall
adapter, USB cable, Apple stickers, and instructions, though
not always the SIM card ejection tool. Apple also added an
echo-cancelling microphone to the new model, as well as a
gyroscope for superior motion tracking in games and other
apps, 802.11n wireless compatibility, and a faster CPU Apple’s A4, with more RAM than the iPad or new iPod touch.
Unusually, Apple announced and then repeatedly delayed
the white version of iPhone 4 shown here, blaming
unspecified production challenges for its absence. Rumors
have suggested that light leaks or camera issues were to
blame, while others surmised that Apple wanted to fix
antenna issues before releasing the second color. As of the
publication date of this Buyers’ Guide, the white iPhone 4 is
still not available; it is now supposed to arrive in Spring 2011.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Understanding iPhone 3GS + 4: Key Features
There’s a lot more to learn about how the iPhones perform. Here’s what you need to know.
Both iPhones
support monaural
headsets and
stereo streaming
to speakers and
earphones using
Bluetooth 2.1. Apple
will soon add a new
streaming standard
called AirPlay, which
uses Wi-Fi and will
only work with new
and better wireless
accessories, while
costing $50-$100
more per accessory.
Each iPhone
supports four
different cell
standards (GSM,
3G, HSDPA 3G),
compatible with cell
networks in almost
every country in
the world. iPhone
4 adds 5.8Mbps
HSUPA for speedier
data uploading,
sharing pictures and
videos much faster
than iPhone 3GS.
The 8GB iPhone
3GS has 7.25GB of
usable space for
contacts, music,
videos, apps, and
photos, while
the 16GB iPhone
4 actually has
14.6GB, and the
32GB model has
29GB. The extra
space is important
for video storage,
recording, and
many new, large
Both iPhones can
use 802.11b or
802.11g networks to
get faster Internet
speeds than 3G,
using less power
for data features.
iPhone 4 adds
802.11n (2.4GHz
only) support,
working with even
faster home and
office networks if
you have them,
and falling back to
802.11b/g if not.
Understanding iPhone 3GS + 4: Gotchas
You won’t see these details in Apple’s marketing materials - they’ll surprise some first-time users.
Screen Glare
iPhone 4’s metal
central antenna
has gaps that can,
if bridged by being
touched with your
hand, drop the
cellular signal down
to zero. A case can
and should be used
to fix this and limit
glass damage, too.
iPhone 3GS can run
out of juice by midday unless mildly
used or connected
to a charger. iPhone
4 has a bigger
battery and more
efficient chips, so it
gets extra hours for
calling, video, web,
and playing games.
Both iPhones show
smudges and
surface scratches
if left unencased
or otherwise
unprotected. iPhone
4’s glass body
can crack easily if
dropped on a hard
surface; iPhone 3GS
chips a little, instead.
The glass face on
each iPhone reflects
light, particularly
outdoors, and
gathers smudges,
too. Anti-glare film
reduces both of
these problems so
significantly that
squinting and wipedowns just stop.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Understanding iPhone 3GS + 4: Buy Now, Pay Later Pricing
The hardware is only half of the price; iPhones generally require 3G data contracts with monthly fees.
AT&T (U.S.)
O2 (U.K.)
Softbank (Japan)
8GB iPhone 3GS
¥37,920* 3,799EGP
16GB iPhone 4
New customer price
New customer price
32GB iPhone 4
Monthly Data
Service Charges
New customer price
US ~$205
US ~$365
US ~$524
$15~£30/18 mo.
200MB data/0 minutes
+ $36 Activation Fee
500MB data/100 min.
~US $48/month
US ~$468 (*16GB)
US ~$568
US ~$710
Egypt (Mobinil)
US ~$658
US ~$807
US ~$952
Unl. data/0 mins.
~US$51/mo, 24mo.
500MB data/100m
Battery Repair
Minimum 8GB Cost $564
Minimum 16GB Cost $664
Minimum 32GB Cost $764
Unlike iPods and iPads, paying for an iPhone
generally only starts with the initial purchase
of the device, which in some countries costs
as little as nothing for an 8GB model, and in
others can be nearly $1,000 for a 32GB unit
without a contract. You then have to pay
monthly service fees that vary substantially
between countries. Except in countries such
as Egypt, where you buy the handset and have
no obligation to pay for ongoing service, most
of Apple’s data service providers require 18- or
24-month contracts, so you must add $396
in data fees for AT&T, $864 for the U.K.’s O2, or
$1,224 for Japan’s Softbank; Egypt’s Mobinil
charges a ransom for the phone, but sells
monthly service at a low price. SMS and MMS
messages may or may not be extra, depending
on territory; they start at $5/month in the U.S
and quickly climb upwards for unlimited use.
Voice minutes are generally extra, too.
There are also some potential hidden costs.
Apple’s warranty only lasts for a year, after
which you’ll have to pay either a battery
replacement fee - outrageously priced relative
to most phones - or in some countries, a still
pricey AppleCare warranty plan instead. Our
minimum costs include AppleCare for phones
on contract; otherwise, you’ll have to buy a new
phone or seek third-party repairs if your iPhone
dies before the 18- or 24-month contract ends.
There’s no doubt that the iPhone 3GS and 4
add a lot of on-the-go Internet convenience
that an iPod touch lacks; you’ll need to decide
whether it’s worth paying hundreds of dollars
more for that data access, as well as the features
mentioned on the prior pages, and having to
share a battery between your phone and your
iPod. iPhone 3GS users may well be better off
with an iPod touch and a separate phone.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
iPad with Wi-Fi
16/32/64 GB - 10+ Hour Battery - Music - Photos - Videos - Books - Games - Internet - $499-$699 US
n g
Also known as the iPad with Wi-Fi, Apple’s basic iPad
model is basically a laptop with a virtual as-you-needit keyboard instead of a physical one. Shipped with
a wall charger and USB cord - nothing else - it comes
with 16, 32 or 64 Gigabytes of storage, all using fast
flash memory rather than hard drives. Most prominent
is a bright, colorful 9.7” touchscreen with 1024x768
resolution - more detail than even the latest iPhone
and iPod touch, and seven times the surface area. This
screen lets you browse full-sized web pages, watch
high-definition videos, and use gorgeous Google maps
for between 10 and 13 hours, depending on how much
you use its built-in 802.11a/b/g/n wireless card; it can
also run virtually all of the 300,000 games and apps
developed for iPhones, plus tens of thousands designed
specifically for iPads. Its biggest limitations: for now, it
depends upon a full-fledged computer and iTunes for
initial setup and synchronization, doesn’t offer FaceTime
video calling, and fills the screen with one app at a time,
unlike Macs and PCs. But what it does, it does very well.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G
16/32/64 GB - 9-10+ Hour Battery - Music - Photos - Videos - Books - Games - Internet - GPS - $629-$829 US
n g
Nearly identical to the standard iPad in hardware,
capacity, and software features, the iPad with Wi-Fi +
3G adds two capabilities: GPS, which lets you more
accurately locate your current position on maps and
in third-party navigation applications, and optional
cellular data service, which allows most of the iPad’s
Internet-based features to work in your car or anywhere
else you might be traveling. Apple charges a $130
premium for this version, which has a black antenna
strip running across its back, top, and front bezel, and
cellular providers such as AT&T offer month-to-month
3G data plans without requiring multi-year contracts.
The good news: this iPad can completely replace an
iPhone for everything but telephone calls, providing
users with a bigger, better screen for web, mail, media,
and apps. Bad news: 3G data speeds on some networks,
including AT&T’s, can be sluggish for uploading and
video-viewing, and the $15 data-capped service plan
is ill-suited to the iPad. Still, if you need on-the-road
access to the Internet, this iPad’s a very good option.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
What’s On iPad’s Outside: The Basics
A button on top turns off the display, and a button on front brings you back to the iPad’s Home screen.
Glass Front, Aluminum Back
Quite like the top lid of a MacBook Pro laptop, the iPad has a minimalist glass face that runs nearly
from edge to edge, apart from a thin silver aluminum bezel that frames the otherwise black glossy
surface. After half an hour or more of use, the front glass gets covered in fingerprints, a problem
reduced by good anti-smudge film protectors. Durable but scratchable aluminum continues from the
front bezel on all sides to form the device’s back, which bulges to 0.5” thick at the center. That’s where
you’ll find a glossy Apple logo and the iPad name. The iPad with Wi-Fi +3G also has a black plastic
antenna compartment on its back top, as well as a micro-SIM card slot on the lower half of its left side.
Headphone Port + Mic
Screen Lock + Volume
Dock Connector
iPad’s 3.5mm headphone
port fits virtually any pair
of earphones, and also
supports Apple threebutton remote controls
and microphones. A tiny
hole hides iPad’s built-in
microphone, which works
surprisingly well for voice
recording and VoIP calls.
A small switch above the
iPad’s right-mounted
volume control buttons
locks the screen in
your choice of four
orientations: up, down,
left, or right. Yes, the iPad
even works upside down,
with its Home button
above the screen.
Apple’s 30-pin
port is again on
the iPad’s bottom,
dead centered,
for connection to
cables, chargers,
docks, and future
speakers, as well
as the iPad Camera
Connection Kit.
Though the iPad
technically has left
and right speakers
inside, they’re so
close together
that you’ll struggle
to hear stereo
separation; the
volume level and
clarity are solid.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
What’s In The Box: Too Little
iPad’s box includes nothing more than a
wall power adapter, a USB cable, a onepage instruction card, a warranty booklet,
and stickers; the 3G version adds a SIM
tray-opening tool. Conspicuously absent
are necessities such as a stand or a screencleaning cloth; Apple sells two different
docks ($29-$69), a case ($39), extra power
adapters ($29), a camera adapter kit ($29),
and video cables ($29-$49) separately.
Domestic + International iPad Data Pricing: Pay-As-You-Go Service
Most iPads with Wi-Fi + 3G are shipped unlocked, so you can buy 3G data service from different
companies - assuming that they sell micro-SIMs, miniature SIM cards that are only just beginning
to become available. In the United States, only AT&T currently offers micro-SIMs and 3G service, but
Apple’s international partners are rapidly jumping on board. Here are some of the current options.
iPad with Wi-Fi
iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G
Low-End Data
High-End Data
USA: Verizon
$629-$829 (Including MiFi) $20/1GB
Canada: Rogers
UK: Vodafone
Australia: Telstra
France: Orange
Italy: 3
Germany: O2
Spain: Vodafone
Switzerland: Swisscom 649-849CHF 799-1049CHF19CHF/300MB
Japan: SoftBank
¥48800-¥68800 ¥61920-¥81840¥4410/1GB
There are small differences in iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G micro-SIM pack-ins from
country to country. In the United States, the AT&T micro-SIM is pre-installed
in the iPad, but in other countries, a card may or may not be included in the
package, requiring the customer to visit the data service provider’s store and
purchase one. Where that’s the case, the price is typically under €5, and may
include data service. Removing the micro-SIM card tray is as simple as inserting
the sharp edge of the included tray removal tool into a hole on the tray’s side,
which pops it out of the iPad. A micro-SIM will fit, letting the tray slide back in.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
What’s Inside the iPad: Key Hardware Features
The iPad shares features with the iPhone 4 and iPod touch, besides the bigger screen and battery.
16GB iPads have
14GB of usable
space; 32GB iPads
have 29GB, and
64GB iPads have
59GB. We advise
32GB or more.
Each iPad supports
802.11a, b, g, and n
wireless networks
for fast access to
the Internet, an
over pre-2010
iPhones and iPods.
Web pages and
Google maps load
noticeably faster,
even given the
iPad’s bigger screen,
when using 802.11n;
battery life with WiFi is better than 3G.
Like both iPhones
and the iPod touch,
iPad supports
Bluetooth 2.1
for stereo audio
streaming to
headphones and
speakers, as well
as wireless gaming
between various
iPhone OS devices.
iPad has support
for Bluetooth
keyboards - a huge
benefit for word
processor users.
The more expensive
iPad with Wi-Fi
+ 3G includes
support for GSM,
and HSDPA 3G for
global cellular data
access, assuming
that you sign up for
a data plan. Tests
on AT&T’s network
show slow 200Kb/
second uploads and
2Mb/sec downloads,
below iPad’s peak
7.2MB/sec ability.
With Wi-Fi off, iPad
can play videos
for 13 hours; it can
web surf for 10
hours, and play
games for ~9.
What an iPad Can Do: Apple’s Free Apps
Every iPad ships with 13 applications, a new feature called Picture Frame, and free access to iBooks.
Picture Frame. A little flower
icon on the bottom right of
the iPad’s Lock Screen lets it
display a slideshow while idle.
iBooks. Free from the App Store, Apple’s competitor to Amazon’s
Kindle includes two halves: a nice book reader with the ability to
display user-formattable downloaded books, and the iBookstore,
which sells and gives away books from a 100,000-title library.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Calendar. A day planner
with week and month views,
synced to your computer.
Contacts. Store names,
numbers, addresses and
more for friends and family.
Notes. A simple text editor
for composing, storing, and
syncing personal memos.
Videos. Play 720p HD TV
shows, movies and podcasts.
Maps. HD maps, Google
Street View, and a compass.
YouTube. Browse or stream
free videos from the web.
iTunes + App Store. Apple’s
media and software shops.
Settings. Manage iPad’s
options and 3G service here.
Home Screen. Nearly identical to
an iPhone or iPod touch, the iPad’s
bigger Home Screen provides
access to 13 built-in applications,
adding your choice of background
wallpaper, up to six docked
applications, and the ability to
rotate into portrait or landscape
orientations. Scroll left to search or
right to see more apps.
Safari. A fast, beautiful web
browser with bookmarks,
zooming, and nine windows.
Mail. Simple multi-account
email, with photo and some
attachment browsing.
iPod. Play music/audiobooks
in an iTunes-like interface.
Photos. Sync albums from
your computer for fullscreen viewing and sharing.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Apple TV
8 GB - HD Videos - Netflix - YouTube - Streaming Photos - Streaming Music - $99 US
Although Apple repeatedly failed to make its 2007-vintage predecessor a
mainstream product, the second-generation Apple TV - an iTunes media player
for HDTVs - enters the market with three advantages: a much lower price tag, a
smaller, cooler chassis, and access to more affordable video content. Redesigned
as a pure streaming device with no hard disk, the new Apple TV has a small
amount of onboard storage for buffering content from the Internet, a computer
running iTunes, or even certain iOS devices. Users can’t manually fill that storage
space; Apple TV quietly manages it by loading and dumping content as needed.
n g
Armed with access to Netflix, which is also available through competing devices,
the new Apple TV becomes an unlimited source of third-run movies and past
seasons’ TV shows for a $9 monthly subscription fee. Apple also offers video
rentals from the iTunes Store, including a handful of films currently in theaters,
and a terribly small collection of TV shows. That’s because a number of major
studios have signaled that they won’t support the device, which could keep
it from fulfilling its potential as a next-generation way to skip movie theaters
and cable subscriptions while still paying content creators - a compromise that
Apple and consumers would both love, but Apple TV just isn’t doing right now,
the reason it missed a higher rating. Still, it’s nice for $99: Apple ships it with a
cool aluminum remote, but it also works with universal remote controls and a
free Apple-developed iOS Remote app. When iOS 4.2 debuts, music, photos, and
videos will stream from iPads, recent iPhones and iPod touches, making Apple TV
more useful even without Hollywood’s help. Then, it’ll be worth reevaluating.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Apple TV, a black power cable,
remote, Apple stickers and
manuals are all you’ll find in
the tiny box. It’s so small that
the remote - its widest part - is
squeezed in diagonally to fit.
Taken from last year’s Apple TV 3.0 software, the new 4.0 user
interface is virtually the same, but with fewer features. Rental
movies and TV shows from iTunes make up the first two
headers, while Internet hides the paid subscription service
Netflix, free Internet Radio, and a number of other options
that can stream videos, photos, and audio to Apple TV over
an 802.11n (or older) network. Video playback starts quickly
over good networks and broadband connections, with Apple
TV holding as much as it needs to present an uninterrupted
flow of either standard- or high-definition content; we
experienced no hiccups or problems, and found the interface
fast. Another feature lets you grab media from any iTunes
10-equipped PC or Mac on your network, navigating and
playing back music, photos, and MPEG-4/H.264 videos with
aplomb. An upcoming feature called AirPlay will let iOS
devices push media to the Apple TV without any need to use
its menus to start or stop playback; it’s already in iTunes 10.
You self-supply video and
audio cables for $20 each;
Apple now sells an HDMI
cable (below) for $19.
HDMI handles audio and
video; an optical audio
output is optional for AV
receivers and 5.1 speakers.
Component video and
analog audio are gone.
The new Apple TV is less
than 1/4 the size of the
original model: four Apple
TVs could fit in the same
space, and they’re shorter,
too. Matte black plastic
is used on the bottom
in a concave shape to
minimize slippage on a
flat surface, while the rest
is glossy or matte plastic.
A white light on the front
lets you know it’s on.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Unlike the first-generation
40GB and 160GB Apple TVs,
this model has only 8GB, which
isn’t user-accessible or even
advertised by Apple. It’s there
only as a temporary buffer so
that videos don’t stutter.
Apple TV includes support for 802.11a, b, g, and n. Unlike
current iPhone 4 and iPod touch models, it’s compatible with
both 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n networks - including ones set
up by Apple’s latest AirPort and Time Machine routers. Note
that the Apple TV’s reported antenna strength and buffering
speed may suffer depending on your network settings and its
distance from your router; check this if you have problems.
Apple’s Remote 2.0 App
Free in the App Store, Remote 2.0 looks like
the “iPod” apps on iPads and iPhones, letting
you control the Apple TV’s volume and
whatever’s streaming to it from the Internet
or iTunes 10. The AirPlay icon, a dot with
waves at the top and bottom, lets Remote
control audio from several devices at once.
HDMI + HDCP = No Copying Rentals (Or iTunes Purchases) From Apple TV
As a concession to movie (and some TV) studios, Apple TV’s HDMI port - the only way to get
video out of the device - grudgingly supports “high-bandwidth digital copy protection” (HDCP), a
handshake between television sets and connected devices to prevent digital content from being
copied. This handshake is required whenever iTunes rented or purchased videos are to be played
through Apple TV, so if you’re not using a TV or monitor with HDCP support, you can’t watch them.
Belkin HDMI + Optical
Cables for Apple TV
HDMI Switcher 4x2
The priciest of all of Simplism’s
HDMI switches matches the
Apple TV’s looks, and lets
you connect and control four
devices with two TVs
or receivers; a 4x1
version is for one TV.
Though virtually any HDMIto-HDMI and optical audio
cables will work with the
Apple TV - and possibly cost
less, depending on how
wisely you shop - the ones
Apple recommended for its
devices until recently were
Belkin’s basic 6-foot ($20) and
12-foot ($30) versions, which
have sturdy plastic cabling
with gold and chromeaccented connectors. The
HDMI cable handles both HD
video and multi-channel audio; the optical one is
for digital multi-channel audio, and optional.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
How Does It Work? Apple TV deposits
you first in movie and TV rental areas,
but there’s more under “Internet” Netflix, YouTube, Podcast, MobileMe,
Flickr, and Internet Radio streaming and Computers, which plays iTunes
library content from PCs and Macs
you’ve linked to Apple TV with iTunes
10’s Home Sharing feature. With iOS
4.2’s AirPlay, video from iOS devices
will just take over the screen.
Movies. Theatrical
releases, solely for rent.
TV Shows. Network
and cable, also for rent.
Limitations. Apple’s launch
of Apple TV without support
from most TV studios means
that the device’s selection of
99-cent rentals is paltry by
comparison with the priorgeneration model’s set of
$1.99 purchasable shows.
Trailers. Free previews of
films still in movie theaters.
Search. This screen, used
in Movies, TV Shows, and
other parts of the Apple TV
interface, is a slow-moving
keyboard that just drags on
using the included remote.
Internet. Netflix videos Computers + Settings.
are the top new feature. iTunes streaming, more.
iTunes. Videos, music, and
More. YouTube, Flickr,
Podcasts, and Internet Radio. photos from your iTunes
library can be navigated
using old-fashioned iPodlike menus from within
Apple TV; streaming is nearly
instantaneous. As with the
prior model, the new Apple
TV also offers support for
universal remotes, the ability
to learn commands from
other remotes, and Apple’s
own, more sophisticated iOS
Remote software - the only
way to use a keyboard.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Where to Buy: New
Apple’s retail stores almost always have the highest prices for iPods, iPhones, iPads, and
accessories. Shop around and you can save nearly $20 on an iPod purchase - more, including tax
and shipping - with huge savings on add-ons. Here are examples of late October 2010 iPod and
accessory prices at eight retailers; note that serious iPhone and iPad discounts are not offered.
Amazon B&H Photo Best Buy
J&R Music Target
shuffle 2GB
nano 8GB
nano 16GB
classic 160GB
touch 8GB
touch 32GB
touch 64GB
• $50
Altec iMT800
iHome iP90
Logitech S715i
Shure SE115
Free Shipping
Apple Store
Has exclusives on
engraved + certain
colored iPods, sells
iPhones, but offers
no discounts, and
has 10% restock fee.
Best prices for many
iPods and addons. Free shipping,
often no sales tax.
Prices change often,
sometimes hourly.
B&H Photo Video
Reputable NY-based
electronics dealer
for decades. iPod
prices aren’t low, but
it’s quite aggressive
with accessories.
Best Buy
Prices are $1 higher
than Apple’s. Sells
iPhones and iPads,
also at high prices.
Beware of return
hassles and hijinks.
iPod prices went
from good to ehh
this year. Return
hassles/poor service
at store, but online
is OK. Weak add-ons.
J&R Music World
Another NYC-based
retailer; no longer
aggressive on iPod
prices, so-so on
accessories, and no
free shipping.
Tends to stock good
budget add-ons;
iPods sometimes
go on brief sales.
Returns are easy if
you’re local.
Aggressive prices
on all iPod models,
but shipping is
extra. Sells junk
accessories. Also
sells iPhones, iPads.
Bottom Line Advice
Under most circumstances, we’d recommend Amazon first, but a little hunting may save you more.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Every year, Apple reserves one, two, or three iPod colors solely for sale in its own online and
physical stores. This year, the only special color is the charitable (PRODUCT) RED iPod nano, from
which Apple donates part of the profits to the Global Fund fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa. It’s
available in 8GB and 16GB capacities at the regular $149 and $179 prices. The clearance section
of Apple’s online store and eBay are the best places to look for past exclusive iPods, such as last
year’s Special Edition $99 stainless steel 4GB iPod shuffle, and earlier-generation (PRODUCT)
RED iPod nanos and iPod shuffles. It’s also worth noting that certain third-party accessories are
stocked only by Apple as time-limited exclusives - sometimes six months - but typically sell at a
steep premium relative to their value, and are discounted upon broader availability.
AppleCare & Gift Cards
Easy to buy and unquestionably useful,
AppleCare ($39-99) extends your iPod,
iPhone, or iPad’s warranty for three
total years of coverage at any time in
the first year. Apple’s Store and iTunes
Gift Cards ($15 and up) or Amazon Gift
Certificates offer the gift of choice.
Our Apple Product Buying Advice
Shop online, except when Apple devices
are newly released. You’ll almost always save
money buying online versus a physical store Apple included. But when new iPods, iPhones,
or iPads come out, Apple’s the place to look.
Save by waiting. Early in an iPod’s life, $5-10 off
is great; months later, you may save more. iPads
and iPhones are rarely if ever discounted.
Consider refurbished units. Defects and
changes of heart lead to returns; bad devices
have (probably) been fixed and are awaiting
resale from the Apple Store’s Special Deals
section at big discounts. AT&T’s iPhone refurbs
are often $50-$100 below their new prices.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
How to Buy/Sell: Used
Resale Value as Percent of Original Price
iPods and iPhones retain value differently: most iPods retain 60-70% of their value after a year, but
year-old iPhones can fetch 150% of their subsidized prices, particularly if they’re sold unlocked. We’ve
spent years tracking actual eBay selling prices for working order iPods and iPhones; here’s the pricing
curve that you can use to estimate your device’s price from the date of release.
iPod mini/nano
iPod Age in Years
Brand New
6 Months
All iPods
100% 72% 63% 45% 31% 16% 14% 19%
Full iPods
1 Year
2 Years
3 Years
52% 38%
47% 33%
107% 24%
5 Years
7 Years
9 Years
The Chart Roughly Reflects an iPod’s or iPhone’s Value Over Time
While iPods depreciate on a smooth curve over nine years, bouncing back upwards only for
rare and/or collectible models (first-generation iPods, U2 iPods, and red iPods do best), iPhones
initially appear to jump in value because they’re carrier subsidized; their higher prices actually
reflect the value of those subsidies. Selling prices are much higher for boxed, perfect condition
iPods than for scratched, engraved, or non-functional ones; prices for unlocked iPhones are
higher than for locked ones. Specific prices for individual models are on the following pages.
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Every Discontinued iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV: Details + eBay Prices
On the pages that follow, you’ll see every discontinued iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV, along with
its capacities, release date, and original price. Since several factors can influence the used value,
we’ve listed each one’s new features, pack-ins, and major issues/problems, along with late
October 2010’s average eBay selling price for each specific model number. Different models can
denote small or large changes, so check your model number on the back or bottom of your box.
Breakthroughs: Apple’s first mobile phone, combining a
multi-touch widescreen iPod, quad-band GSM phone, and
EDGE/Wi-Fi Internet device in a metal and glass enclosure.
Pack-Ins: Stereo headset with microphone, iPhone Dock,
USB Power Adapter, USB Cable, cleaning cloth.
4/8/16 GB - 7-24 Hr Battery
Phone - Music - Video - Internet
$399-$599 US
Issues: Initially limited storage capacity at high prices, slow
EDGE data speeds, and reliability problems. Phones are sold
locked, and initially without third-party applications.
eBay Values:
4GB (MA501LL/A) $103.50 (Locked) $133.40 (Unlocked)
8GB (MA712LL/A) $130.67 (Locked) $162.55 (Unlocked)
16GB (MB384LL/A) $159.89 (Locked) $164.32 (Unlocked)
Our Advice: Buying Used
Our Advice: Selling Used
Once every two or so years, Apple replaces
a popular model with something new that’s
not as good in some way. The result is that
older models are still worth considering. Last
year, Apple removed control buttons from
the third-generation iPod shuffle, briefly
making earlier models valuable, while 2008’s
iPods discontinued support for popular
charging accessories. Similarly, other early
iPods often offer greater compatibility with
older, less expensive video and recording
accessories. Before making a purchase, we’d
advise used iPod buyers to factor in the cost
of a replacement battery (see iLounge’s Free
iPod + iPhone Book), the warranty, and the
cool factor of having something new. You
decide whether new or used is best for you.
Nine iLounge tips to max out your sale.
• June = New iPhones, September = New
iPods. After a refresh, old models lose $$$.
• Include the model number in the title.
• Indicate quality in the listing. If you say
“as-is,” expect to get less.
• Use Apple’s official photo on the search
page. For some reason, this helps prices.
• Keep your box and pack-ins. People pay
more when you sell everything together.
• Don’t bundle other add-ons. They won’t
help your price and can be sold separately.
• Include photos of all the included items.
People want to know what they’re getting.
• Do not include “Windows/Mac” in title.
• Charge reasonable shipping. You’ll get
much less if you overcharge.
ipods, iphones + iPADS
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Breakthroughs: Apple’s original cigarette pack-sized
5GB music player uses intuitive five buttons and moving
wheel controls plus an easy-to-read white backlit screen,
features iconic clear/white plastic and polished steel case
design. Works as FireWire hard disk with Mac computers.
Pack-Ins: FireWire-to-FireWire cable, original FireWire wall
charger, original iPod earphones.
5/10GB - 10 Hr Battery
Music - Data
$399-$499 US
Issues: High price, Mac only, limited battery life.
Retrospectively fewer add-ons than newer iPod models.
eBay Values:
5GB (M8513LL/A, M8541LL/A, M8697LL/A)
10GB (M8709LL/A)$60.60
Breakthroughs: Moving scroll wheel replaced with
touch-sensitive surface. Separate PC versions introduced,
enabling PC users with FireWire ports to transfer music
with MusicMatch software, use as a hard disk. Peak
capacity upped to 20GB with old 5GB falling to $299.
Pack-Ins: FireWire cable, wall charger, original iPod
earphones, carrying case, remote control.
10/20GB - 10 Hr Battery
Music - Data
$399-$499 US
Issues: High price, FireWire standard isn’t PC-friendly,
limited battery life.
eBay Values:
10GB (M8737LL/A, M8740LL/A)
20GB (M8738LL/A, M8741LL/A)
Breakthroughs: Touch-sensitive buttons, thinner casings,
USB support, top + bottom accessory ports, photo
transfer and audio recording add-ons, big drives, games.
Pack-Ins: FireWire cable & adapter, wall charger, and 2003
iPod earphones. Some include dock, case, and remote.
Issues: Weaker batteries, screen backlight variations.
10/15/20/30/40GB - 8 Hr Battery
Music - Photos* - Games* - Data
$299-$499 US
eBay Values: 10GB (M8976LL/A)$31.05
15GB (with Dock, M8946LL/A)
15GB (w/o Dock, M9460LL/A)
20GB (M9244LL/A)$51.82
30GB (M8948LL/A)$55.00
40GB (M9245LL/A)$43.04
2011 Buyers’ Guide
iPod mini
Breakthroughs: Microdrive storage creates smallest iPods
ever, with 5 new body colors and tiny Click Wheel controller,
integrating all buttons into one surface.
Pack-Ins: 2003 iPod earphones, belt clip, USB and FireWire
cables, wall charger.
Issues: Low capacity per dollar, limited battery life, not
designed for use with photo sync or recorder add-ons.
4GB - 8 Hr Battery
Music - Games* - Data
$249 US
eBay Values: 4GB, silver (M9160LL/A)
4GB, blue (M9436LL/A)
4GB, pink (M9435LL/A)
4GB, green (M9434LL/A)
4GB, gold (M9437LL/A)
Breakthroughs: Replaces separate touch-sensitive buttons
and wheel of third-generation iPod with iPod mini’s Click
Wheel controls, improves battery life, adds USB cable. Black
and red U2 iPod debut for the first time as an alternative to
the classic white full-sized iPod.
Pack-Ins: 2003 iPod earphones, USB and FireWire cables,
wall charger. Dock included with high-end model.
20/40GB - 12 Hr Battery
Music - Photos* - Games* - Data
$299-$399 US
iPod photo
(aka iPod 4G
with color)
Issues: Slight cheapening of prior iPods’ looks.
eBay Values:
20GB (M9282LL/A)$51.13
U2 (M9787LL/A)$64.35
40GB (M9268LL/A)$74.61
Breakthroughs: Takes iPod 4G, improves battery, adds color
screen for photo display. Higher peak storage capacity.
Pack-Ins: 2003 iPod earphones, USB cable, wall charger.
Dock, AV cable, FireWire cable included with certain models.
Issues: Photo sync is slow, display requires add-ons.
20/30/40/60GB - 15 Hr Battery
Music - Photo - Games* - Data
$499-$599 US
eBay Values:
20GB (Color, MA079LL/A)
20GB U2 (Color, MA127LL/A)
30GB (Photo, M9829LL/A)
40GB (Photo, M9585LL/A)
60GB (Photo/10-04, M9586LL/A)
60GB (Photo/Color, M9830LL/A)
ipods, iphones + iPADS
iPod shuffle
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Breakthroughs: A complete digital music player in the
space of a pack of chewing gum, with simple USB plug.
Designed to be worn, features ultra-simplified controls
with a large play button surrounded by track skip and
volume buttons. “Shuffle” mode plays music out of order.
Pack-Ins: 2003 iPod earphones, lanyard necklace.
Issues: Screenless interface falls below competitors’
lowest-end offerings, highly limited storage capacity, no
iPod accessory compatibility.
512MB /1GB - 12 Hr Battery
Music - Data
$99-$149 US
eBay Values:
512MB (M9724LL/A)$12.45
1GB (M9725LL/A)$20.44
iPod mini
Breakthroughs: Radically improved battery performance
and lower price than prior mini; brighter body colors.
Pack-Ins: USB cable, belt clip, 2003 iPod earphones.
Issues: No longer includes wall charger, value still so-so.
4/6 GB - 18 Hr Battery
Music - Games* - Data
$199-$249 US
iPod nano
eBay Values: 4GB Silver (M9800LL/A)
4GB Blue (M9802LL/A)
4GB Pink (M9804LL/A)
4GB Green (M9806LL/A)
6GB Silver (M9801LL/A)
6GB Blue (M9803LL/A)
6GB Pink (M9805LL/A)
6GB Green (M9807LL/A)
Breakthroughs: Thinnest iPod ever, now with minibesting color screen and photo display feature.
Pack-Ins: USB cable, 2003 iPod earphones, dock adapter,
simple carrying case (added late 2005).
Issues: Lower battery life and storage capacity than samepriced minis, highly scratchable body, no top add-on port.
1/2/4 GB - 14 Hr Battery
Music - Photos* - Games* - Data
$149-$249 US
eBay Values: 1GB Black (MA352LL/A)
1GB White (MA350LL/A)$24.19
2GB Black (MA099LL/A)
2GB White (MA004LL/A)$36.99
4GB Black (MA107LL/A)
4GB White (MA005LL/A)$38.06
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Breakthroughs: Screen size boosted to 2.5”, video and
downloadable game playback added. Interface modestly
Pack-Ins: iPod earphones, USB cable, simple case.
Issues: Short video play time, limited formats. Abandons
top-mounted accessories, obsoleting many top add-ons.
30/60 GB - 14-20 Hr Battery
Music - Photos - Games - Data
$299-$399 US
iPod nano
eBay Values:
30GB White (MA002LL/A)$75.90
30GB Black (MA146LL/A)
U2 (MA452LL/A) $104.99
60GB White (MA003LL/A)$96.62
60GB Black (MA147LL/A)
Breakthroughs: Thinner and less scratchable nano in 6
colors. Much-improved battery, new voice recording feature.
Pack-Ins: USB cable, 2006 iPod earphones.
Issues: Color limited by price, old nano add-on problems.
2/4/8 GB - 24 Hr Battery
Music - Photos - Games* - Data
$149-$249 US
eBay Values: 2GB Silver (MA477LL/A) 4GB Silver (MA426LL/A) 4GB Blue (MA428LL/A) 4GB Pink (MA489LL/A) 4GB Green (MA487LL/A) 4GB Red (MA725LL/A) 8GB Black (MA497LL/A) 8GB Red (MA899LL/A) $46.61
Breakthroughs: Brighter screen, better video battery
life, search feature, superior prices for capacities, highest
capacity yet in the iPod family.
Pack-Ins: 2006 iPod earphones, USB cable, simple case.
Issues: Limited video formats, screen size still small by
comparison with other portable video devices.
30/80 GB - 14-20 Hr Battery
Music - Photos - Games - Data
$249-$349 US
eBay Values:
E30GB White (MA444LL/A)$77.56
E30GB Black (MA446LL/A) $86.17
E30GB U2 (MA664LL/A)
E80GB White (MA448LL/A)$102.98
E80GB Black (MA450LL/A)
ipods, iphones + iPADS
iPod shuffle
(2G-2006 Colors)
(2G-2007 Colors)
(2G-2008 Colors)
1/2 GB - 12 Hr Battery
Music - Data
$79 US (1GB), Later $49 -$69
Apple TV
2011 Buyers’ Guide
Breakthroughs: Apple’s smallest, most wearable iPod to
date, available in multiple colors (five per season), each
with a rear belt clip. Metal replaces prior model’s plastic.
Pack-Ins: 2003 or 2007 iPod earphones, USB dock.
Issues: Most sound distortion in family; least accessory
support. Can’t charge and play audio at the same time.
eBay Values: 1GB Silver 11/06 (MA564LL/A)
1GB Blue 11/06 (MA949LL/A)
1GB Green 11/06 (MA951LL/A)
1GB Orange 11/06 (MA953LL/A)
1GB Pink 11/06 (MA947LL/A)
1GB Silver 9/07 (MB225LL/A)
1GB Blue 9/07 (MB227LL/A)
1GB Green 9/07 (MB229LL/A)
1GB Purple 9/07 (MB233LL/A)
1GB Red 9/07 (MB231LL/A)
2GB Silver 3/08 (MB518LL/A)
2GB Blue 3/08 (MB520LL/A)
2GB Green 3/08 (MB522LL/A)
2GB Purple 3/08 (MB526LL/A)
2GB Red 3/08 (MB524LL/A)
1GB Silver 9/08 (MB225LL/A)
1GB Blue 9/08 (MB815LL/A)
1GB Green 9/08 (MB813LL/A)
1GB Pink 9/08 (MB811LL/A)
1GB Red 9/08 (MB817LL/A)
2GB Silver 9/08 (MB518LL/A)
2GB Blue 9/08 (MB683LL/A)
2GB Green 9/08 (MB685LL/A)
2GB Pink 9/08 (MB681LL/A)
2GB Red 9/08 (MB779LL/A)
Breakthroughs: First standalone high-definition (720p)
iTunes video player; first iTunes family device capable
of streaming video from a computer, first with true onscreen menuing interface for browsing media content.
Pack-Ins: Apple Remote, power cable.
40/160 GB
Music - Video - Photos
$299-$399 US, Later $229-$329
Issues: Only useful with HDTVs, limited features, buggy
software, user interface became clunky in mid-cycle.
eBay Values:
40GB (MA711LL/A)
160GB (MB189LL/A)
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