Why you should never buy an iPod ever again

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Despite Apple's latest iPod refresh, it doesn't make much sense to buy one.
Photo: Apple

Today’s iPod refresh came as an odd surprise to some and maybe even a long-awaited update to others. Now that the iPod line is finally up-to-date after being dormant for a few years, you might even be considering buying one.

Regardless of how you feel, do yourself a favor: Don’t buy one.

Yes, Apple upgraded the line, beefing up the iPod touch hardware and coating the iPod nano and iPod shuffle in new color options, but in 2015 odds are you can save money or at least spend it more wisely than on an iPod. There are a few key reasons why you shouldn’t buy one — and why Apple probably doesn’t care all that much if you don’t.

Apple Music isn’t available for iPod nano or iPod shuffle

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Apple’s new music players don’t support Apple’s new music service.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Did you want access to the recently launched Apple Music from your iPod? Unless you buy an iPod touch, you’re out of luck. Neither the iPod nano nor iPod shuffle supports streaming from Apple Music as part of your monthly subscription.

That means you’ll have to go old-school and purchase songs individually or as albums from the iTunes Store to listen on these devices (or rip your CDs). You’d think Apple would enable its new music service across its entire line of music players, but that brings me to my next point…

Apple just doesn’t care about iPods anymore

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The new iPod nanos got nothing like the special treatment Apple once gave them.
Photo: Apple

I know plenty of people are going to disagree with this, given that the iPods were updated at all, but hear me out. Today’s update was extremely half-baked. The 8MP camera and A8 processor in the iPod touch is more than welcome, but the device is still far from being on par with the iPhone.

Apple didn’t add a 4.7-inch display to the iPod touch like the iPhone 6 has, and an even worse sign is what didn’t come to the iPod nano: an iOS 7-inspired redesign. The iPod nano is still running software that mimics iOS 6 and earlier, with shiny buttons and thicker fonts.

Apple didn’t care enough to update the iPod nano’s software and bring it to the same level as the iPod touch or iPhone with Apple’s reimagined design philosophy. I doubt that the iPod nano’s software will ever get this update if it didn’t already get it today.

Even the new colors are pretty uninspired. iPod used to be Apple’s most vibrant product line. Remember the wide assortment of color options for the old iPod nanos? Now the iPods all come in the standard three colors for iPhone and iPad plus the typically gender-oriented blue and pink.

Apple Music is coming to Android soon

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Apple Music’s Android app arrives this fall.
Photo: Apple

If you have an Android smartphone and you wanted an iPod as a supplement for music, just wait until Apple Music comes out on your platform of choice. Apple’s new streaming service arrives on Android this fall, so if you’re looking to buy an iPod just for easier access to iTunes and the iTunes Store, hold off.

Apple Music gives you most of what you’re probably looking for in the iTunes library for $10 per month. Since it’ll soon be available on your Android phone, there’s no need to buy a separate gadget for holding your music. Just use your smartphone.

Plus if you don’t want to hold out for Apple Music, you can always sign up for Google Music or Spotify for the same price, both of which already have Android apps in Google Play.

If you don’t own a smartphone now, you will

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A smartphone can play all your music and do everything else.
Photo: Apple

The last set of people who want an iPod are most likely those who still carry around a basic cell phone instead of a smartphone and therefore need a dedicated music player. To you I say, you’ll have a smartphone eventually. The smartphone adoption rate in the United States has been faster than any other new technological adoption in history. Somewhere down the line all of you basic phone owners will have a more capable device, even if that only means it can hold more music.

Don’t shell out potentially hundreds of dollars now on an iPod when someone is going to convince you pretty soon that it’s time to get a better phone instead.

Apple is only selling iPods now for the very small market of people who still think it’s necessary to buy one, but you’re better than that. If you’re reading this, there’s a solid chance you already own an iOS or Android device that caters beautifully to your musical needs. Plus, why would you buy an Apple product that Apple barely puts any effort into, especially since two out of the three models don’t support Apple Music?

The bottom line: Invest in a fully featured smartphone, not a half-baked music player that’s hanging by a thread.