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MP3 Players

The 12 Days of iPod Christmas: part two

Just three shopping days until Christmas and you're still looking for presents. Find inspiration in the second part of our podcessory special

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
an XtremeMac Micro Memo for my iPod video

More info: XtremeMac
Available from: iWorld
Price: £31.99

How do I love thee? Let me record the ways. I love thee to the very depth and breadth and height my iPod can reach -- which is quite deep and wide and high, thanks to the MicroMemo. It's a plug-in recording unit that lets you make voice notes, record meetings or capture audio for a podcast.

The MicroMemo comes with a bendy microphone that plugs into the standard 3.5mm jack, or you can use a mic of your own. For example, you might want to use a handheld mic for interviews, or a tie-clip mic for clandestine recordings (although that's less about true love and more about seeing you in the divorce court, you cheating scumbag). The MicroMemo records in mono or stereo and there's a built-in speaker so you can check that everything is working.

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On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
a Gear4 BluEye 3-in-1 Mobile Phone Connection, FM Radio and Remote Control for iPod
(and an apology for the poor scansion in this verse)

More info: Gear4's BluEye microsite
Available from: The Carphone Warehouse
Price: £39.99

You phone your true love to whisper sweet nothings in their ear, and what happens? You get shunted to voicemail because they can't hear their phone over the sweet music of their iPod. Tcha.

The BluEye cures this problem by turning their headphones into a Bluetooth hands-free headset. When you call, their music is interrupted and you can explain, once more, that you love them truly, madly, deeply -- and technologically. The BluEye is also a remote control for their iPod and an FM radio, so if you're skint, you could claim that it covers the eighth, ninth and tenth days of Christmas.

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On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
a Belkin TuneFM for my iPod nano or iPod video

More info: Belkin
Available from: John Lewis
Price: £39.95

Ofcom has finally okayed the use of low-powered FM transmitters for sending music from your iPod to your car radio or home hi-fi, eliminating the old 'I'd love to buy you an FM transmitter, but I don't want to get you into trouble' excuse. Belkin's TuneFM combines simplicity, functionality and a car charger, ensuring that you can hear your favourite tunes all the way through the drive from home to your in-laws'. And back again.

If you're worried about your iPod sliding around on the dashboard and you don't trust your true love to hold it, there's also the slightly more expensive TuneBase FM, which supports your iPod in mid-air using a flexible stalk.

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On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
an iHome iH26 Portable Travel Alarm Clock for Apple iPod and Shuffle

More info: iHome
Available from: Advanced MP3 Players
Price: £79.99

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends...

...and it certainly never ends a good night's sleep with the harsh and insistent shrilling of an alarm clock. If you must be woken up, it should be with a gentle and familiar melody. iHome's iH26 makes this possible by combining a portable alarm clock with an iPod dock and speakers, allowing you to wake to your own music. It's available in bachelor-pad black or hospital-ward white and comes with a protective carrying case. There's even a remote control, although it's hard to believe you'll be capable of finding and operating it first thing in the morning.

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On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
a pair of Bose QuietComfort 2 Acoustic Noise-Cancelling headphones

More info: Bose
Price: £225

There's some debate over the relative merits of the QuietComfort 2s and the newer QuietComfort 3s, but there's no doubt that either pair puts you into serious present territory. Although the QuietComfort 3s are smaller and have a built-in rechargeable battery, we'd be happier with the over-the-ear fit of the slightly cheaper QuietComfort 2s. There is the risk your true love will slip them on to cancel out your incessant muttering, but that's what you get for being a miserable old grumbling git -- albeit a generous one.

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On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
the Harmon Kardon Go + Play speaker dock

More info: Harmon Kardon
Available from: Amazon
Price: £249.99

iPod speaker systems, so dull, so drab, so utterly unromantic. And then there's the Harmon Kardon Go + Play. Despite the Early Learning Centre-style name, it's a sophisticated, stylish additional to your swanky, grown-up flat. You can power it using batteries or the mains and the stainless-steel arch doubles as a handle, making it easy to move your music round the house. We also like the discreet dock that places your iPod flat on its back instead of displaying it like some modern-day religious icon. Everyone has an iPod now, so there's really no need for your true love to show theirs off. The Go + Play, on the other hand, is elegant enough to remind them that you are, in fact, more lovely than a summer's day -- and certainly more lovely than the manky weather we'll get over Christmas. -ML