Despite the fact that I finally caved and purchased a second-gen iPod Touch, history will tell you that I'm no iPod fangirl. Still, there have been a number of iPod accessories over the past several years that tempted me to bow to the pressure of the 'Pod. Maybe some of the ones included here will entice you in the same way.
The JBL OnTime 400 iHD is an iPod-ready hybrid digital radio speaker dock that's packed with features, but it's not for everyone. It's pricey and lacking in low-end response, but I became smitten with the unit for its HD radio capabilities and plentiful alarm options. The HD radio reception is fantastic and each station is allowed to broadcast to two subsets of its frequency, which means you get a lot more content than from standard radio. You can also tag songs to the iPod for purchasing in iTunes later, and set what seems like a million different alarm options. Cool.
No device inspires fun design quite like the iPod. Case in point: the m:Station Orb 2.1 Speaker, an eye-catching globe painted in a variety of hues to match the second generation iPod Nano (sadly, we've seen no evidence that m:Station will be releasing Orbs to match the current line). This funky speaker wins points for its unique style, useful remote control, and impressive bass response. If you want to stand out from the iPod crowd, owning this would certainly help.
Call me crazy, but there's just something about a speaker shaped like a blimp that appeals to me. It helps that the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin offers solid sound quality and includes connection ports for your TV (meaning it can do double duty as a home theater system in a pinch). But really, it's all about style in this case, and for $600, I expect nothing short of stellar looks. The Zeppelin delivers.
Let's be real, here: there is simply nothing like the Numark iDJ2 Mixing Console for any other MP3 player besides the iPod...which is precisely why it's a prime candidate for an accessory that may tempt you to switch. If you're a musically inclined individual that wants to have all the fun of turntables with less of the hassle and expense, the iDJ2 is worth a look. Sure, vinyl snobs may sneer, but workaday event DJs will appreciate the system's efficiency, keyboard search, sound quality, and portability.
Once again, just try to find a product like the Sonic Impact Video-55 for anything but the iPod. In fact, try to find one like it for the latest generation of iPods (just one of the infuriating things that Apple has done throughout the iPod family's lifespan: make video-out proprietary). But for the first video iPod, this screen-enhancing accessory is still a great add-on. Plus, now that it's a "legacy" product, the price has plummeted from $300 to a much more palatable $100. If you have an older video iPod, this is a great way to triple the viewing area.
Yes, it's a sticker. And maybe that's girly to some, but plenty of others share my enthusiasm for Gelaskins, artistic skins that offer some minimal protection for the iPod while helping it stand out from the crowd. These stickers use 3M technology, meaning they won't leave a nasty, sticky residue on the player, which is great if you get sick of one design and want to move on to the next. Well worth the $15 price tag, in my opinion.
Although plenty of other MP3 players--the Sansas, Zunes, and Zens in particular--have cases made specially for them, no one gets the attention that the iPod does. One of my favorite protective holders is the Scosche KickBack for the iPod Touch. It offers a hard, polycarbonate case that wraps around the majority of the player and a protective film for the screen. The best part, however, is the built-in kickstand for wide-screen video viewing: a must for any frequent flier. Now, if only the company would come out with a version for the second-gen Touch, I'd be set.
No doubt about it, Apps are a major draw for the iPod Touch (and iPhone). It's not the reason I finally caved and snapped up an iPod Touch (the only iPod I can stand), but it was certainly a contributing factor. For a gym rat such as myself, the health and wellness section of the iTunes App Store is a boon, but I don't need new workouts--just a good calorie tracking software. FitNow's Lose It is easy to use and gets the job done. And for my favorite price: free!
Since its release in July of 2008, the Pandora Internet radio iPhone app has been one of our favorites and a consistent top download from Apple's iTunes App Store. Pandora's uncluttered and intuitive interface, coupled with its unique knack for song recommendations, makes it an ideal no-fuss app for anyone looking to add streaming music capabilities to their iPhone or iPod Touch. Pandora added many new features to version 2.0 of its iPhone app, but its clean, intuitive Now Playing screen remains unchanged. In version 2.0, Pandora adds several new features without undermining the simplicity that made the original app so great.
OK, so maybe calling a car an iPod accessory is a bit of a stretch, but it provides yet another example of the level of integration offered to the reigning king of MP3 players. Although the 2008 Audio A5 includes connection cables for a variety of audio devices, the car's multimedia systems is clearly optimized to offer a superior browsing experience with the iPod. So, how's about a $40K MP3 player accessory for my next birthday?