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New iPods and charging

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Q: I received an iPod touch for Christmas. I am a complete newbie to iPods. A few days ago I purchased a beautiful Impact Tech. T24. When I set up, the screen said the device was not compatible for charging. Later, I noticed on the box that the iPod touch was not listed as compatible. It works very well and was a great deal but why won’t it charge (it’s connected to AC, using the adapter) if it plays my music?

- Anonymous

A: Unfortunately, Apple changed the charging standards with the release of last year’s new iPod lineup, creating a problem with older iPod accessories that not only affects the iPod touch, but also the iPhone 3G and fourth-generation iPod nano.

For a number of years you could charge an iPod using either the 5V power from a USB port, or the 12V power from a FireWire port, and the fourth-generation iPod models even supported both methods for synchronization between your iPod and your computer. With the advent of the fifth-generation iPod in September of 2005, Apple discontinued support for FireWire synchronization, but continued to support FireWire charging until only the most recent models.

Approximately two years ago Apple did advise their accessory partners that FireWire charging would be going away at some unspecified future point, but not only did some accessory manufacturers continue to use this method (ironically including Apple themselves with their own iPod Hi-Fi speaker system), but there are a wide range of older accessories available that have not yet been updated.

As you’ve observed, this only applies to charging the iPod touch—you will still be able to play music through your speakers subject to your available battery life. If charging while listening to your iPod touch is important, then you may want to consider purchasing an inline charging adapter such as the Scosche PassPort, which will convert the voltage and connections appropriately to allow your older speakers to charge the newer iPod models.

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