Q: My dear old dad has bad eyes and misses reading. I’d love to get him an iPod and load it up with audiobooks, but he wouldn’t be able to see any small controls. He’s also very 20th cenutry and doesn’t want to have anything to do with computers.
Can you recommend a model with the biggest, easiest controls and minimal functions?
A: In an answer to a previous Ask iLounge question regarding visually impaired users, we recommended the latest full-size fifth-generation iPod for its high-contrast fonts. However, for your father’s situation, we’d tend to recommend the iPod shuffle. True, the size of its buttons are a bit smaller than those on full-sized iPods, but we’d imagine a “20th century” person would appreciate its simplicity: there’s neither a screen to worry about reading or properly navigating nor settings to errantly change. Its only controls are “back,” “forward,” “play/pause,” and volume controls.
The iPod shuffle, of course, can handle all iTunes-imported audiobooks, as well as those purchased from either the iTunes Music Store or Audible.com. Since these audiobooks can range anywhere from 45MB to 250MB in filesize, we’d definitely recommend the 1GB model. Even at this capacity, you may find yourself frequently “refilling” his iPod with new content, but it will be worth it for the ease with which he’ll be able to listen.