If you’re looking for a handily pocketable e-reader and wouldn’t feel dirty giving money to Apple, CNet points out that Apple is running a pretty good deal on refurbished 4th-generation (the model from two years ago) iPod Touch units. The 8 GB version is available for $129 shipped (it costs $199 new), the 32 GB version is $179 ($229 new), and the 64 GB version is $229 (not available new).

While these aren’t the latest model, with the 16:9 screen, Lightning connector, and better rear-facing camera, they do have Retina-resolution screens, FaceTime cameras, and modern operating systems. I don’t mind saying, I find that 64 GB version strongly tempting—I lose more apps from my 1st-gen iPod Touch to lack of backward compatibility every time it crashes and I have to restore it. If you don’t mind the screen’s physical size being teeny tiny, the resolution of the text will compare quite favorably to e-ink. It’s a lot more easily pocketable than a Kindle, and add on a pay-as-you-go MiFi and you’re most of the way to an iPhone without the subscription fees.

Apple’s behavior might be more than a little reprehensible these days, and its user lock-in is annoying, but I can’t deny it makes some gorgeous hardware that’s very useful for e-reading. This one’s definitely going on my Christmas wish list…though I don’t expect them to last all the way through the holiday season.


  1. I don’t know what makes Apple more reprehensible than its peers in the eBook/eReader business. For example, I read today in the Chronicle of Higher Education about eBooks being used in data mining and analytics (modern euphemisms for spying). The article cites specifics in connection with Amazon and CourseSmart. It’s my understanding that Apple actively works against such data mining,

    Amazon, Google et. al. extract their pound of flesh in the form of data whereas Apple asks you to pay a bit more. There is no free lunch. Fortunately, we get to make a (preferably informed) choice as to how we pay: your privacy or your coin.

    The Chronicle piece: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/now-e-textbooks-can-report-back-on-students-reading-habits/40928?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

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