Apple calls it the "iPod economy". The hundreds of accessories that can be bought to adorn and adapt your white icon are driving a business market in themselves. Apple supplies a wealth of wonders, but a cottage industry of suppliers has also developed, many of whom have a presence on the web, while major manufacturers are getting in on the accessories act, too.
But with a plethora of purchases on offer, how do you separate the best from the rest? Here's our guide to the top 10 iPod accessories.
1 Bose SoundDock, £249.95
This digital music system, one of the Apple store's top sellers, works with third generation and later iPods, providing good room-filling sound, despite being quite small, while charging your iPod at the same time. It comes with a credit-card sized remote control and aesthetically fits in with Apple's trademark style. An additional adapter is needed for iPod photo models, and it is not compatible with the Shuffle. Buy before July 31 and you can take the edge off the price with 30 free Apple iTunes Music Store downloads. Or opt for the much cheaper, space age-looking JBL Creatures system, which is going for £69.98 on the Everything iPod accessories site.
2 Logic3 i-Station, £59.99
If you want a more portable purchase for summer outdoors listening, Logic3's i-Station is a reasonably priced dock and speaker set, which, again, allows you to listen and charge at the same time. Its 6 watts, 2.5in sub woofer might not sound a lot, but it gives good sound, helped by the 3D sound processor. It is powered by a supplied AC mains adapter or four optional AA batteries. Weighing 400g at an A5 size, it is easy to carry around. It is compatible with the 3G, 4G, mini and photo iPods, but be sure to shop around online as there are often cheaper buys out there.
3 Belkin headphone splitter, £5.99
If you don't want your iPod to turn you into an anti-social soundster, then grab one of these - the ultimate in romantic accessories. The white device allows a single iPod to connect to two sets of headphones, so you never have to listen and be lonely again. For those with a Shuffle, get the compact XtremeMac Audio Splitter from the Apple store for £12.95.
4 Logitech Bluetooth hands-free headphones, £99.99
If you have wireless at home, you'll know the joy of getting away from the ball-and-chain of electrical lines. These made-for-iPod headphones come with a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the top of all models, offering you fuss-free listening. You can control song selection and volume from a dial on the headphones - so if you are now embarrassed by your colourful choice of pink mini iPod, keep it tucked away in your bag and listen on. Available from the end of this month.
5 Bang & Olufsen A8 earphones, £90
In the words of Fischerspooner, "looks good, sounds good, feels good, too". Yes, it's ironic that while MP3s have lower sound quality than CDs, manufacturers can feed our audio insecurities with these high-quality beauties. Bang & Olufsen's earphones are perfect if you want to get away from the white-washed look without compromising on style, and they'll also make the most of any recent podcast-ready iPod purchases. They might hurt your wallet, but your ears will thank the fine frequency range and adjustable earphones.
6 Griffin iTrip, £27.99
The original FM transmitter is still the best, says iPodworld.co.uk, an accessories extravaganza site. Griffin's iTrip, like all the copy-cat devices out there, allows you to play tunes stored on your iPod through any FM radio. With no batteries, no wires and no power switch, the iTrip simply plugs into the top of your iPod, allowing you to tune into any radio station for the most crackle-free sound. The mini size, however, means they're easy to lose - or maybe that's just me. For those with poor-quality radios, try a cassette adapter, such as Monster's iCarPlay.
7 Griffin iTalk, £26.70
iPod Lounge, a comprehensive accessories site, also rates Griffin as the best maker of a digital voice recording device. Pitted against Belkin's Universal Microphone Adapter, the iTalk comes top because of its ability to use a built-in microphone as well as connected external input and output devices to record sound up to 30 feet away. Compatible with 3G, 4G and photo iPods, the iTalk's automatic gain control records the best sound without you having to fiddle with controls. After recording a lecture, song or conversation, play it back on your headphones or the integrated speaker (although the quality is not as good on the speaker), or download it on to your computer.
8 Apple armband, £19
If you went to the Silent Disco at Glastonbury last month, you'd know that you no longer need to listen to the same music as your mates to have a good time in a tent. Armed with a pair of provided headphones, Silent Disco types could tune in to one of two DJ sets offered by the on-stage turntablists. But if you want to make the party even more personal, slap an iPod mini on your arm with this cool-looking Apple armband, available in blue, grey, pink, yellow or orange. If shuffling on the dance floor is more your thing, get a white one specifically designed for the iPod Shuffle.
9 Apple iPod camera connector, £19
The hype is right - an iPod is about more than just audio. This device lets you transfer digital photos from your camera to your iPod so you can carry them with you. However, it requires iPod software v1.1, and is only compatible with the iPod photo and certain cameras (see www.apple.com/ipod/compatibility/cameraconnector.html for those that have been tested by Apple. Other cameras may work, but it is not guaranteed). Although pictures can take a while to transfer, and thus drain the battery, it is still a good device for photo enthusiasts and cheaper than other options.
10 Apple World Travel Kit, £29
What's the point in having all this gear if you arrive at your holiday destination only to find you don't have the right adapter plug? Problem solved with this set of six AC plugs that support outlets in North America, Japan, China, UK, Ireland, continental Europe, Korea, Australia and Hong Kong. Use the white portable power adapter that comes with all iPods, and you're sorted. For the less Apple-obsessed, buy an adapter from your local market for about £2.
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