The similarities between the iPhone and most iPods stops at the ability to play music. Some iPods have video capability, and only the iPod touch has a built-in speaker and the ability to download apps. However, there are more glaring differences between the two types of devices that should be taken into consideration when making a comparison.
The biggest difference between the iPhone and an iPod is that none of the iPods has a phone. The iPod touch lets users communicate using FaceTime; however, both users have to be on a Wi-Fi network to use the app. Because the iPhone comes with cellular service, users can access the Internet anywhere they can get a 3G or EDGE signal on the AT&T version of the iPhone or a 3G signal on a Verizon iPhone. Only iPod touch users can access the Internet via Wi-Fi; no other iPods have wireless capabilities.
iPhone users can download and install free updates for their device through iTunes. Typically, an iPhone supports updates through the next two versions of the iOS that came with the device, and then updates for the next major version of the iOS before Apple stops releasing updates for the device. Updates for the iPod classic, iPod nano and iPod shuffle are also free, but Apple charges iPod touch users to update to the next major version of the iOS. Similar to the iPhone, Apple stops releasing updates for an iPod touch after it releases an iOS that is three versions beyond what the iPod touch initially supported. For example, the second-generation iPod touch comes with iOS 2.1.1 preinstalled; Apple made updates available for the device through iOS 4.2.1.
The iPhone 4 features a 5-megapixel camera on the back of the phone and a low-resolution camera on the front of the device. The iPod touch also features cameras on the front and back of the device, but both cameras are low resolution. However, the camera on the back of each device is capable of recording video in 720p high definition. Neither the iPod classic, iPod nano nor iPod shuffle have a built-in camera.
As of March 2011, AT&T iPhone users with the $45 DataPro 4 GB iPhone tethering plan can use their phone as a personal hotspot. This plan lets you share the iPhone 4's wireless connection with up to five devices; you have to connect the iPhone 3GS to a device with the USB cable to share the wireless connection. You can activate the personal hotspot on an iPhone 4 by adding the $20 2 GB Personal Hotspot plan, letting you share your iPhone's wireless connection with up to five devices. Because iPods don't have cellular network capabilities, they cannot be used as personal hotspots for other wireless devices.
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