The iPod touch Pocket Guide: The Stores
You know that constant use gives you the power to drain your iPod touch's battery. In what some people might view as a turnabout-is-fair-play situation, your iPod has the power to drain your wallet. Its means for doing so are three Apple-owned online emporiums accessible from your iPod: the iTunes Store, the App Store, and the iBookstore. The first lets you browse, purchase, and download music, videos, podcasts, and iTunes U content over a Wi-Fi connection with nothing more than your iPod and an iTunes account linked to your credit card. The App Store is where you find free and commercial add-on apps (made by Apple as well as third parties) that you can also download over Wi-Fi. Finally, the iBookstore—available through the optional but free iBooks app—is your source for free as well as not-so-free e-books.
In this chapter, I examine the workings of each store.
Prepare to Shop
Ready to shop? Great. First, you'll need to sign up for an iTunes account, and I've found that easiest to do from within the iTunes application on your computer. Here's how.
What you need
Naturally, you need a Mac or a Windows PC and a copy of iTunes. It's not necessary to have an iPod to take advantage of the iTunes and App stores, but you will need an iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad to purchase content from the iBookstore. Media purchased at the iTunes Store can be played on your computer; music can be burned to CD; and because Apple now sells music free of copy protection, the music you purchase there can be played on any device that supports the AAC format (discussed in Chapter 3).
Also, although you can access the iTunes and App stores via any Internet connection, you'll find it far more fun to shop with a reasonably speedy broadband connection. A 4-minute song, for example, weighs in at around 8 MB. Such a download takes next to no time over a DSL, cable, or fiber-optic connection but can be terribly slow over a poky Wi-Fi connection or—heaven forbid!—a slothlike dial-up modem attached to your computer. Even with a moderately fast broadband connection, you could wait up to an hour to download a full-length movie from the iTunes Store. Some of the apps at the App Store weigh in at more than 1 GB and will also take a long time to download over a slow connection.
As these pages go to print, the iTunes Store is available in 90 countries. Which store you're allowed to purchase media from depends on the issuing country of your credit card. If you have a credit card issued in Germany, for example, you can purchase media only from the German iTunes Store (though you don't physically have to be in Germany to do this; again, the credit card determines where you can shop).
You're welcome to browse the iTunes or App store the first time you fire up iTunes, but to purchase media, you must establish an account and sign in. Fortunately, Apple makes the process pretty easy.
With your computer connected to the Internet, launch iTunes, and click the iTunes Store entry in iTunes' Source list; then click the Sign In button in the top-right corner of the iTunes window. If you have either an Apple ID and password or an AOL screen name and password, enter them and click the Sign In button; otherwise, click the Create New Account button.
When creating an account, you'll be required to agree to the iTunes Store's terms-of-service agreement, enter a valid email address, and create a password. Along the way, you'll enter some personal information so that Apple can identify you, if need be.
Finally, you'll be asked for a credit-card number and your name, address, and phone number. Click Done and . . . you're done. You're now a member in good standing.