What's So Special About The iPod Compared to Others...


macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 12, 2005
Title says it all...
Why don't people buy other products like Creative's ZEN and stuff that can do what the iPod do and with a cheaper price...wht makes the iPod soo special?


macrumors 65816
Jan 23, 2003
Southern California
For me, it's the seamless integration. I love the fact that after I play stuff on my iPod, it updates the play count and last played time, next time I sync with iTunes. I build several Smart Playlists based on this info, and if the integration weren't so tight between iTunes and iPod, I wouldn't get that data. Speaking of Smart Playlists, the fact that the iPod supports them is also excellent.

Most iPod competitors are only accessible on the Mac, if at all, by mounting as a disk and copying files back and forth. Not only does this take manual effort (no auto sync), but it doesn't update the metadata I want to track. For me, the convenience of this integration is by far the biggest feature.

Sure, the interface is nice, it looks nice, fashionable, etc. I do like that it's smaller and less "clunky" physically than competitors, but even that is very much a secondary consideration to me.

The one thing I do hate about the iPod is its lack of gapless playback. A search of my posts here will certainly tell you that... :D That issue is also very important to me, so I have actively searched for a replacement that does gapless. So far I've found nothing that even comes close to the seamless integration you get with the iPod, and most of the competitors are sketchy at best on gapless. There's just no other game in town besides the iPod, especially for the Mac.

Please please please, let generation 5 introduce gapless as a "new feature" (even though I consider it a bug fix)! ;)


macrumors 68000
Oct 3, 2005
Nelson, BC. Canada
DarkNetworks said:
Title says it all...
Why don't people buy other products like Creative's ZEN and stuff that can do what the iPod do and with a cheaper price...wht makes the iPod soo
I'd say marketing... I've not seen any Zen adverts, but loads for the iPod.

Even so, I bought the Zen Xtra 60Gb early last year in the UK. It was the biggest available and although I was drawn to the iPod it was only 40Gb's and I knew we needed more than that for our collection.

As it turns out there were battery issues with the iPods at the time, so I think I made a good purchase.

Personally I don't have a preference to either these days. The Zen has served us well.

I'm keen to try the Nomad plugin for iTunes on our iMac when it arrives next week.


Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
New England
DarkNetworks said:
what makes the iPod soo special?
iTunes is what did it for me. I had a Rio S30 MP3 player, and was getting frustrated with the device's capacity and the software used to update the contents of the player. iTunes changed that and I soon picked up the iPod.

What really differentiates the iPod from other similar devices IMHO is the user interface, mainly the wheel which lets you scroll as fast or slow as you want through a long list. The simplicity of the UI is what really sold me on the iPod. Buttons, game-pad like controls (like on my Rio), linear scroll devices (Zen Touch) and thumbwheels (like on my Sony Clie) just don't seem to have the same "feel" in your hand.



macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
Canada, eh?
I remember when the iPod first came out it was hailed as pretty revolutionary in terms of its sheer size, something that Apple is apparently still keen to try and capitalize on (mini, nano, etc.)

At the time, I owned what was probably the very first hard-drived based mp3 player, the Creative Nomad Jukebox (I think that's what it was called). The idea of being able to carry that much music (6 whole gigs!) was revolutionary and appealing, but the Jukebox left a lot to be desired. It was huge, for one -- like an early-model discman. It took 4 AA batteries, that lasted maybe 6 hours altogether. Song transfers were done over USB and were very slow. And every time you turned it on, it had to boot up the firmware, load up the song database, and so on -- which consumed lots of battery power. I swear half of those 6 hours of battery life was used up just waiting for the thing to load. Oh yeah, and if you left the unit idle for longer than a few minutes, it shut itself off again...

So, while I loved the concept, the Jukebox quickly became impractical and I gave up. Then my friend showed me his iPod, which had the built-in rechargeable battery, fast Firewire interface, and most importantly, had a sleep mode! Not having to restart the whole machine every time you wanted to play music made it a big winner, in my books.

I think momentum has just carried it on ever since...


macrumors 68020
Jul 18, 2002
None of the other MP3 players have come close to matching the iPod's user interface. The scrollwheel was a masterstroke, and Apple has only refined it and made it better with each generation of the product.

In general, the uncluttered controls are very easy and intuitive to grasp.

iTunes, and the iPod's seamless integration therein, is also a big factor. Apple's software expertise gives them a HUGE advantage over the Sonys and Dells of the world.

A lot of the iPod's success is attributed to flashy marketing, but I don't really buy that: after all, the iPod was already the top-selling MP3 player before the dancing silhouettes hit the small screen.


macrumors 6502
Mar 18, 2005
puckhead193 said:
it has the "cool factor"
I second the cool factor. The target audience is more concerned with coolness than other demographics.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 22, 2005
What people have said before with the marketing factor of it, but besides that, the touch wheel of course (it's so simple I've seen people understand how it works within 2-3minutes--and these are people who never use computers at all) the look of course with it, iTunes integration, size factor. Hell, even the packaging before you even get the iPod out of the box lets you know your in for something special. Hands down Apple probably has the best packaging out of any company.


macrumors 68020
Sep 3, 2003
Alta, Norway
DaftUnion said:
Hands down Apple probably has the best packaging out of any company.
I'll give you that. It's better than the rather crowded (text, colours) packaging used by many other companies.


macrumors 68000
May 3, 2005
Chicago, IL
What makes it so special? The fact that Apple took the time to design a player that was simple to use with elegant controls that are so intuitve that even my neo-luddite wife can use it with ease is a good place to start.

Perfectly integrated with the world's largest online source of music is another.

That's two biggies that conver what Creative could not do. I have a friend that has the 40GB Zen and that is a hodgepodge of buttons and a poor display that goes with a cluttered interface. I always had to look at the buttons to figure out what I wanted to do. Bad ergonomics on the thing.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2004
DarkNetworks said:
Title says it all...
Why don't people buy other products like Creative's ZEN and stuff that can do what the iPod do and with a cheaper price...wht makes the iPod soo special?
Marketing. And because everybody has one. What makes Windows so special that everybody buys it instead of OS X?


macrumors 6502a
Aug 17, 2003
Boston, MA
For me it's the click wheel, integration w/ iTunes, and looks.

I would like to see better resistance to scratching, user-replaceable batteries, and gapless playback.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2005
It was just such a bloody good idea when i saw it in a magazine in April 2003, i has to have one, however i was on windows and had to wait till june to get one, after i got i was in love, it is still sitting next to me playing music right now :cool:


macrumors 68000
Mar 10, 2005
Los Angeles, California
it came down to iTunes for me. Im a huge sony fan, only eletronics I buy is theirs, minus my Mac. I also wanted something diff. then the iPod and Sony had their 20GB HDwalksmens and I wanted it. It came with a slick dock and it was black and color screen for photo's and etc. But, it wouldnt work with iTunes. I already had all my songs in iTunes and on my Mac, and that would read with iTunes and i didnt have my songs on my PC so iPod mini it is. Dont get me wrong, iLove my mini but i was aiming to get the sony one