Jon Borland writes that Microsoft’s guide to buying an MP3 player seems to hint against buying some from Apple. While I certainly agree that avoiding Apple’s products would be a good thing (they tend to be form over function), I also find it laughable that, for instance, anyone would think that it’s important for a player to handle Microsoft’s WMA (“Plays For Sure“). Vorbis, MP3, MP4 (even Apple’s shitty AAC codec), FLAC, WAV: all viable compressions. But who in their right mind would choose WMA?
Far be it from me to criticize people for wanting the truly polished product that is an iPod. If it was simply a matter of paying extra money for Apple’s unique (in my opinion superfluous) æsthetic, I would tell people to go ahead and swipe their card. But as it is, I actively campaign against the purchase of an iPod, and there are several reasons.
For an extra $25, maybe it’s worth it to have an iPod. It is, after all, the quintessential MP3 player, right? Maybe, but the allure of the iRiver (and other players) over the iPod don’t stop at price. Let’s take a look.
|Model||Cost||Capacity||Battery Life||Screen Type||Supported Formats||FM Tuner||Photo Viewer|
|Apple iPod||$310||20GB||12 hours||Grayscale||AAC, MP3, Apple Lossless, WAV||No||No|
|iRiver H320||$284||20GB||16 hours||Color LCD||MP3, OGG, WAV, WMA||Yes||Yes|
|Rio Karma||$210||20GB||15 hours||Grayscale||FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV||No||No|
|Creative Zen Touch||$235||20GB||24 hours||Bluescale||MP3, WMA, WAV||No||No|
Manufacturers have so many versions nowadays that it’s hard to keep track of which players are which price and what features they support. Still and all, the general trend is for Apple to provide less features for more money. Not only that, but Apple seems to be consistently dogged by quality issues: in iPod’s case, the issue is faulty batteries.
Long story short: don’t listen to Microsoft’s advice about anything, and don’t buy any of Apple’s products. Do the research, see the reviews, compare the features. Don’t buy it because Bono has one.