Is the iPod Really That Much Greater than a Regular MP3 Player?

It might sound like blasphemy for the Apple diehards out there, but in the world of MP3 players, the ability to play a lot of songs isn’t that innovative of a feature anymore. The original iPod, of course, advertised itself as allowing you to put a thousand songs in your pocket –  but this original (albeit compelling) sales pitch seems to have lost its luster as the technology has caught up with the times.

But is this really all there is to the story? Is the iPod just another label on the same product, much like aspirin is often marketed? Or does the iPod’s patented click wheel navigate you through a treasure trove of advanced features and conveniences that you simply can’t find in any other MP3 player? Let’s take a little closer look and click on through to find out.

What’s the difference?

First, a confession. This article was inspired by the Daily Monitor, which initially posed the question: What’s the difference between an iPod and an MP3 player? In order to answer this question, we’ll have to make a few things known. To begin with, yes, the iPod is essentially an MP3 player. It plays music files and podcasts, just like any cheap MP3 players will – and, of course, even the really expensive ones.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the iPod’s distinct differences from other MP3 players, while they may hold a special spot in your heart, do not change this fundamental truth: the iPod is there to play your audio files. Is it really so much to wonder if one product that plays audio files is so much better than another product that does the exact same thing?

There may be more similarities than differences to a great number of people. Some people get along just fine with their less-than-traditional MP3 players and are perfectly happy avoiding the iTunes program as well as its own little quirks. But it’s clear that the iPod has and continues to dominate the MP3 market, even if the iPhone finds more competitors in the smart phone market. So what does this mean? Many make the conclusion that the iPod is simply the best product out there.

A challenge
So as we ask ourselves why the iPod is so much better than other MP3 players, let me ask you this: can you name any other MP3 players? One or two? The Microsoft Zune, you might say. Very good – that’s one. Can you name any others without Googling it?

Now, ask yourself how many different forms of the iPod you can name. You can probably picture the Shuffle, the Classic, the Nano, the Touch – all within a few seconds of each other. That wasn’t very hard, was it?

There is indeed a reason for this market dominance: the iPod is that good of a product, and is that much better than MP3 players.

Consider that many other MP3 players, not using the fantastic iPod click wheel, require a more iPod Shuffle-like mode of navigating through their tracks. That’s all well and good if you can’t afford much more, but that only scratches at the lowest member of the iPod totem pole. In other words, the iPod is much more than that.

With continually-developing features in its Nano series, for example, the reason the iPod is different from other MP3 players is simply that it’s better. It’s the product to own. It’s not like choosing one aspirin over another – it’s in another category in and of itself. So the next time you ask yourself if you should opt for a cheaper MP3 player, ask why so many other people came to the conclusion that the iPod was right for them.

Anthony Wakefield is a writer, tech enthusiast and editor of MP3 Players Australia. When he’s not listening to his iPod, he’s usually hanging around the beach writing songs…