Comparing iPod vs. Other MP3 Players
When you look for a DVR you don't say you are looking for a DVR, you say you are looking for a Tivo. When you go to buy a carbonated beverage you don't say you are looking for a carbonated beverage, you say you are looking for a Coke. When you look for an MP3 player you don't say you are looking for a MP3 player, you say you are looking for an iPod. This, and other subtle differences, is the difference between an iPod and an MP3 player.
You never see a celebrity in Rolling Stone or on Entertainment Tonight talking about the benefits and features of their Creative Labs or iRiver MP3 player. It is not hip and it is not cool to have anything other than an iPod. However, if you have actually passed through Junior High, then you will see the benefits of the other, more affordable MP3 players.
First off, consider how much extra space you can get for your dollar by going with a different brand name than iPod. If the price tag on the iPod 60GB player is $399 and the price tag on the Toshiba 60GB player is $249, then you have something to consider. Saving $150 on a massive memory player with the same amount of space is definitely something to look at.
Second, the iPod video and audio formats can sometimes cause problems with people who like to use certain types of media formats. Apple uses a few exclusive types of video and audio formats because they are Apple where other manufacturers use multiple formats to become more attractive to the consumer. Make sure you investigate what formats are supported by iPod and other manufacturers you are considering, it could make or break your purchase.
As in everything else, you need to make sure what you are buying will support or be supported by the format of video or audio you currently use. Apple's iPod is the industry leader for a reason, because they make tremendous products, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other great products on the market.