Readers reveal their iPod habits, desires

More than 4,000 people responded to our iPod survey on what people are using, whether they've flirted with the competition, and what they want next.

Very few people have sat out the iPod revolution.

At least, very few people who read CNET and took the time to answer a poll about iPods, that is. Last week we asked readers to participate in an iPod survey to help inform a separate story on the future of the iPod, which ran over here.

A few disclaimers: this survey was not sanctioned by The Official Group That Makes Surveys Officious, and should not be viewed as a competitor to data complied by professional survey companies or market research firms. I think it is more representative of CNET readers than the general public, meaning that I think we drew from a group more enthusiastic about technology than the average consumer. And 83 percent of the responses came from U.S. computers.

There were many interesting tidbits, some of which I discussed in the other story, and some of which didn't quite fit in with that piece. Here's a look, and I'll also put down my answers:

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Credit: Susan Dove/CNET

The majority of people who responded to the poll were conservative iPod buyers. I myself have owned two, an iPod Mini and an iPod Nano. I was a little surprised by this, especially given the results of the next question. Just 341 people claim to have never owned an iPod, and that 8 percent figure was consistent throughout the survey.

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Credit: Susan Dove/CNET

This says to me that people are holding onto their iPods longer than I would have assumed. There have been lots of iPod revisions since 2003 and 2004, including the Nano and video iPods most notably. Perhaps the 2003-2004 respondents have had two iPods, and the 2005-2006 respondents have had one? My first iPod arrived for Christmas 2004.

Click for chart
Click for chart
Credit: Susan Dove/CNET

These two charts suggest that most people's iPods have sent out to pasture, rather than dying on the battlefield. But it still seems high to me, although it didn't have much of an impact on people's perception of the iPod: 84 percent said they'd buy another one. For the record, I've never had any problems with either iPod I've owned.

Other results
On the subject of other MP3 player companies, 36 percent claimed to have never owned anything but an iPod. Creative and Rio ranked first and second among the other manufacturers, although "Other" was tied with Creative, suggesting I forgot someone notable. I owned a Rio before buying my first iPod.

We had more Mac users respond to the survey than Windows users, which surprised me a bit. Forty-nine percent of respondents used a Mac to manage their iPod, compared with 41 percent of respondents who used Windows. And of those who own both an iPod and a Mac, 36 percent said they bought the Mac first, throwing a bit of a wrench into the halo theory. I use my Mac, obtained after my iPod, to manage my player.

Finally, 43 percent of respondents said they aren't considering another MP3 player company. But of the 57 percent who said they would consider another company, Microsoft's Zune topped the list, followed closely by Creative and Sony.

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