There's a few things I'm still not 100% clear about.
Ipods only play their own propietary formats - yes/no?
AAC and mp4, I think. Definitely not .rm or .wma, but from what I understand, not even .mp3 - yes/no?
No other non-ipod products play those Ipod formats - yes/no?
Whether Mac or PC, you still need Itunes to play those formats on your desktop machine - yes/no?
Non-ipod devices may or may not play a variety of formats, but at a minimum all will at least play .mp3 - yes/no?
My big question is this: once you have a collection of songs in one format or another, how easy is it to change them into another format? Are there cheap or free apps to re-encode music files?
Is it even possible to change Ipod-able files into non-ipod files and vice versa?
What about when you buy songs from Itunes, can you encode them however you want and put them on any device you ever own in the future, or will they only work with an Ipod? Will those songs at least transfer to a newer Ipod in the future?
About 4 years ago a co-worker and I each bought our first mp3 players. She got an Ipod, I got a Creative, each device was 20gb. We both still use those devices. But since then I also got a Samsung 1gb clip-on (smaller than the Nano plus it has a display and 14 hr battery life). I really fell in love with the form factor of the Iriver Clix and almost bought one even though I really, really don't need it. But I am actually hoping to buy a portable video player (like an Archos) when those come down in price a bit.
My most recent purchase was a Palm PDA with media player software and a 2gb SD card. I still use the Creative and the Samsung but for now I listen to the PDA more than anything else.
I bring up all this history for the purpose of asking the following question: if I had started out with an Ipod 4 years ago, then ripped my entire CD collection and bought dozens of tunes on Itunes, is there any way that I would be able to enjoy that content on the Samsung, Clix, Archos or PDA?