iPods for Windows: It’s a good thing? | iLounge Article


iPods for Windows: It’s a good thing?

I was probably one of the most opposed for iPods for Windows. I knew it wasn’t going to happen. It’s number 3 on Apple’s Top 10 reasons to switch to a Mac. It meant bringing an iApp to Windows. Another move Apple wouldn’t dare pull. You can imagine how shocked I was when Steve Job’s announced it at the Macworld Keynote on July 17th. I was in great despair until I realized the method in which Apple had released iPods for Windows. Now I’m excited for Apple.

My reasoning for there being no Windows support for iPod was centered around two facts. One, the iPod was one of the Top 10 reasons Apple listed as a reason for PC users to switch. Two, an iApp for Windows? Never. Luckily, Apple managed to provide iPods for Windows without proving me entirely wrong.

The iPod is still a wonderful reason to switch from Windows to a Mac. The user experience on a Mac will be better and more enjoyable that on a PC. iTunes is one of the reasons the iPod is so great, and Windows users won’t have that, and I imagine they never will. Version 3 enhances this wonderful application even more. I just can’t imagine what it will be like for PC users. Managing playlists and syncing them to your iPod is so easy with iTunes. Also, unlike third party companies, Apple will always be updating iTunes and iPod support. Using a software application designed by the same company who makes the hardware always gives me a comforting feeling.

When the iPod Software Updater 1.2 is released, it will add support for iCal and iSync. It’s important to differentiate between support for a calendar and support for iCal. I firmly believe that the calendar feature will only be able to be updated through iCal. Many people probably disagree with me, but I have several reasons to explain my point. Apple introduced iCal to work with the iPod. How do you get your calendar information to the iPod? You use iSync, another Mac only application. iSync lets you sync your Palm, cell phone, and iPod with contact information and iCal information. It’s not about calendars. It’s about iCal.

iSync is very important to the big picture as well. It’s the application that allows one to update their contact and iCal information on the iPod (as well as Palm devices and cell phones). It will carry on Apple’s legacy of simplicity and ease of use. Plug in your iPod, click update, wait a moment, and your done.

This of course does not eliminate the possibility of Windows software developers creating scripts and/or applications that will allow one to transfer their calendar information, however, it will not have the same integration with the iPod that iSync and iCal will provide. As I mentioned above in relation to iTunes, I would much rather use an application I know would be updated regularly and supported than third party applications.

The introduction of a Windows version also brings up another interesting consideration. Will Apple include USB 2.0 in future versions of the iPod? Again, I’m firm on my answer. No. Apple has promoted and supported FireWire as the standard for high speed data transfer, and now they have a chance to push this standard on the Windows platform. By only providing a FireWire port on the iPod, this will force those with a PC without FireWire ports to obtain FireWire cards. With every new FireWire enabled machine, Apple has helped push the standard. I suspect, Apple will eventually promote the next version of FireWire in a future iPod update.

As you can see, a Windows iPod could further Apple’s cause to get Windows users to switch to the Mac. With integrated support for iTunes, iCal, and iSync, the experience can’t be matched. Apple can provide features for Mac users that Windows users can only hope for. Apple can push FireWire on PC’s. For these reasons I am happy that there is now iPods for Windows.

When new Windows users come visit the iLounge forums, they can read the experiences of Mac users and salivate for a Mac even more than before. iPod for Windows exists, but real iPod users own a Mac. Happy iPodding!

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iTunes is good but ephpod is just as practical.  It’s much better than MusicMatch Jukebox for organising files and editing tags.

Posted by peshman in Irvine, CA on April 2, 2003 at 11:36 AM (CST)


yup..ephpod is awesome. and free.

Posted by cdfreak in Irvine, CA on April 5, 2003 at 8:00 PM (CST)


i love the iPod, and i will probably never own a mac… is that such a bad thing? am i not a “real” iPod user when i’m rockin’ it at the top of the cirque headwall or hanging valley glades in snowmass?

Posted by chardog in Irvine, CA on April 9, 2003 at 2:09 AM (CDT)


i like musicmatch for iPod support

Posted by ti in Irvine, CA on April 10, 2003 at 1:17 PM (CDT)


musicmatch sucks i cant wait for PC itunes (which will hopefully come out soon)

Posted by lakerslover in Irvine, CA on May 1, 2003 at 8:11 PM (CDT)


Interesting article, but what are you actually saying? Is this about the Ipod, or a windows bashing article?

Why are you so evangelical about getting people to switch to a Mac?

I’ve used PC’s for many years, managed networks etc. I bought an Imac last year to see what the fuss is about, also bought an Ipod (which rocks).

I’ve got to say if you are waiting for PC users to ‘see the light’ and switch en mass to Macs, you’re going to be waiting a long time.

Any one who has never used a PC may well think a mac is the best, but anyone acustomed to a PC will think they’re irritating and unnecessarily sanitised. I can see the good points about the Mac, but most days I hate it!

Posted by Jonnyd in Irvine, CA on May 2, 2003 at 7:28 AM (CDT)


Apple seems to disagree with you…the new 3rd generation iPod has both Firewire and USB 2.0, and they’re working on iTunes for Windows.

Posted by Katherine Ellen Laimer in Irvine, CA on May 2, 2003 at 11:10 AM (CDT)


Apple is much smarter than that… they know that there will always be a large group of users that will never switch to mac.  The main issue here is selling iPods.  By offering their product into windows users, they increase their potential customers 10-fold, and in order to get windows users to seriously consider the purchase, they must offer at least what the competition does, USB 2.0 for example.  Apple knows that by only offering full features and support to mac users will not help to sell product to windows users.  Apple already has mastered something most other computer hardware manufacturers haven’t: industrial design.  Apple’s computers and the iPod especially are a pleasure to look at.  They are clean, elegant, and functional.  However, to most people, that is not always enough to convince them to make the purchase—just take a look at the number of ugly gray windows boxes compared to the number of macs.  Apple has made a smart business move by promising USB 2.0 support and iTunes Music Store for windows.

In the future, I see this move as opening some windows users up to the idea of switching to a mac, based on what they see of Apple’s products from the iPod.  I myself have been a windows user all my life, and am saving up money for a 3rd generation 15 GB iPod.  If windows support was anything less than mac support for the iPod, there’s no way I would have made the decision, and I’m sure many others would agree with me.  I know apple is always trying to sell more of all of their products, but they know they will benefit more in the long run if they throw out treats like the iPod to windows users and wait for them to switch.  Rather than say “If you switch to mac, you can play with this cool iPod” when there are already comparable alternatives available to windows users, apple is saying “Look at this iPod, isnt it cool?  Come take a look at our computers if you like it.  You can even use that very same iPod on a mac!”

Posted by Andrew in Irvine, CA on May 5, 2003 at 11:28 PM (CDT)


It’s simple: Apple is a big commercial firm AND got a very good product. They want to sell it to as many as they are capable of, and that is both Mac and PC users.

Posted by Espen in Irvine, CA on May 21, 2003 at 9:40 AM (CDT)


A few things:
1) Why do you equate Microsoft as evil?  As you and I know, Microsoft owns about 10% of Apple computers, and in fact, much of the Apple software is thanks in part to microsoft.  As we all know, many of the so called i products were brained out and programmed by Bill Gates and Co.  Now a days, the apple programming team is very limited, and depends somewhat well on the microsoft team to turn their ideas into realities in a shorter time.
2) I see this as a PC bashing article, yet fail to see why you equate the PC with Windows?  As a personal Bill Gates hater, and a Linux lover, i use PC’s because of their superior power, availability of cheaper hardware, and across the board compatability.  I have yet to see a program for Mac that my version of Mandrake cannot run (see this as me saying i use iTunes on my PC gasp!).  Even the Mac dev. team seems to be partial to the Linux/Unix boys (see Jaguar).
3) Firewire is a very good standard, and is truely widely used in video equipment (which is the only reason that i even bought a firewire PCMCIA card), but speed wise, its no comparison to USB 2.0.  USB 2.0 also has a lot more to offer, including a backward compatibilty that will squash firewire really quickly.  Seriously, who wants to give up half of their ports to a standard that cant be used for everything?  USB 1.1 is the most widly used connection type out there, and without support for it, Firewire is done.
4) Still on the Anti-Firewire campaign:  What the hell was apple thinking developing 2 different types of Firewire?  They would have done best just leaving the 6 pin for everything, and having the power cables just ignored for those who dont want it.  I bought my firewire Cardbus card recently, and to use my camera, much to my surprise, i needed to go and buy a new cable.  Its too bad that there isnt a connection format that will work with both old and new devices natively.  We could call it the Universal Serial Bus version 2!!


Now, i dont see why many apple users see PC’s as the enemy.  We all know that Microsoft is the enemy, yet apple users still insist on spending huge amounts of money on inferior machines, that can not even run all the programs available natively!  My Mandrake system can run almost any piece of software out there, including OSX (which i have running).

Posted by Erich in Irvine, CA on May 31, 2003 at 1:53 PM (CDT)


Aaron - you got just about all of it wrong didn’t you?  But I won’t rub it in…

It’s fairly clear to me that the reason Apple are making itunes and ipods for windows is that they’re branching out into the music business in the hope that it can prove more successful than the computer business - Apple just ain’t gonna convert all those PC users - ever!  A favourite way to change the fortunes of an ailing company is to diversify and that’s just what Jobs is doing.

I love Apple products, but I work with PCs too - they’re all just computers, for God’s sake - they’ve both got their pros and their cons… Apple make the most elegant and intuitive products, but since when does that mean that everyone will buy them?  There are plenty of beautiful, artistic and innovative records and films out there, but you don’t see them at the top of the charts.

Posted by bobba in Irvine, CA on June 12, 2003 at 9:39 AM (CDT)




Posted by Adam in Irvine, CA on July 25, 2003 at 8:28 PM (CDT)


I was wondering if someone with some experience in using the iPods on Windows could list some of the “known” bugs plz??

I have thought about buying a 30 gb iPod and i was wondering if there’s more//less buggs compared to 15 gb version or no difference?

And how well does the Ipod work with Usb contacts, does it only work with 2.0 or does it work with normal usb aswell?
Is there any major difficulties making the iPod work at at Pc? Becaue im not that good with computers I really need to know?? :)

Posted by tha potential iPod 15gb Buyer in Irvine, CA on August 14, 2003 at 5:32 PM (CDT)


I don’t have an answer for your specific question, although I can;t see why there would be difference between the two.

I would say the following though - normal USB would be hopeless. To ‘fill’ a 30gb Ipod would take something like 8 1/2 hours, bearing in mind you’d be transferring data at maybe 1mb/second.

Firewire runs at something like 400 x that speed. I’m not sure about USB2, but it’s a lot faster.

If you were thinking about it, budget for a firewire or USB2 card as well - they’re not particularly expensive.

Hope that helps!

Posted by Jonnyd in Irvine, CA on August 20, 2003 at 8:47 AM (CDT)



This is an interesting line of thought - as a long time PC user, the iPod is the ONLY Apple product I have ever considered for a number of reasons - inertia probably at the top.

However, my iPod also provides insight to a number of reasons to be very cautious with Apple products:

1. I run win 98SE at home - like MILLIONS of others. If the lack of 3Gen support for Win 98SE is how Apple wants to ‘wow’ the Windows world, well that is just a broken customer service model.

2. Durability - the iPod is a scratch-friendly, smudge friendly product. IT LOOKS GREAT IN THE BOX - but I use it outside of the box (I’ve been dying to use that line). The premise of the iPod is portability - so why build it for ballerinas? The girls at Apple need to get to know the men at Garmin - they know how to build a rugged portable unit .

This is where otherewise great industrial design seems to fall flat at Apple.

3. Portability again: the carrying case provided with a $500 US 30GB iPod appears to have come from some southeast Asian sweatshop. Cheap and totally lacking in functional features. Slip, trip and fail.

My thoughts?  Apple gets a big MAYBE.

for the same price I could have bought a new PC with Windows XP on it .......

Posted by Kotbullar in Irvine, CA on August 20, 2003 at 10:17 AM (CDT)


aaron, people preach when they are frightened.. are you frightened.

ipod is not going to make people switch to mac. software compatability and the ability to turn ‘dumb end user’ mode off will make people switch to mac.


Posted by sam the man in Irvine, CA on September 21, 2003 at 1:03 AM (CDT)


iTunes is a nice starter program for beginners, but on Windows you have the option of using Media Jukebox/Center—this is the benchmark against which all other Jukebox software is found wanting.


And yes, it syncs with the iPod, Smartlists, streaming, WMA/MP3/Quicktime/Real/OGG support, transcoding, visuals to die for, supports Tivo, and infinitely customizable. iTunes is a toy by comparison. Don’t be delusional—there’s so few choices for the MacOS that iTunes looks good. Big fish, small pond.

Posted by itunessucks in Irvine, CA on September 21, 2003 at 2:13 PM (CDT)


I saw Media Jukebox/center in action…....what a mess, looks like a programmer joke….to much to see, to much to keep in mind. Really bad human interface implementation.
I’m still waiting for a real iTunes challenger.
I’m still waiting for iTunes lands to my peecee.

Posted by Mozart in Irvine, CA on September 30, 2003 at 12:43 PM (CDT)


You’re missing the big picture about Media Center. It is a *huge* program and yes, can be overwhelming at first. What it’s counting on is for you to either select a UI that you prefer from the bank of pre-rolled skins, or to design your own.

I know for most Apple people it’s a bit scary to imagine that *you have control* of your interface, but this is indeed true with Media Center.

If you don’t like the default interface, you can change it. It is infinitely skinnable, and has three modes: mini, mega, and fullscreen. You can toggle between them.

One very cool UI feature is that you can configure your own HTML-based display templates. So you can make up your own jukebox skins, embed Flash or Java based programs, and read in the ID3 tags to display on screen info.

The Visualization Studio could be a whole complete standalone program. You can program sequential or looping animations using a simple symbolic, algorithmic point-and-click interface.

The Tagging Library can run either as a paned-approach (ala modern IDEs) or as a pop-up modal display. And the Tagging Editor is a marvel of interface design, made for rapid updates of large file quantities, with the option to fine-grain changes and batch process the updates either to the metabase, or directly into the source files.

Also, don’t forget that you can run Media Center as a server on a media box, control it using the built-in web server, and hang any number of clients off it to stream your media across your LAN or the internet. So in effect it can have zero interface!

Posted by itunessucks in Irvine, CA on September 30, 2003 at 2:10 PM (CDT)


And the SmartList and Playlist editor also rocks. You have a couple of dozen of pre-rolled SmartList rules, and you can make others, then encapsulate them and process them sequentially.

And the Playing Now feature offers a variety of options to interact with your Playlist:

Play Now
Add (to beginning)
Add (as next to play)
Add (play now)
Add (shuffled)
Add (shuffle all)
Replace (shuffled)

and so on. Of course, you can define your default behavior for single clicks, double clicks, and option clicks. Not to mention that MC also supports Play Zones, so you can have different default behavior based on location within your house, ie, which room it is in or which set of speakers it is playing out of.

Posted by itunessucks in Irvine, CA on September 30, 2003 at 2:15 PM (CDT)

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