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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