Apple has monopolized the media player market with its ubiquitous iPod range - the success of the sexy gadgets can be attributed not only to the 'cool' factor that is associated with carrying one, but also to the reliability and build quality that stands as a testament to Apple's commitment to creating one of the best in its field. Over several incarnations, the iPod has evolved from what was once a bulky, black-and-white display audio player, into a multi-function media package.
The iPod is accessible enough to use; transferring files in the cornucopia of formats available (bar video, which is actually quite limited) to the system is as easy as Syncing your iTunes libary with the unit using the bundled white USB cable. Mp3's, WMA's, AAC format audio and a plethora of others are at your command. Finding content to consume is also simplified; the iTunes store carries thousands upon thousands of tracks, movies, podcasts and whatever other digital bites you want to shove into your copious 30 GB of storage.
The design of the unit is what makes it most appealing; shiny silver rear (scratch-prone mind you), glossy and clean black or white front, rounded corners. The iPod is more fashion than function, though it does pack plenty of function as well. It simply exudes quality and prestige, and will make your friends with their crappy imitation products shy away from revealing their choice of MP3 player.
Navigating the interface is simple; the trademark 'clickwheel' makes cycling through your collection a breeze, and the plain GUI is tasteful and unencumbered (however, perhaps customization would be a nice addition in future revisions).
A few niggling issues - the price is what you would expect for a player of this quality, video format choice is quite inhibiting, bundled earbuds are plain trash, and getting your own MP3 tracks off the player is nigh-impossible.