The iPod’s competition includes hardware like the Microsoft Zune. So why compare it to satellite radio? Well, quite simply, when it comes down to someone’s holiday wish list, both the iPod and the satellite radio are considered two different forms of the same thing: audio stimulation. In the marketplace, many of these devices won’t compete directly with one another, but when it comes down to a simple purchase decision, you might be surprised how often people have to pick between the two.
Of course, each has different features and characteristics – heck, the generic term “satellite radio” refers to an entirely different system of audio delivery rather than an individual product. But since we love talking about iPods so much, it makes sense to wonder aloud whether or not a satellite radio might be better.
Satellite radios are great for cars, while iPods can be a little tricky.
When you listen to your satellite radio, you know that you’ll always have fresh, unique content. Despite the sophistication of iPod-to-car adapters, we simply don’t have a method of refreshing our iPod content in the same way. Unless, of course, you live in an RV and your internet connection – and, hence, your connection to iTunes – travels with you.
So what does this mean? It means that the car-focused man will want a satellite radio for regular programming, high-quality sound, and even the latest music. The iPod Touch can deliver on these counts, but it takes a little bit more work than the quick switch of “Power On” to the satellite radio. Whether you’re thinking about XM or Sirius, either satellite radio service will be able to provide you with the goods once you’ve got everything installed. The iPod Touch will take a little work and shuffling even when you’ve got it all hooked up. Sure, it’s not a major disadvantage, but it is something to consider.
iPods have advantages, too.
Okay, so we can’t totally dismiss the appeal of the iPod. After all, it’s one of the world’s best-selling gadgets; it has so many forms that you wonder if they’ll come out with an iPod Hamburger next. But what advantages are there to having an iPod over having satellite radio specifically?
The first answer is obviously mobility. A thousand songs in your pocket, one of the original taglines for the iPod, precisely sums up what the iPod is all about: being able to take your musical tastes with you. You can literally carry it in your pocket, and you won’t have to be constrained by the logistics of having a satellite radio in your car or office.
Naturally, this might be an advantage or disadvantage to you depending on your lifestyle. If you’re not a big traveler and get most of your audio enjoyment out of a late-afternoon listening to some music on your office radio, then the satellite radio is probably up your alley more than the iPod. Some people simply love being able to unplug at the end of their routine.
But the iPod’s advantages in flexibility, mobility, and of course storage mean that it’s not without a powerful sales pitch all its own. Making the decision, you’ll want to consider which product you’ll actually use more.
Does this have to be an either-or argument? No. You can have your cake and eat it, too, especially if you have enough money to shell out for all the audio stimulation you could ever want. But if you ever find someone asking what you want for Christmas, you will have to make a decision. Make sure it’s the right one.
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