<<Why would you have to convert MP3s? iPods play them.>>
Several people, in dealing with ipods have had to convert their formats because they will not play them. "You know that iPods play music, but that doesn't mean that every type of music file will play on your iPod or in iTunes. Same goes for iPods that can display images or play videos." - Support.Apple.com (http://support.apple.com/kb/TA38530?viewlocale=en_US)
Whereas Windows Media Player supports all of the following:
"Windows Media formats File name extensions: .asf, .asx, .avi, .wav, .wax, .wma, .wm, .wmv
Note Windows Media Player versions 6.4 and later support .wmv files.
Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) File name extensions: m3u, mp2v, .mpg, .mpeg, .m1v, .mp2, .mp3, .mpa, .mpe, mpv2
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) File name extensions: .mid, midi, .rmi
Apple QuickTime, Macintosh AIFF Resource File name extensions: .qt, .aif, .aifc, .aiff, .mov
Unix File name extensions: .au, .snd" - Support.Microsoft.com (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/234019)
<<How many people would do this anyhow? True, it might be a nice feature, but is it really necessary.>>
This becomes a problem when your computer crashes, catches a virus, or just breaks and you loose that particular computer with which you have registered your ipod. When you purchase an ipod, you actually register it and name the relationship so that it may recognize your computer. Unfortunately, I have had MORE THAN A FEW customers that have had something sad happen to their pc or mac and no longer have access to it. My customers are usually happy that they still have their precious media on thier ipod until they realize that if they try and add to it from a friend's computer because they don't have theirs, they can't. The ipod displays a message basically saying, "That's NOT the computer I made friends with, and if you want me to make a new friend, you have to empty me and start over." This wouldn't be such a problem if the same situation didn't apply to purchasing a new computer to replace their old. They never have the access to move files or back them up to perhaps another computer they have at home for just such an unfortunate incident. And by the way, if there happens to be any malfunction in the ipod, the customer may send it back to Apple only to find that the best solution Apple has for solving freezes, arbitrary errors and erasing of media is deletion and a reset. This spells the death of thousands of songs, pics, and movies that may or may not be available anymore.
<<There are a lot of accessories, but I have never had any issues finding which one go with my model. Most of the differences are attributable to the form factor changes. But, over the life cycle of a product line, some things do change. Some changes appear arbitrary, but some are done to move the products capability forward (e.g., replacing the Firewire port with the dock connector).>>
This issue is simply one of convenience and money. For instance, let's say you purchased a $179 Altec Lansing docking station for your ipod nano (1st generation), and you're excited to get a new iPhone and use your docking station. You get your new $299 16GB iPhone home only to find that your docking station doesn't support the iPhone. Those kinds of things that I see everyday at work with things like docking stations and FM transmitters (which the ipod didn't bother to include) just irritate my customers, and my customers and I seem to agree that it's too much money to waste on compatibility.
<<The Zune has few accessories. But, the Zune product has been on the market for far less time as well (and it never sold anywhere near the same number of units as iPod).>>
I only thing that the Zune has fewer accessories because it needs fewer. What else do you need? A case? There are cases. An FM transmitter? It has one. A voice recorder? It has one. Docking station/radio or portable speakers? Those are on the shelves at your local electronics retailer. Do you really need anything else? As for the comment about Zunes in particular - it's not that I favor Zunes so much as I favor any other non-Apple mp3 player. There's Sansa, there's Sony, there's Zune. I actually have a Korean made mp3 player that has been doing well for me for 4 years now. It's a one by one inch cube, their customer service is great, and it's practically indistructible (I'm clumsy and have stepped on and dropped it before).
As to the number sold (LOL) I've never been into fads and popularity, so of course when I see 14-yr-olds coming in for a $300 iTouch because their friends have it, I'm gonna say it sells because it's in!