Every year it seems the iPod is one of the most delivered Christmas presents. And as long as Apple continues to develop, manufacture and distribute inventive devices, this trend should continue indefinitely. While the iPod has achieved a level of greatness in some circles, there’s a big sticking point with PC users – iTunes.
iTunes is considered to be an unwanted pest to many file-sharers and Internet music fans alike - not necessarily because it represents the antithesis of file-sharing, but because it forces the end user to use a piece of software he or she may not be happy with. Even more infuriating is the fact that the iPod doesn’t allow simple click and drag compatibility - the consequence of using an Apple product on a PC. In other words, it can’t function like a Zen Creative, where the user simply opens their music collection, highlights which songs/files/etc he or she wishes to transfer, and drags the selected work over.
This sticking point has erupted on many facets of the Internet, most notably on NewEgg.com, where consumers can post their own reviews and reactions to products. Let’s take a look at the specific focus of this article, the 3rd generation iPod Nano with video support. As most will agree, the Nano is a terrific product – sleek, small, and surprisingly good video quality for a screen of its size. However, one consumer points out the frustrations of many.
“It's an Apple product so PC guys like myself still have to deal with all that iTunes garbage and there's still no drag and drop function.”
Through the power of Google however, this consumer would have quickly realized that there’s life beyond iTunes. As a quick Google search will yield, there are dozens of iTunes alternatives. Some work better than others, and some work better on some iPod versions than others. With the latest version of the iPod Nano, our experience found that many of the current iTunes alternatives had trouble synchronizing with the device. After several frustrating hours of trying Vpod, Anapod Explorer and several other alternatives, it was becoming discouragingly evident that many iPod managers had not updated their compatibility to the new Nano. However, after the struggle, our patience was rewarded with a program that most already have installed: Winamp
Winamp features a rather simplistic interface for the iPod, but as most people only desire to click and drag their files, it works perfectly. It automatically synchronizes whatever content (providing it's iPod compatible) is thrown at it – movies, music, pictures, etc. Best of all, there’s no special setup or other oddity that needs to be accomplished beforehand. When you first install Winamp, a popup window will ask which iPod you intend to sync with the media player. In our case, we’ll choose the Nano.
From there it’s a piece of cake. If you already have a list of MP3s in your Winamp playlist, it’s unbelievably easy to sync with the iPod. Just right click, send to, iPod. That’s it. To eject your iPod, you’ll need to open the Media Library, and from there click “eject”.
This isn’t the first guide written on how to sync an iPod without iTunes. However, it’s very apparent that a sizable population still believes the iPod is unusable without iTunes. Thankfully, this is not the case. While “click and drag” probably isn’t coming to the iPod anytime soon, it’s nice to know that a good application such as Winamp, which many file-sharers already have installed, is up for the task.