Before the iPod came out there were portable MP3 players, though they were simple devices - they simply played music, nothing else. MP3 players started to evolve, then Apple/Mac came out with iPod and its popular white headphones would soon be seen from nearly an iNfinite number of people walking down the streets as if they had these wired brain implants stringing from their ears.
Then space expanded - though battery life of any of those devices isn't nearly long enough to amount to the hours upon hours of music that can be stored onto one device - and, well, the MP3 wars continued. . . mostly between the infamous Win and Mac corps.
In one aspect: which does your brother prefer? A computer running a Windows operating system or a computer running a Macintosh operating system? In another aspect: which does your brother prefer? An MP3-playback device that looks and functions much like its competitor (except has a different nametag) or an MP3-playback device that looks and functions much like its competitor except has a different nametag?
I'll tell you that I, honestly, prefer Windows OS computers over Macintosh OS because Windows is far more versatile. However, there are still features in Macs that are unique. You asked a great question. So many people have very dark opinions on the subject - it's all black and white to them, it's either only one player or the other.
You could prefer driving a car with stick-shift and might lean towards a Windows OS. You could prefer driving a car that's automatic and might lean towards a Macintosh OS. There really is a psychology to it all. . . to a certain point. You would just have to see which one of the two that your brother would like to have. You can always go the the mall and talk to a sales agent about the pros and cons to having or getting one or the other.
I told you that I prefer Windows computers. However, I might one day buy an iPod. Why? Not because it is made by Mac but because it has practically monopolized the portable audio and video, player device industry - just as Windows has conquered and monopolized the general computing industry over Macintosh. Okay, so surely Microsoft has the competitor to the iPod, right? Right. It, at present, is not as mainstream as the iPod so it is not as flexible to immediate expansions to the device.
However, again, in the future it is very likely that Microsoft will pull a proverbial osculating orange out of their hat and make that Apple look tiny in comparison. Apples and oranges? Basically: Microsoft/Windows will likely overcome the current ever-so-popular Apple/Macintosh “iPod" but in the mean time, iPod is champion.
Drawing conclusion - might your brother prefer the champion of today or the champion of tomorrow? And consider how fast those devices are outdated.
I honestly don't know what he'll be better off with. “Today's champion", iPod, has many versatilities - you can even buy docking bays for them creating entertainment centers with the iPod serving as a type of central processing unit. “Tomorrow's champion", anything by Microsoft, what's currently out is “Windows Media Player" based hardware, will have just as many features.
The war between Microsoft and Apple, or between one single dominating computer industry and the leading opponent, will never end. The best - or perhaps scariest - that will come of anything between those two corporations is either a merger or one of them folding. Likely? Doubt it. Anyway, maybe you can be sneaky in finding out what he prefers. Both kinds of devices are excellent choices. It's really just a matter of personal opinion.
Windows XP will be oldschool this time next year, with Windows Vista taking its place. Early 2007 will be a time of intense change in the industry - including MP3s, iPods, etc. The iPod is probably the best bet for now but in 2007 it will be the new word for “outdated".
I hope that whichever your brother ends up with he's happy with! I'm sure he will be in either case! But like I said it is totally up to him and what kind of things he is into. If he likes the ipod then he should go with an ipod and the same gose with the mp3 player. But just remember that just because the ipod will know next year as “outdated" dose not mean that it won't last long. Sometimes “outdated" things are always the best things to get.
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for http://www.PCSupplies.info/ . PCSupplies.info carries the best selection of computer accessories and PC supplies on the market. Start shopping by category here: http://www.PCSupplies.info/menu/category.html .