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What is the Difference Between an iPod and an MP3 Player?

written by: unsel•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 5/19/2011

Both iPods and MP3 players let you download music from internet, both have similar features, and can be great choices. So what is the difference between an iPod and a MP3 player? Read on and find out…

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    You might be wondering what MP3 players are, and what is the difference between an iPod and a MP3 player? Here, we take a look at the two terms and discover if one is better than the other.

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    Portable Music Players

    A Portable Music Player or PMP Device is the most used music player in today’s hi-tech world. A PMP is any digital music player, which allows you to download/save digital media files such as image, video and music from your computer to the PMP device. These music players have not only replaced portable CD players and walkmans in size but have also enabled the users to store thousands of songs in the player’s memory. These players are known to us as MP3 players, iPods, XPods or DAP, and they come in several different shapes, sizes, colors and storage capacities.

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    MP3 Players

    An MP3 Player is a handheld device that often weighs a little more than an Ounce. It uses flash memory to store MP3 files, Waveform AudioMp3 player  (WAV), Windows Media Audio (WMA), Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), Music Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), and other audio formats. Basically an MP3 Player is a storage device which contains software and memory that helps you transfer multimedia files from your computer to the player. In addition to this, MP3 players include features like radio, web site streaming, equalizer, play lists, backlight color, etc. MP3 players commonly use the USB port on the computer for data transfer and some models can even plug into the computer’s parallel and Firewire ports also. The transfer of the music from the computer’s hard drive to an MP3 player is as simple as copying a file from one place of the computer to another, and you can copy as many files as space permits on the device.

    Image Credit: waterproof-mp3players.blogspot.com

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    MP3 Players Vs iPods

    MP3 players and iPod’s are sometimes used interchangeably but there is a difference between the two gadgets. The basic differences can be Apple iPod Nano found in terms of compatibility, brand, price, software and battery life. One of the distinguished characteristic of the iPod is that it is a specific brand of MP3 players, made by Apple Inc, and has a specific design and set of features. Since the release of the first Apple iPod in 2001, the company has released lots of variations of its product such as the iPod Touch, iPod classic, iPod Shuffle, iPod Touch , iPod Nano, iPod Mini, and several offshoot devices such as the iPod Photo. The 2007 industry statistics show that the iPod has sold more than 110 million units worldwide. This makes the iPod the best-selling product in the history of digital audio players.

    Image Credit: 100discounts.com

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    When looking at what is the difference between an iPod and a MP3 player, it is important to note that the Apple iPods use the iTunes program for music transfer. In addition to music transfer, iTunes lets youitunes software  do a lot more things than just this. You can use iTunes to store a complete multimedia library on your computer, burn songs from a CD, transfer videos, photos, games and small applications. There are also many open source (free) alternatives available to iPod users who don’t want to use the iTunes software. These software include CopyTrans Manager, Floola, FroodlePod, etc.

    Despite the difference in manufacturing and branded and unbranded types, both iPods and MP3 Players have several commonalities. They play digital media files, have standard 1/8" earphone jacks, and connect to computers via a USB cable. Usually, typical MP3 players are more affordable and more compatible with different software’s as compared to the Apple iPods, which are priced more than other music players.

    Image Credit: theater-pro.com

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    Which is better a MP3 Player Or An iPod

    Now that you have found the answer to “what is the difference between an iPod and a MP3 player?", let us now discover which music player is better, a typical MP3 player or an iPod?

    As we discovered that an iPod is just a kind of MP3 players, which one you will like will depend on your budget, choice of brand, design and specs. iPods are much more famous nowadays than the other MP3 players, and everyone seems to be just talking about the iPods. They come in different designs, colors, specs and prices, and best of all, they are compatible with the iTunes software that is a great thing for managing your multimedia collection. So, the answer to which is better a MP3 player or an iPod totally depends on what you want, and how much you can afford to buy a multimedia player.