Apple has necessitated the use of iTunes to add or modify the files on an iPod for reasons known only to them. Simply enabling the disk use functionality and adding songs as you would on an USB will not work. This is because the iPod only plays songs stored in its iTunesDB, a database for songs stored on the iPod. This is where iTunes becomes essential, it allows for songs to be added to the iTunesDB. The reason why Apple has chosen this method has never been officially expressed but tech gurus vaguely state speed and efficiency.
Many iPod users feel iTunes is way too bloated with unnecessary software and are in the search for other alternatives. For all such users here is an exploration on what else is on the offer as alternatives.
Developed by Ventis Media, MediaMonkey is offered in two versions, the Free version and the Gold version. The free version should suffice for the average user. The Gold version offers enhancements in Disk Burning, MP3 encoding and Folder Monitoring. MediaMonkey supports all versions of iPod Apple has ever sold till the very latest iPod Touch(3G). It also features a functionality for managing your podcast subscription. One of the fun features MediaMonkey incorporates is the Party Mode. In this mode song requests can be made without altering your playlist. There is also the Auto-DJ feature which automatically selects tracks once your playlist runs out. Fetching of ID3 tags for your huge collection of songs has never been simpler. MediaMonkey does all the hard work while it lets you lean back and enjoy the music. One drawback of MediaMonkey is that it requires iTunes to be installed on your system as it utilizes the same drivers. If you are looking for a player which plays almost anything and is also customizable with a fun interface, MediaMonkey is just the one for you.
Amarok2 is a KDE based music player available for the Linux platform. It is widely touted to be as one of the best audio players available. It scores in the area of interface, where Amarok2 offers an interface to die for. Though for the latest versions of iPhone and iPod Touch to work they must be jailbroken.
Songbird is a very interesting, cross platform audio player on offer. It works fine on Linux, Windows and also on Mac. It is based on the same core architecture as Mozilla Firefox, the XULRunner framework. Thus it is not only an audio player but also an integrated browser. The browser and player features are well integrated to provide a rich experience. Just like as Firefox, SongBird too supports skins and plug-ins.
SongBird supports iPod once you install an extra plug-in. It seamlessly syncs all your music files and videos too. It can also sync your hard disk collection to your iPod. SongBird is a feature rich player with a strong developer base. The only drawback though is the fact that it almost uses as much resources as iTunes.
How can we ever forget the trusted media player which has become the standard for any Window- based system. It supports iPod functionality once the m1_ipod plug-in is installed. Music transfer is pretty much hassle free. Resource usage though is pretty heavy by Winamp. There is way too much bloatware included.