A comment from earlier in the day sparked a bit of a conversation in the official CrunchGear chat room: what’s to stop someone from ditching the iTunes-iPod “universe” and switching to the Zune HD? (We’re all pretty keen on the Zune HD for whatever reason.) Those of you with iPhones are pretty much stuck using iTunes, but what’s to stop someone from saying, “You know, I’ve used an iPod in one form or another for the past five years, so I think I’m gonna try something new for a change.”? Let’s see what’s up.
I don’t think the excuse that you have a Mac is valid anymore. Any Mac bought within the past three years can run Windows, so whether you poney up the money for the operating system or acquire some other way (I don’t care what you do, and that’s not relevant right now anyway), you can run whatever software the Zune HD comes with. And what does your iTunes library consist of: a couple (thousand) MP3s? Those will play just fine on the Zune HD, and you can easily set it up so that all your music syncing is done within Windows. How often do you really need to sync your music library with your portable player?
I know in my case, what I’d do is continue to use Mac as my everyday operating system—I’m not switching to Windows full time just to use a portable device—then boot into Windows like once a week just to sync the library, download updates, etc. Thanks to things like Spotify, I don’t really need to have a huge library of songs constantly on my computer. So, host my library on the Windows partition, then keep a smaller one/use spotify for when I’m in Mac OS X. I get to use the Zune HD and my preferred OS.
Again, iPhone users are pretty much stuck with iTunes, but if you have an iPhone then you probably have little need for a Zune.
All I’m saying is, it’s probably not as hard to switch from an iPod-iTunes combo as you might think. This only refers to music, of course, because if you’re buying movies and TV shows from iTunes you’ve pretty much committed yourself to iTunes.