I dig the iPod's sixty gig capacity, other than that... Not.
I also think that Apple has huge success, partly because of their brand build-up. It's just "hip". But let's be realistic, the iPod does offer some features as well. I'm not sure how competitive it is nowadays though. I bet a lot of the cost is in the brand.
I'd much rather have SD RAM based players. Price is decreasing, capacity increasing. It's a much smoother solution. You just plug in the SD RAM card and for changes, just insert it in the PC cardreader, well, at least until PC's have SD RAM readers built in.
These cards are great. They're extremely tough. Although one can only write to them a limited number of times, the same does not hold for reading.
Compare them to a CD. They could potentially be used to replace the CD - you could still download the music, but then write it onto SD RAM cards and insert them in a player for the stereo. It also means there is no direct dependence on having a PC running
when you want to listen to music.
And better-than-CD quality is being realized through online record companies like Linn Records.