Of course, my iPod dies the day before a 12 hour drive. I keep getting the "sad iPod" image on the display. It was a 40GB 4th generation iPod with the greyscale screen. I've had it for just over 3 years. A few months ago I probably would have replaced it with another iPod, even though I think iTunes is a piece of junk. But with the release of the new Zunes, I figure the best replacement is an Zune 80.
Why a Zune? A few reasons:
iTunes seems to have gotten worse over the years. Plug in your iPod and then try to do something with the software. It is painful. Apparently, the developers haven't heard of multi-threading. Coverflow is kinda cool, but not really that useful. The podcast support is pretty good, I'll give it that.
The Zune software on the other hand does not bog down when you plug in your Zune. It is also nice looking. Omar compared iTunes to a spreadsheet, and I agree. The Zune software still needs some work though. It doesn't have an equivalent for "smart playlists" like iTunes has. The podcast support is decent, but I can't figure out how to get it to automatically remove podcasts I have already listened to. That was one thing I really liked about iTunes (although sometimes it didn't work).
The Zune 80 is a really nice MP3 player. The screen is big, the controls are great, and the size of the player is reasonable. I was really sick of swirling my thumb around to navigate a long list of items on the iPod. The "squircle" works well, although sometimes I scroll instead of selecting an item. I figure that will lessen as I use it.
I bought the Zune while I was on vacation, so the drive home was much better than the drive out. I got caught up on a bunch of podcasts.