The reason to have an old-school iPod was never the Apple aspect. You'd buy one refurbed and give it to your weird cottage-industry pals to perfect and mutate. One friend of mine used to confect special cables out of various precious metals and send them to me for the cost of the materials sans labor. Another would rewire it to bypass the internal amp and replace the body with bits of my personal choosing.
As popular as it remains, Apple gear isn't quite dominant enough to inspire that subcultural intensity any more, but the whole reason to buy one aside from storage used to be this: it was so mainstream that it was capable of becoming the strangest and most customized player of all, from idiosyncratic hardware to Rockboxed/Linuxed firmware.
That said, the iHP-140 kicked its wee metal buttocks and was the only music player of its time to allow the use of an external DAC by means of an optical out and an ADC through its one-of-a-kind optical in.
CatLady makes an excellent point about SDHC cards. It's rather nice to be able to remove the card when the player dies, and the possibility of expansion makes internal memory less significant.
The AK-100 has a card slot as well. All of the high-end players from Korea and China have that same capability and all iPods suffer for not including it.
Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 11-09-2012 at 06:36 PM.