While I was on vacation in Chicago, I finally cracked and bought the shiny white plastic (60gb). I'd tried to find something acceptable that would play WMAs, since I ripped my entire CD collection to high-quality WMAs a year or two ago, and the Audiostation I have at home plays them, but I finally gave up waiting. Every WMA player looks like it was designed in 1985 by comparison. Why is it that Apple seems to have a lock on sexy hardware design? I'll skip my frustrations with the software, etc. for now. Had a few crashes, and some driver issues with the iPod - and that was on my CLEAN machine.
To add to the attraction of iPod, I got the option on the Mini for an iPod interface. I'm not particularly happy with it, but it is better than nothing.
Pros: plays music from the iPod directly through the car's sound system, sits in the glove compartment (where it's lockable), integrates track-skipping and playlists into the car's system.
Cons: it only integrates with five playlists, and the playlists have to be specifically named (prefixed with "MINI1", "MINI2", etc.); it can play all tracks (playlist 6), and it will just keep playing a playlist/album that it's already playing. It also loses the Random/Shuffle Songs option every time it's turned off. (GRRR.) Worst of all, there is no integration of track/artist/playlist NAMES with the stereo's display - so you can't see what you're listening to, even though it does that with FM info - and the iPod display is useless, because it's connected! (It just shows "MINI - ok to disconnect" while it's plugged in.)
But, the short story is that now I need to re-rip my entire CD collection again as MP3s. So, I'm reaching down and swapping CDs every couple minutes. I think I'm about a quarter of the way through. Wow I own a lot of CDs.