Apple Releases New iPods; Zune Dies in the Corner

Sorry for anyone looking for a pro-Microsoft post today, but
Apple just announced those new iPods I was
talking about last night when criticizing the Zune
and I’m personally declaring
that the Zune is dead.

On the iPod front, there is one for every budget.  New
Shuffle colors
(1GB $79), new
iPod nano’s
that support audio/video with 24 hour of audio playback on a
charge (4GB – $149, 8GB – $199), new iPod Classic
with audio/video support (80GB – $249, 160GB – $349), and finally iPod
touch
(8GB – $299, 16GB – $399) that also will support wireless browsing
and download from the iTunes Store which was one of the biggest problems with
the Zune that launched with WiFi too.

Zune is dead.  The only thing that might save it (long shot) is that v2 Zunes launch with a WiFi Zune Marketplace, relaxed music sharing restrictions, built-in Media Center Extender, Media Center-based syncing, a something that Apple has yet to think of (is there anything?)

What are your suggestions to save the Zune?  Am I wrong about it being dead?  You buying a new iPod?  Let me know. 

24 thoughts on “Apple Releases New iPods; Zune Dies in the Corner

  1. i think since the ipod touch runs osx the new zunes should run windows mobile. I wouldn’t say the zune is dead. If any company has a chance at all to compete with the ipod it’s microsoft. Microsoft has the money and judging by how well improved xbox 360 is over xbox im sure microsoft is going to come out with an awesome competitor of their own.

  2. Old Zunes run Windows Mobile too, and per-Zunes (aka Portable Media Center’s) were also Windows Mobile. The fact it is based on Windows Mobile has meant nothing so far. They should of added additional features already, and have chosen not too. At this point, I think it’s too late. Whatever offering they have coming up it is not likely that Microsoft can match what Apple will have already had on the market for months.

  3. I ordered my iPod Touch today to replace my Zune. I’m a little sad. I got the Zune for two reasons. One, to be different. Two, the bigger, better screen.

    iPod Touch clearly wins in the screen department now, and in the end, I didn’t really realize any benefits from being different. Oh well, I tried to give Zune a shot, but they still haven’t released any significant updates (podcasts, games, etc) since the initial launch.

    For Zune to survive, IMHO, the biggest thing they need to do is move 10 times faster than they are right now. If there had been a new update every couple months with real improvements, I might have been more inclined to stick it out with Zune. Alas, that hasn’t been the case.

  4. MCE integration is key for me. I need to be able to sync dvr-ms to my device, whatever it may be. Should I use an iPod and go through the hassle of file conversion or just wait for Zune v2 hoping the MCE woes will be fixed?

  5. Use http://www.mgtek.com/dopisp/ to easily sync the iPod with Vista.

    I’ve had an HTC Trinity, totally modded, running WM6 with the HTC plug. It has GPS and it does about a million things more than the iPod. But my wife hates using it (and most others get dizzy just looking at it.)

    So she recently got an iPod (a refurb, so I don’t feel so bad about the giant price-drop today.:-) I was skeptical, thinking she should wait for the next version.

    Man, playing with that thing totally changed my mind. The UI is like nothing else, and it makes my Trinity look primitive. The iPhone Mail is not perfect, but it works once you get used to it. Even the Edge doesn’t feel as slow as it did on my old HTC Wizard.

    If it wasn’t for the fact that I use the GPS when I travel, I’d get one in a minute.

  6. If they made a “Zune Portable xBox” that could sync to Media Center and be used as a harddrive, then that would surely give Apple a run for their money.

    It would also be cool if they could incorporate Vista’s Sidebar feature to allow you to control your Media Center Computer from your Zune.

  7. As someone who has used a subscription music service for a year now – I can’t imagine using the iTunes/iPod setup, purchasing one song at a time. However,I give apple credit for hardware design.

    I would be curious to hear of someone who tried a subscription service, then went back to pay-per-song service. It literally changes the way you listen to music!

  8. pff if i wanted a touch screen and web browsing id just get a pda. my tmobile wing does everything the touch does and has microsoft office, its own windows desktop and a full tactile keyboard because many times tactile>touch

  9. Ben: Your choice, to me it’s not a hard one anymore. There are programs like DVRMSToolbox that can auto convert DVR-MS to H.264 to go on the iPod. The same tools can convert to WMV to go on the Zune. There are thing party Meida Center apps that sync to both I believe (MyTVToGo).

    Jaxim: The Portable-Xbox-Zune would give Apple a run for their money, but realistically I don’t think they can pull it off. With price, size, and the inability to get the Zune part of the picture right I just don’t see this. It would be innovative, but I think it would be the size of a brick and would be $500-600.

    Richard: That is a good point about the Zune. If you like subscription based services, it does beat Apple’s offerings hands down.

  10. Mike: I have a Windows Mobile phone. It can do everything an iPod Touch can do and more (functionally speaking).

    And, aside from the bulkyness and crashing and ugly scratch-prone touchscreen, there isn’t a single application for it that even comes close to the user interface of the Touch. They’re really miles apart.

    And to think, there was a time when I was really excited to have my “cutting edge” XV6700.

  11. Mike: “if i wanted a touch screen and web browsing id just get a pda.”

    Don’t mistake the touch screen on the Wing, or any other phone/PDA i am aware of, for anything like the touch screen/UI of the iPhone. And don’t mistake the any mobile browser, including the DeepFish betas, for what the iPhone’s Safari does.

    See my post above. I was a sceptic too.

    The Wing is actually the Herald, a mid-level (EDGE, no GPS) HTC. Nice, but, trust me, no iPhone.

  12. The race is still on, actually. With recent announcements about several key vendors not renewing their iTunes contracts, and the iPod being tied to iTunes, iTunes will either kill the iPod, or Apple will be forced to untie the iPod from iTunes – making it just another MP3 player. Take away the Apple hype and it really is just another MP3 player, just like the iPhone is just another cell phone. Plus, hey, it’s Microsoft. Microsoft has a history of coming late to the game. 1.0 of anything Microsoft will not win over the masses.

  13. Rod Trent: The only company to pull out (that I know of) is NBCU and that was just from video. They will be back, NBC needs all the viewers they can get. I would personally be surprised if they keep Jeff Zucker around much long.

    And that said, Microsoft would still need to bring the Xbox Marketplace content to the Zune for the NBCU deal to even matter. Microsoft currently doesn’t have a service that competes with the iTunes Store for video, so it’s really a moot point until that happens. If I want to buy video online to put on my player, iTunes and the iPod are my only choice.

  14. I’m buying an iPod Touch. And I’m doing so not even for the media player. I’m doing it specially for the Web browser. It’s like heresy, because I develop with Microsoft tools. I just can’t ignore the ubiquitousness the iPhone/iPod Touch will reach.

  15. I hear that! I personally don’t want a iPhone/Smartphone/Blackberry/etc for a phone, I’d rather have it for quick access to the web. I love that I could now mix my digital audio player with the web. I’d likely cut my laptop out of many situations by picking one up.

  16. Everything you mentioned plus eliminating the damn Zune software and using what’s already on 90 percent of computers out there — Windows Media Player. Also, I don’t care about Divx and Xvid, but lots of others seem to, so add that as well and integrate with Media Center and Xbox-360 and it’s got new life. WiFi downloads and stereo Bluetooth are also needed. And lower price, higher hard-drive capacity.

  17. I think Microsoft’s big problem has been the slow progress in developing a great mobile OS. That would be the natural platform for a phone and a portable music player.

    Even the “new” Windows Mobile 6 is not that great.

  18. Well, I’d say the Zune would win if it could find a way to integrate Apple’s iPod Classic 160GB and the iPod Touch in one device. Then I’ll buy a Zune. (meaning that I think 16gb on the iPod Touch is pathetic)

  19. Well, you might not think you care but you do. Not using flash memory means moving parts inside, more heat, and thinker overall design. To get a thin product that runs cool you really need to use flash memory.

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