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About those new Zunes (yes, plural)

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2007
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As noted in our Monday update to the Zune story here on Backstage, Microsoft did in fact hold a day-long event to preview new Zune technology to developers. During that event, the company put an image of the iLounge web site up on a big screen and, we’re told, hassled the developers there for leaking Zune information to us (and presumably others). When our mid-day update appeared, noting that the preview event was underway, that apparently caused another fuss.

That aside, here’s what we’ve heard: Microsoft apparently previewed more than one upcoming Zune at the event. The one that people expected - a flash memory-based Zune - is definitely coming. But it’s physically larger than the iPod nano, and apparently not anything amazing: ‘not bad’ is how we’ve heard it described. If you liked the last Zune but wanted something smaller and with less storage capacity, that’s the flash Zune.

The surprise was the preview of an updated hard drive-based Zune. We’ve heard that it will have a bigger display (yes, this surprised us, too) and most likely additional storage capacity, matching higher-end full-sized iPods as the prior Zune matched the lower-end ones. Our guess is that this is Microsoft’s response to the oft-mentioned iPhone dilemma: “great video screen, but how do I store more than 4 movies on it?”

Release dates or prices? We don’t know them yet. If history’s any guide, they’ll be priced at roughly the same prices as peer iPods, and show up a few months from now. Whether or not they make a splash is anyone’s guess at this point.

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Comments

1

no matter what they try, they must make zune mac compatibility. otherwise, they will continue to lose market behind Apple.
of course, they will do this soon. but it should be faster.

Posted by edward on May 9, 2007 at 3:03 PM (PDT)

2

@edward: are you kidding? iPod is popular ‘cause Apple added Windows compatibility. Not the other way around.

Black Zune @ Panama, Central America.

Posted by Ricardo Dawkins on May 9, 2007 at 3:10 PM (PDT)

3

who cares… teh Zune is a turd (they knew this and offer it in coordinating colors).  The only updates necessary is a ctrl+alt+delete combo to get the silly thing to work… (concept art here: http://vince1johnson.googlepages.com/ms_zune.jpg)

Posted by Geranimo on May 9, 2007 at 3:56 PM (PDT)

4

I hope they bring something out soon, so it pushes Apple to bring out their widescreen iPod with touch-controls in June, in two versions.

1. 32GB flash version.
2. 100GB hard drive based version.

Posted by Brendan on May 9, 2007 at 4:05 PM (PDT)

5

Those developers should be glad MS doesn’t operate like Apple does when it comes to leaks.  Because if they did, a contingent of lawyers will already be crawling up their backsides looking for evidence of NDA violations.  I’d rather get a mild admonition from MS than a lawsuit from Apple any day.

Posted by Dan on May 9, 2007 at 4:15 PM (PDT)

6

I agree—Macintosh compatibility shouldn’t be a priority at all.  What kind of mac user is going to buy a Zune?  Seriously!!

What they SHOULD have a priority on is making the thing sleeker and smaller—and if they’re going to make a bigger wide screen—up the resolution and reflect the aspect ratio.  The Zune would’ve done better if it wasn’t the size of a 1st generation MP3 player.

Posted by MarvinK on May 9, 2007 at 5:32 PM (PDT)

7

If anything, add better Linux support first.  Something Apple still refused to do with the ipod.  There are a lot of hacks, but nothing official from Apple.

Posted by MarvinK on May 9, 2007 at 5:33 PM (PDT)

8

Mac compatibility is worthless when there are reported issues with getting the Zune to work properly with Windows.

The Zune is worthless because:
1. The only theoretically positive aspect (wireless) is completely outshined by the Sansa Connect.
2. The Zune lacks any compelling value add for consumers that makes them want the Zune versus the iPod line.

You can spray paint poop any color you want, but at the end of the day, it’s still poop.

Posted by JSolo on May 9, 2007 at 6:08 PM (PDT)

9

Dear Microsoft,

I realize the decision has most likely already been made.  But please, pretty please, give the Zune2 at least a 120gb hard drive, more if available. 

If you do this, I’ll do you….every night for a month.

Or I’ll just buy a Zune2, you choose.

Thanks
-Stephen J

Posted by stephen j on May 9, 2007 at 6:36 PM (PDT)

10

WRT The Leak, Microsoft shouldn’t get all up-tight about it. Any press the Zune gets is good; but the fact is, if the software is as woeful as the Zune1 software, I won’t be recommending it.
I’m not a Mac Fanboy either, When Microsoft and 3rd Party Manufacturers create something comparable to a Mac and the iPod, I’ll recommend it.

Posted by Dan Woods on May 9, 2007 at 7:53 PM (PDT)

11

i have a zune and i have had no problems with it. all of you ipod owners think that the zune has problems because of xbox 360 but it is perfectly fine. i would like the hard drive feature. i would also like more video files to work with it instead of just wmv. what they could also do is make the price of their new zune with all or most of these features cheaper than an ipod video so more people might think about buying it. if it isnt less, then they should make it equal priced. they should also get a good game company like they have pop cap games with 360 and either have some already loaded on it or have a “free pass” to 1 game when you get it.

Posted by ZuneOwner on May 10, 2007 at 8:16 AM (PDT)

12

I agree (sort of) with ZuneOwner. My Zune works great…once MSFT finally updated the PC software to a workable release.

The Zune is definitely derivative, but there’s no denying that it sounds better than any current iPod (though I still use my 8GB 2G nano more than I do my Zune), and vids look great on it over my 60GB 5G. As to whether Redmond will ever port the brand over to OS X…who really cares? Considering all the glitches with the control software that I had using the thing on my Dell, I wouldn’t want that foul crapware (which the initial release would likely be) on my PowerMac, or that MacPro I’m now lusting after.

Posted by flatline response on May 11, 2007 at 1:50 PM (PDT)

13

Those flash players suck..Nothing beats the Cowon D2.

Posted by Ferny on May 15, 2007 at 11:28 PM (PDT)

14

And WHY would you want Zunes available for Macs when we already have, gee, the iPod to use with them?

Posted by Multimoog on May 16, 2007 at 4:11 PM (PDT)

15

The Zune is amazing. The setup it perfect but a slimer model is needed. What I want to see most is a 1st party ZUNE CONVERTER!!!

I owned an Ipod but was given away as a gift. Though I would only recommend the Zune if you have no MP3 player or looking for a new one.

Posted by Nate B on May 19, 2007 at 6:57 AM (PDT)

16

zune does look cool but the new touch screen ipod looks way better. i just wish it was out now.

Posted by tony hamilton on May 23, 2007 at 7:07 PM (PDT)

17

I am tired of people bad mouthing the zune it works just as well as ipod if not better, it is just because everyone thinks apple knows what there doing more cause they have been in the game a bit longer. the bottom line is, the zune is basically the devive you get if you give a damn about music and love lisnting to it everyday.

Posted by luke b on June 4, 2007 at 7:27 PM (PDT)

18

I just purchased the zune and I can’t say anything bad about the new Microsoft player. The screen size is nice and out of the box set up was a breeze with no occurring problems. The sound quality is better than the iPod and the navigation of the menu is straight forward. Microsoft’s software makes updating the zune easy as the software does everything for you. The learning curve was little to none if one uses common since. Personally the zune’s size and looks really are no annoyance to me all. Microsoft’s zune is a pleasant surprise for a first generation player. And from my understanding the battery life will improve with upcoming firmware updates.

One last thing I owned a first generation iPod and I was not impressed due the volume increasing on its own one day. I attempted to manage the volume and the iPod stopped working completely to never work again.

Posted by Reggie Def on June 15, 2007 at 5:12 AM (PDT)

19

Reggie,
Glad you are happy with your choice of DAP. But comparing the Zune to your 1G iPod is slightly unfair.
That came out in 2001 and it is now 2007 so one would hope that the Zune is at least as good as the 1G iPod. If it wasn’t then there is a problem.

Maybe in six years time the Zune will be almost as good as the 5G iPod…..

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on June 15, 2007 at 7:06 AM (PDT)

20

ok the zune is better in only a few things

1. it accepts more movie file types than an ipod but that is outwieghed by it does not except as many audio file types.

2. it might have than bigger screen but all u zune owners know u got lag when useing ur zunes

3. the software suks an all u kno that unless they come out with a new software program a next generation zune is pointless

Posted by jack hinkins on June 15, 2007 at 7:47 PM (PDT)

21

im planning to get a zune…cuz i just dont want something everyone has been yelling about for the past couple years…i need a change.. and the zune seems like a nice way to do it =]

Posted by dorota on July 10, 2007 at 1:34 AM (PDT)

22

I can’t comment on it, a s I have yet to try it out, but I am upset that someone is bitin’ my style as I have been the one & only Reggie Def for a long, long, LONG time.  Plus, this dude can’t spell-“since” for sense.

Posted by The REAL Reggie DEF on August 8, 2007 at 9:00 PM (PDT)

23

Don’t believe all of the pictures you see of the Zune.  What looks like a big bulky player in photos is actually a very very attractive device in real life, especially if you ever hold one in your hands, all thoughts of the larger size disappears.  One problem i had with the zune was that you couldn’t use it as an external HDD hopefully microsoft will release some firmware update to fix that or have that option in their new zunes.

Posted by mikaal on August 18, 2007 at 4:11 PM (PDT)

24

Anyone know when the new Zune comming out. I had an iPod before, it got stolen, thanks god, i was going to get rid off it anyway. I was going to buy a Zune when the empoyee told me that a new Zune comes out soon and that i should wait for that. Please tell me when is it comming out and if not soon, should i just buy the the one available.

Thankz!!

Posted by Art on August 23, 2007 at 8:27 AM (PDT)

25

the ipod touch is something, but the rest of the ipods aren’t. they were so mundane. The click wheel was alright, but really, talk about overrated. The zune is something though, i mean, yeah theres DRM but it still sends songs and the pictures (which don’t get deleted). Thats an innovative approach to a media player. There is also personalization, but only with wallpaper so the user isn’t overwhelmed. Anyway, the iPod took 6 years to get good. The Zune still has time.

-White Zune, Lagos, Portugal.

Posted by Rafa on September 5, 2007 at 9:24 PM (PDT)

26

True, the 1G ipod are crap!! Brought one for my girl and it always crashing. I’m looking to buy my own but the new touch ipod just doesn’t have the memory space for me. It’s harder to duplicate a product not using the same technology but I’m waiting to see the 2G zune to see what MS come up with before I make my choice. If your going to carry around video 30 gigs is not enough. I would have stuck with the psp but that went to my son. I guess the choice will be made by xmas.

Posted by kid_352003 on September 6, 2007 at 9:40 AM (PDT)

27

I agree with all those users praising the Zune, it is a very good device and my only complaint is that it cannot be used as a HDD…. I used to have an Ipod Video that died one day, so I bought the Zune…. Albeit the Ipod Touch llooks very nice and I may get it once the prices go down and there is a larger storage capacity….

Posted by Zunester on September 8, 2007 at 4:28 PM (PDT)

28

I love my Zune and finally found the software that easily converts Xvid and Divx formats to WMV.  (WINAVI)  If this is their first attempt at a player, it kicks ###!  Apple maybe kicking it up a notch with a full touch screen model, but they’ve had plenty of time and are being pushed by the Zune to make something more usable.  Movies work perfect on my Zune, my old ipod video had too many glitches.  Viva Microsoft!  #$%!&* Apple

Posted by Rob on September 17, 2007 at 11:02 PM (PDT)

29

people keep insulting the Zune - compare it to the first iPod and then talk. the only ipod id buy is the ipod touch - basically because of the net. the 160gb ipod is nice.. and im guessing way thinner than the zune?
so MS, please make a zune with 160gb - even 200 if possible lol.
and for those who say the ipods way better tha the zune, the ipod had two 80MHz processors while the zune has one 500MHz processor. and in sound tests, the zune has scored above the ipod. so for music the zunes better.

Posted by J03 on September 21, 2007 at 9:52 AM (PDT)

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