Zune interface, features detailed | iLounge Backstage


Zune interface, features detailed

imageIf you’ve been wondering how the Zune’s user interface will compare with the iPod’s, we have some real answers for you this morning: the similarities are significant, but Microsoft has made a number of changes that range from cool to not so cool.

That Wheel Thing: Not so cool. Turns out that there’s no touch-sensitive scrolling feature here - it’s shaped like a wheel, but it’s really just buttons. Zune has a menu button on the left of the circle, scroll buttons within the circle, and a play/pause button to the right of the circle. There’s also a hold switch just like Apple’s on the unit’s top, near the headphone port. You press up and down on the “Wheel” to scroll up and down through menus.

(Photo from Gizmodo)

General UI: Cool-ish. Think iPod, but in reverse: white text on black screens, but with a very iPod-like menu hierarchy. A white and gray gradient highlight bar fades in and out as you transition from level to level of the menus - a slightly futuristic and definitely nice visual effect. There’s also user-customizable wallpaper, which could compensate for the fact that the screens otherwise look pretty boring - there aren’t any dividers for top, bottom, or side interface elements, just text.

Scrolling UI: Cool-ish. When holding the scroll button to run through a huge list of songs, the screen superimposes the current alphabet letter over the right side of the song list to let you know quickly how far you’ve moved (right).

Album Art: Cool. Zune displays album art in a full-screen-width cube at the top of its screen, leaving room for an MTV-style black track details bar at the bottom, along with a battery life indicator. The album art is significantly larger and more detailed than the iPod’s largest such display, thanks to the size of Zune’s screen.

Integrated FM Radio: Cool-ish. Yes, like virtually every other iPod wannabe out there, it has one. Like the fading gradient highlight bar, however, this one is stylish in a minimalist way - large numbers on the screen, with a fast-moving bar and numbers representing the FM dial. Think Apple’s iPod Radio Remote interface, but with more motion, no background art, and no preset details at the bottom - you can pick North American, European, and Japanese frequencies.

Wi-Fi: Eh. Apparently you can use the Wi-fi feature to “loan” other Zune owners music for some short period (a day), giving them the opportunity to buy the tracks themselves from the Zune music store. While this is a cool idea, and could work well for ubiquitous iPods, it gets an “eh” here because you’re unlikely to randomly bump into other people who have Zunes, and unless Microsoft actually gives away music, you’re even more unlikely to find people who are willing to purchase tracks from its latest music store. You may also be able to spool Zune music to a Wi-Fi-enabled Xbox 360, which again is a cool idea, but requires a $100 wireless adapter and the $300-400 console. (It’s unclear as to whether the hard disk - part of the pricier $400 package - is required.)

Other Details: Not so cool. Zune is a bit bigger than a standard 30GB iPod, and apparently made entirely of plastic. In addition to the Music menus, there are Videos and Pictures playback interfaces, which aren’t as simple as Apple’s. Rather than using the iPod’s single-line Rolls of Film + (#) display, photos can be shown in a list of individually-named folders with a second line indicating the number of pictures per folder, which unnecessarily uses up screen space. Other views are available. Videos also use two display lines a piece. An Extras menu provides access to the Radio feature, and presumably features added by future attachments or firmware. Settings lets you adjust the menus, the internal LCD screen, sound effects, the radio’s frequency tuning, and more.

The big question being asked around these parts right now is whether Zune has any feature so compelling that it can really rival the iPod juggernaut. Right now, the feeling is that Microsoft may have gotten a few things closer to right than normal, but neither any individual part of the package nor the complete experience will truly rival the iPod’s super-simple, mainstream experience. At best, we’ve heard predictions that Zune will fight for the same fraction of “tech geek” market share (15%) that Apple hasn’t yet taken; at a $300 entry point with a 30GB hard drive, it’s hard to imagine that Zune gains traction in the iPod’s strongest market, the iPod mini- and nano-loving $250-and-under tiny device buyers. We’ll just have to see.

« Udderly ridiculous

Axio’s Fuse 06 - big, bold, black and red backpack »

Related Stories



Things i really don’t like:
-the whole thing is plastic
-need to buy $100 adapter for Xbox 360 (plus system if not owned)
-Buying HDD for xbox 360 (if needed)
-Thicker than ipod video.
-“borrow” music from friends, instead of sending eachother music to keep.

Krn iPod

Posted by Krn iPod on August 17, 2006 at 1:50 PM (CDT)


I just noticed, the headphone wires are pretty much like apples earbuds, I like the fact that the earbuds are magnetic…

Krn iPod

Posted by Krn iPod on August 17, 2006 at 1:55 PM (CDT)


Overall…. NOT-SO-COOL-ish !!

Anyway, would love to see some real screen shots.

Posted by Alien on August 17, 2006 at 2:00 PM (CDT)


“white text on black screens, but with a very iPod-like menu hierarchy.”

White text on a black background tends to make the eyes feel like they’re being x-ray’d. It also tends to leave you seeing transparent parallel stripes across your vision if you look at white on black text for any length of time.

“a very iPod like menu hierarchy” - Word from the wise. Creative reckon they invented this whole columnar view based on metadata of hierarchical file structures. They didn’t, but they reckon they did. They’re going after Apple for it, so watch out MS!

As ever the proof of the pudding will be in the end user experience and not in the sum of the features. I have faith in Apple’s design and userability. Bring it on!

Posted by Brenster on August 17, 2006 at 2:05 PM (CDT)


I like some feature of the gui, like the inverse white on black, i wish i could mod my ipod that way, also the superimpose alphabet is pretty sweet.
Other than that though, i’ll stick with my ipod.

Posted by blayn. on August 17, 2006 at 2:37 PM (CDT)


The Windows Mobile phone I have does the superimposed number over the contact list while scrolling through the contact list.  It looks cool to begin with, but turns out to get in the way because once that little think pops up you’ve got to release the scroll wheel, the re-engage to go find the name you’re really looking for.  I would call that a negative.

Posted by Jack Cox on August 17, 2006 at 2:55 PM (CDT)


Can someone please enlighten me about what exactly is so cool about the superimposed alphabet. I think I can work out by looking at the screen when I’m browsing or scrolling a particluar letter of the alphabet. I can see this being a really anoying feature.

Fluff with no real substance.

Posted by Confused on August 17, 2006 at 3:12 PM (CDT)


When I’m scrolling, no matter how fast I’m going, I can tell where I am, because the first letter is the same for all the songs, and it doesn’t change.

Posted by Eric on August 17, 2006 at 4:07 PM (CDT)


Microsoft cannot use a wheel touch pad. Apple has a patent on that. If it did not, others would have already copied it.

In my view, Apple’s touch pad is one of the primary reasons I like the iPod.

Also, white on black writing seems cool, but after awhile your eyes miss the black on white. You can make Microsoft word and Apple’s OS to look that way. I always turn them back after a short while.

Posted by Terrin on August 17, 2006 at 4:11 PM (CDT)


LOL ya wow it doesnt have any killer features beyond wifi/ fmtransmitter+reciever and a complete overall experience…

As for “waisitng screenspace with 2 lines” then again the screen is what 2x the size as the ipod video? LOL give me a break atleast they have screen realestate to waste.

And why would someone choose zune over the ipod… simple because after my 3rd ipod just broke and my brother is on his 5th one… steve jobs can keep his ipod… theirs a new device in town and i think i’ll give it a run :)

Posted by Chris on August 17, 2006 at 4:35 PM (CDT)


why can’t ppl make device that has lot of cool features (ie. muzie, zune) and has the same size as ipod or smaller. 

(a must)
-same disk space or larger
-longer batter life

and just better.. that’s how you kill ipod.

Posted by khang on August 17, 2006 at 4:36 PM (CDT)


White on black menus?  Yeeech!  It would be like watching B&W TV!

The larger album art is nice…  but that’s it..  and it’s not a biggie…

I can certainly see why M$ says it will take them 5 years to compete against the iPod…

Posted by Ben Dover on August 17, 2006 at 4:36 PM (CDT)


The interface sounds a little bit like my Toshiba gigabeat s, which uses the portable Media Center Edition.

The 60 GB gigabeat, however, is slightly narrower and about just as thick as the iPod. Also, it is virtually scratch resistant.

The sound on the this thing rocks too. So, I’ll be sticking with this unit for sure. The only thing that the iPod has on my gigabeat is the availability of accessories.

Posted by gigakeepin' on August 17, 2006 at 4:45 PM (CDT)


Krn iPod:

It’s likely you’ll be able to plug the Zune player directly into the Xbox 360 USB port and play music that way, if you don’t want to fork over $100 for the wireless adapter.

Posted by UnnDunn on August 17, 2006 at 4:45 PM (CDT)


I would assume using this with the Xbox 360 would be just I use my iPod with the 360 you just plug it in the usb port on front. It just shows up as a HD. But with the Zune I would hope it had better intergration. Maybe work with the 360’s online store so you could buy music there.

Posted by geno endicott on August 17, 2006 at 4:50 PM (CDT)


I’m Sorry!  The iPod still wins hands down!!

I don’t care what they call this new thing; there is nothing in it or on it that would make me want to buy it! 

Share music for just a day?!  Who’s idea was that?  An all-plastic case?  Yuck!!!...and they want how much for it?

This thing is gonna just Zune right into techie history!

Go iPod!!!!!

Posted by mikkimann on August 17, 2006 at 4:58 PM (CDT)


Its no suprise that on an iPod oriented site, you hear mostly negative comments, but here are mine.
First off, the price is not official yet, so leave that alone. Personaly I would be willing to pay the same price as an iPod for this device, and I dont see them charging more.
The whole reason I am excited for the Zune is their mandate behind it. They want to create community and make the way people share music and experince different. I think thats a great idea.
With the recent XNA announcment, they innitatives MS is making really excite me, and make me think that the ballance of power is shifting back towards MS in all things multi media.
Now if this thing could connect to live anywhere, that would be the kicker!

Posted by fidgetwidget on August 17, 2006 at 5:29 PM (CDT)


Interesting, I am holding till Zune come out which is better compare Ipod. I like to get one. Ipod is tired and become old. I want to get something new. I think Zune will win.

Posted by Devon Williams on August 17, 2006 at 5:32 PM (CDT)


But, I don’t care about size and design. That not is matter. Like zune is bigger or thick, and plastic. Look Zune is better spec than Ipod. I hope Zune is win but I like both Ipod and Zune.

Posted by Devon Williams on August 17, 2006 at 5:36 PM (CDT)


Maybe Microsoft will be able to catch the hearts and minds of all the die hard Windows geeks out there.  Creating an ugly and unfriendly UI worked well with Windows.  How many times have we heard MS fans exclaim that the Mac OS is “too pretty and simple”?  These guys are the Zune’s target market.  As long as the thing is complicated and difficult to use and allows one to change the screen colours to olive green and mud brown it will be a huge success.

Posted by TimB on August 17, 2006 at 5:38 PM (CDT)


i hope MS has done some studies on the effects of wearing magnetics against ones brain for prolonging periods of time??

considering that our brain works on magnetic pulses i am sure that this one feature alone will be enuff to turn a sh*tload of people off…. more specifically, parents. and they are the ones who buy these items as presents for their kids.

Posted by steve on August 17, 2006 at 5:41 PM (CDT)


steve… the magnet on the headphones is so weak it won’t do any damage to you. Your doing more damage using your cell phone once a day than using those headphones all day. Honestly, its just the driver thats partially magnetic. And most headphones are magnetic not just the headphones MS designed.

“I’m not gonna buy the Zune cuz of the headphones” Thats lame. If you actually care for music you’d replace the stock headphones anyways.

Posted by basshead on August 17, 2006 at 5:53 PM (CDT)



Posted by Mike M on August 17, 2006 at 5:59 PM (CDT)


‘As long as the thing is complicated and difficult to use and allows one to change the screen colours to olive green and mud brown it will be a huge success.’

HAH! Unfortunately it’s true. Given the amount of money that is made supplying cell/mobile phone users with endless lo res/hi cost wallpaper images, screen saver animations and gaudy themes, the ability to have a picture of <latest reality tv dancing karaoke star> as the Zune’s screen background will be a huge selling point.

I’ve never thought before now that I can’t change the background colour, font or font size or any other aspect of the iPod interface. Probably because it just works and is otherwise a perfect example of an intuative, beautifully presented human/machine interface.

(Almost a true) Fact: Just about every navigational error anyone ever makes with an iPod is made within 30 secs of picking one up. I have an elderly relative who operates mine with ease. The TV remote baffles her though…

Posted by Brenster on August 17, 2006 at 6:07 PM (CDT)


Actually I think the wifi loaning idea is extremely well marketed. Anyone ever heard of “ipod sex”? Aparently its a trend in cities to plug into eachothers ipods to listen to their music. I think MS heard about this and came up with a brilliant idea.

Posted by Rob on August 17, 2006 at 6:09 PM (CDT)


I see this Zune capturing the Windows loving, DIY computer building geeks. The guys who love fixing the registry and searching the net for arcane drivers to make obscure hardware work on their home made Windows box.
You know, the guys who would be much happier playing around with Linux if they could only get up the nerve to install it and try it out.
Zune should kill off Microsoft’s partners as it takes over the 25% of the MP3 player market that Apple does not control.

Posted by Big Al on August 17, 2006 at 6:12 PM (CDT)


One word to describe this abomination: Uuuuugghh!

Posted by Jon T on August 17, 2006 at 6:18 PM (CDT)


I would buy the zune even if it was twice as much as the ipod for many reasons 1) i have a color and a video the video broke they charged me $40 for shiping and didnt fix it 2)i hate apples itunes softwear 3)the ipod dosnt have radio or wifi 4)the ipods ,no matter how gentel you are with them, get a ton of scraches 5)i have an xbox and an xbox 360 and i love them boulth 6) i know it will work with my new dell laptop without having to reinstall the softwear and convert all my videos like i had to do with my ipod i could go on but i have to go fight with apple to try to atleast give me the mony i paid for the extended warenty back

Posted by Alex on August 17, 2006 at 6:24 PM (CDT)


I probably wouldn’t have used the word ‘borrow’.  It’s not like I lose the song until it’s returned.  I like the idea of sharing and bookmarking songs and videos… that’s a brilliant idea.  Even if the idea itself doesn’t appeal to you, can you at least understand the idea of ‘community’ and ‘sharing’. Anyone that has used Xbox Live clearly understands the power of community.  Anyways… thinking outside the box… literally.

The FM Tuner idea is alright.  Not killer, but nice.

I’ll have to wait and see some hands-on reviews before I’m too judgemental regarding the gui, but I was really hoping they’d use PMCs gui… it’s by far the best user interface out there. Period.

Posted by dude... on August 17, 2006 at 6:44 PM (CDT)


Why is this thing called iPod killer? How is it going to kill iPod? Better design? No. Cheaper? No. Then it’s just a regular mp3 player.

Posted by CM on August 17, 2006 at 6:48 PM (CDT)


from comment #4: “Creative reckon they invented this whole columnar view based on metadata of hierarchical file structures. They didn’t, but they reckon they did.”

The patent was not for “the columnar view” it was for the ” Automatic hierarchical categorization of music by metadata “

If you give 1000 mp3s with ID3 tags to the player, it will generate (automatically and within-the-player) tables from the metadata.

NeXT had an app with a similar “view” but the app itself did not generate the tables, something else in the OS does that (and maintains it, too) and the app simply reading from it.

This is why you see “building library” when you detach Creative Zens. If the app in NeXT “was” the same as the zen patent, then everytime you run it, it would have to rescan the ENTIRE hdd.

RTFP. zen patent: 6928433

Posted by admin on August 17, 2006 at 6:49 PM (CDT)


If you want to see Microsoft’s UI, why not (on a Mac) hit Ctrl - ALt - Option - 8 and experience it for free. Then go back to the iPod and appreciate the simpleness of the iPod.

Posted by Nik Fletcher on August 17, 2006 at 7:00 PM (CDT)


From the top of that screenshot, it looks like they’re using the media browsing from Vista’s Media Center.

But Vista’s Media Center has so many awesome UI effects and media browsing methods they should also take in (like the album art grid, and the cool stream animation in the “Now Playing” window)

Posted by Karl on August 17, 2006 at 7:59 PM (CDT)


Not cool Microsoft, Not cool at all. Why does everything have to cost so damn much. I can put a wireless networking adaptor on my PC for about $30 bucks. But one for 360 costs $100. I call that BullSh*t. Put one in the damn thing, Hungry Hungry Money Hippoes.

Posted by MetalCore on August 17, 2006 at 8:08 PM (CDT)


Steve, can you explain to me how a speaker works…you may want to re-think that whole magnetic next to your head thing if you want to hear some music out of your headphones.

Posted by grant on August 17, 2006 at 8:27 PM (CDT)


I think the Zune is going to be incredible.

There are two features about the Zune that do it for me.

Me and my friends go snowboarding all the time in the winter and we always bring our music players (PSP for me). Last year we tried to figure out ways that we could all listen to the same music and came up with a few, but were to expensive. The wifi music sharing on the Zune is just what we needed.

The built in FM transmiter is the second thing that does it for me. Fumbling with taking ipod FM transmiters in and out of eachothers cars gets old.

While not really something that does it fore me, I own an Xbox 360 and am interested on how the Zune will work with it. Live Anywhere looks cool too, though I doubt I will use it too often as wifi acess in my area is rare.

Posted by SLUSHIE on August 17, 2006 at 9:20 PM (CDT)


I like the fact it offers landscape video playback. I prefer a widescreen format.I hope they come out with a wirelss headset at some point. I think thats good use of the wifi capabilities.

Posted by Zune on August 17, 2006 at 9:58 PM (CDT)


I actually like the loaning idea—-

I meet someone that has simalertastes in music, and he recomends a band. I listen to it, like it.

Now.. with an iPod I’ll have to borrow his iPod if I want to listen to it. With Zune, in theory, he could just send it off to my player and I could listen to it all I want, then when I get back home I can load up the music store (or a torrent site….) and get it for myself.

I’m not a Microsoft fan by any means, but Zune might not be so bad. I’ll have to wait and see when it comes out.

If it’s more expensive than the iPod, forget it. If it’s the same or even better less, I might just pick one up.

And that screen is really nice. I love watching video on my iPod, but a lot of it is widescreen, and since you’re already watching it on a tiny screen those black bars are just annoying. This way it could be full widescreen, thus utilizing all of the screen space. (And a bigger screen at that.) I just hope that it will play Xvid/Divx—the iPod is great for watching TV shows, but I don’t wanna have to convert every single episode I watch to MP4 from AVI for my iPod when I’m only going to watch it once.

So yeah, I’m interested :)


Posted by Josh Powell in VA on August 17, 2006 at 10:16 PM (CDT)


If people weren’t idiots this thing would be able to crush the ipod.

Posted by Justin Baker on August 17, 2006 at 10:27 PM (CDT)


A co-worker of mine had a Philips mp3 player with a white on black display.  The novelty wore off very quickly!  The display was quite annoying to look at!  Leave it to Micro$oft to try to do something “different” just to differentiate their product even if it is not the “better” thing to do!  This same co-worker has since bought an iPod and loves it!

Posted by mono2STEREO on August 17, 2006 at 10:35 PM (CDT)


looks just like and iPod! Why would I buy this!?? It is another Micro$sucks product with a different array of Micro$ucks issues… Thanks but no thanks!

Posted by MacDaddy on August 17, 2006 at 10:43 PM (CDT)



Posted by blah on August 17, 2006 at 11:25 PM (CDT)


Ok, not bad. But things that HAVE to be built in for me to buy

1. Standard USB connector: I am sick and tired of having to keep track of propietary cables (example: Apple iPod). If I loose a cable, just let me go to the local store and get a standard USB cable.

2.FM Transmitter: This would be great for when I’m driving, or even “Sharing” music quickly. Especially if the unit already has an FM Reciever ;)

3. Photo/Camera transfer: Again back to a standard USB cable from the Zune to a digital camera. Make sure it is a true USB 2.0 for decent transfer speeds and make darn sure that when transfering from camera to player, it doesn’t drain the batteries on both devices (like Apple’s photo connector)!!!

Posted by Guz on August 18, 2006 at 12:21 AM (CDT)


Do you have a patent number for the scroll wheel thing?  I thought that was invented by Synaptic and available to anyone who wants to buy Synaptic touchpads.  (And IIRC, Synaptic isn’t making the iPod touchpads anymore, so I assume Synaptic doesn’t have a patent either.)

A single patent number would probably clear this question right up (if indeed there is a patent). Anyone got one?

Posted by anonymouse on August 18, 2006 at 12:33 AM (CDT)


steve- are you seriously worried about “the effects of wearing magnetics against ones brain for prolonging periods of time”?

Do you even realize how headphones work?  They are small speakers made with, guess what- MAGNETS!  Billions of people have been wearing headphones for decades with no ill effects.  Adding another magnet to the outside of the ear bud is going to have zero effect on our precious brain waves, yours least of all.

Posted by mr. guy on August 18, 2006 at 1:40 AM (CDT)


There can be no objectivity on a site where the users are self-selected iPod owners.

I don’t even see why this article was posted here, except to provide a place for iPod owners to offer negative comments. What else could have possibly transpired?

Posted by Ralph on August 18, 2006 at 2:28 AM (CDT)


Comment 31: Admin, I stand corrected. That’s what I get for attempting a swift comment rather than one I ought to have looked up first. :)

Posted by Brenster on August 18, 2006 at 2:45 AM (CDT)


I’m a ipod mini owner and this has me curious, i’ll have to see what it’s like at the store before i decide to buy one though.

Don’t know what I don’t like yet, but I will tell you what I do like:

1) sharing music idea.  I do see other people with iPods and if the Zune is as popular as the iPod then maybe I can try some songs from another player then go home and download it legally of course

2)  Interface sounds interesting, I’ll have to try it out but so far so good.

3)  If anyone can topple Apple it’s Microsoft, so I expect there to be a lot of stolen iPod ideas with many improvements like Microsoft has been doing since Mac OS 1.  Microsoft is always playing catch-up but when they do finally catch up it’s not bad.

4)  the radio would be nice, i’ll have to try it out and see.

5)  does this have a good built-in FM transmitter?  That would be extremely nice, I’m tired of buying crappy FM transmitters and wading through online reviews to try and figure out which is better.

6)  I HATE TOUCH-SENSITIVE SCROLLWHEELS.  I know most people love the ipod for that reason but when I’m running the scrollwheel stops working if my hands are a little sweaty or if i have gloves on.  The scrollwheel is too gimicky, one second it’s hyper-sensitive and next it won’t move for anything, plus they break far too easily.  I’m glad iPod patently the worthless scrollwheel and forced everyone to use someone different.

Posted by james on August 18, 2006 at 2:56 AM (CDT)


I wont be getting a Zune anytime because its not going to work for Macs. Apple has a monopoly on the MP3 player market for Macs because no one wants to compete. Its disgusting. Then Steve Jobs says to Microsoft, You need to get into the MP3 Player market… and they do it! Good for Microsoft though I hope their player isn’t another failure for them. I’m very intrested to see what it’s like when it’s finally released. Although I don’t see the record companies ever letting you lend anyone anything I think thats bogus.

Posted by Tom on August 18, 2006 at 3:13 AM (CDT)


Why did you forget to mention it has a f***ing huge screen compared to aby iPod

Posted by Ericc B on August 18, 2006 at 4:59 AM (CDT)


I say good luck,

but no chance in hell.
The user xp is still better in there own operating system, which is a sham. When the #1 question of linux adopters is “can i use itunes/ipod”

you should just give up.

two main things i love about my ipod

the way it feels, solid, metal
the scroll wheel, only way to get around that many songs

aren’t included. kthxbi

Posted by Jesse on August 18, 2006 at 5:20 AM (CDT)




Posted by zie on August 18, 2006 at 5:23 AM (CDT)


Okay, I WANT an iPod killer, so Microsoft listen up!

1. It HAS to support MPEG4 AAC!
I have 30 Gb of music in that format, so when I ditch my current iPod, I will not choose a player that doesn’t support my music!

2. There is a point in the apple connector. It gives the posibility for third party to marked your product!

And I need it to be able to integrate it into my car stereo so I can control it from the wheel.

3. Do we REALLY have to tell you that you have to provide a 60gb version? Is it that dificult to understand that as a newcomer, you have to at least provide the same capacity to target a sediment marked?

For us that has replaced the need of DVD’s movies, for in-car entertanment, the 60 gb is already too small.

If you gonna fight Apple, you have to do stuff MUCH BETTER than them. Its the basic education iRiver and Creative has failed in.  The MS brand won’t sell it alone, so start push the envelope!

Posted by christopher on August 18, 2006 at 5:39 AM (CDT)


Now, I’m not an iPod user so I’m not prejudiced on that matter. But I have heard others talking here about ‘microsoft tries to create a community and sharing feeling’. No offense but I associate community, sharing etc with the open source community, with people doing (creating) stuff for each other without asking something in return. Microsoft on the other hand, I associate with extreme money-hungry market corruption and big corporate lawyer strategies vs small consumers and small enterprises.

So if microsoft takes words like ‘sharing’ and ‘community’ in the mouth, there’s something wrong, especially if you believe them.

Aside from that here is why I don’t see the Zune breaking trough:

1) Perhaps you can ‘borrow’ songs for a day, not a bad thing, but it does imply ‘DRM’. We all know wma-drm: nothing but trouble. DRM is discriminating software, if you want to kill the iPod compatibility and freedom (complete ownership) is obligatory. Knowing microsoft they will never get rid of the drm, and DRM will probably be very strict on the Zune.

2)Apple started their successtory with iTunes. No iTunes would’ve meant no iPod and apple-  wouldn’t be where it is now. It’s the combination of a killer musicsstore with a well supported and available musicplayer that drove sales to its current height. What does microsoft have? An abandoned ‘play for sure’ program, and an unsuccessful music store. MS wants to use the Zune to get their music store out there. That’s a doubtful strategy because Apple has proven the market works the other way around.

3) Larger screen equals way larger battery usage. Portable devices can’t run flat on energy quickly, it will destroy the portability. The battery in the iPod and the screen are built for a very decent battery endurance. It would be very surprising if microsoft tops the iPod on that matter. So the big screen doesn’t necessarily mean an advantage.

4) Microsoft’s image is way worse than apple’s.

5) Apple has a ‘per item sold’ fixed price on their music. They only achieved this because of their dominance on the online music market. Even so they had to play it hard to keep this fixed price per song. Microsoft is in no position to negotiate such a deal, which means the music industry will have their way forced upon microsoft easily. This is bad news for consumers, because that will mean higher pricing for newer songs, and higher pricings in general.

6) The wifi is a good idea, but not a killer spec. It needs to meet too many conditions for that: another nearby zune with wifi enabled, similar music taste, communication about the exchange of music. That doesn’t occur to me as a big change over the ‘can I listen to your iPod for a sec’ thing that is going on right now. Like I said I don’t have an iPod myself but enjoy other people asking me if I want to have a listen to the music they have on their iPod. It is the personal enthusiasm of someone that really wants you to listen something that does the trick, not the ability of sharing it from a distance (and anonymously). I’d see the wifi more as an ‘extra’.

7) iPod’s demand is a certainty. This is a big factor for store managers. What will you offer in your store: a well selling, well supported device or a newcomer with no exceptional feature? Unless the zune becomes a big hit in presales they’ll find it hard to get display room.

Don’t get me wrong, the Zune will probably sell a decent amount, but it’s not the ipod killer microsoft hopes it to be.

Posted by sjaaksken on August 18, 2006 at 7:39 AM (CDT)



Everyone is trying to get into the .mp3 market.  Apple is on top and will most likely stay up there unless someone comes out with a device that is so simple, yet so damn cool to overtake it.  In the meantime, these company’s should stop wasting money on these projects and just let Apple do it’s thing.  Because Apple is king of the .mp3 market.

Posted by Chris on August 18, 2006 at 7:43 AM (CDT)


Overall it’s another mp3 player. But I notice one very big problem, the location of the click wheel is very counter to a natural thumb position. Unless you’re an 8 year old, you can expect a lot of crampped thumb positions using this thing.

Posted by Ryan on August 18, 2006 at 9:19 AM (CDT)


Looks like most everyone is complaining about the white text on the black background, but I think I know why this is a GOOD feature… you wont need a back light to see what you are doing. Since the letters will be lit, there will be no reason to have a back light, the black screen will make the letters seem bright in dim light.

Posted by soulsucca on August 18, 2006 at 9:34 AM (CDT)


This, of course was leaked by MS to get everyones feedback. The Mock up will have a better GUI, touch wheel, and not all plastic. Mark my words, MS is just teasing you to get you to spill your guts so it can refine the design. Just like they do with all their software, and hardware (xbox)

Posted by Genious on August 18, 2006 at 9:41 AM (CDT)


Zune is junk. Ugly.

Bad rip-off of the n64 logo. This whole thing is a copycat of other crap, what a piece of garbage.

Posted by truth speaker on August 18, 2006 at 9:42 AM (CDT)


I know that one of the more frustrating things about the ipod is that you can’t change the battery or recharge it apart from the ipod itself.  Or bigger, you can never replace just the battery.  I think of my digital camera - I love being able to carry an extra recharged battery to be able to switch without plugging in my actual camera.  And if a battery no longer seems to be holding its charge, your ipod is basically dead, from my understanding.

What type of battery and battery life does the Zune boast?  It seems that this could be a selling point.

Posted by Angie on August 18, 2006 at 10:48 AM (CDT)


If this I-pod knock off had satellite radio I would probably buy it.  Who listens to crappy FM radio these days anyway?

My Windows Mobile smartphone can play music just as well as this thing.

Posted by James on August 18, 2006 at 11:08 AM (CDT)


well that’s all cool and all but i know that if apple want’s to maintain it’s huge market share that they will have to put all of zune’s features into the new iPod coming out later. personally, I would wait for the new iPod.

Posted by mike H on August 18, 2006 at 11:27 AM (CDT)


i can even imagine the “cool” and unimaginative ad tag:
“Zune in!”


Posted by nemesis on August 18, 2006 at 11:43 AM (CDT)


hmmm… i guess it wouldn’t kill or at least get a bite on that ipod market unless they give it a very low or at least reasonable price. does it even come with a software to manage music files, uhm well MS has its media player(which by the way i hate using).

hmmm, wi-fi? what are they thinking? “loan some music?” with your friends? i think it would have been better if it had a bluetooth and plug-n-play function to easily transfer music files or at least share it with a friend who has a musicfone.

i think what really makes ipod the king of digital music players is its simplicity and ease of use. well mr. jobs? what’s next after the ipod video?

Posted by torchris08 on August 18, 2006 at 12:31 PM (CDT)


If you are able to download for free YOUTUBE’s videos on Zune device, and not in ipod.
Therefore, apart from all the other stuff.
Zune wins.
Imagine new bands, with no record label. Post their videos on youtube they get famous free and faster.
Apple needs to change ipods.

Posted by Patico on August 18, 2006 at 12:59 PM (CDT)


However, I personally still prefer to paid for a U2 video , because I feel thats their jobs, sell music.
So downloading a video for free on youtube’s its wrong.
Watching and interview, a Guide for some videogame, a teaser, something like that its cool.
Zune + youtube = New personal videos on the street.

Posted by Patico on August 18, 2006 at 1:09 PM (CDT)


However, I personally still prefer to paid for a U2 video , because I feel thats their job, sell music.
So downloading a video for free on youtube’s its wrong.
Watching and interview, a Guide for some videogame, a teaser, something like that its cool.
Zune + youtube = New personal videos on the street.

Posted by Patico on August 18, 2006 at 1:12 PM (CDT)


” Look Zune is better spec than Ipod. I hope Zune is win but I like both Ipod and Zune.”

It’s evident you haven’t been following the market. There are alot of players out there with better specs than the ipod, Creative makes some really good ones to be sure… but they’ve done nothing to dent the iPods market.
Specs alone won’t win this war…..

Posted by Musica360.com on August 18, 2006 at 1:20 PM (CDT)


Who really cares who winS?
Apple Vs Microsoft
Ipod Vs Zune
As an interview says.
The only one who we sure know will win is….
Devices price drop.
More features.
Less time to wait for the next generation.
More service, Better service.
More fun ADS.

Still, WAKing up to your Ipod + JBL ON TIME = Unmatchable.

Posted by Patico on August 18, 2006 at 1:28 PM (CDT)


“And it’s loaded with DRM so they can’t make compilations, can’t copy it to a DVD-R and play it in their car,”

Well then this would be true of both Apple’s Fairplay and Windows Media DRM…

Posted by Musica360.com on August 18, 2006 at 1:36 PM (CDT)


...it’s funny how everyone instantly bashes microsoft.
I’ve never had a single problem with any of their products outside the occasional Windows virus or spyware, and that’s not Microsoft’s fault! for the products they create, they have a level of quality above most other company, it’s just easy to kick around the big guy…

they aren’t one of the biggest corporations ever for no reason…

Posted by js beckerist on August 18, 2006 at 1:39 PM (CDT)


“If you are able to download for free YOUTUBE’s videos on Zune device, and not in ipod.
Therefore, apart from all the other stuff.
Zune wins.
Imagine new bands, with no record label. Post their videos on youtube they get famous free and faster.
Apple needs to change ipods.”

If they videos are offered in a standards format like mpeg, then they’ll play on an iPod no problem and anywhere else… no problem…

Posted by Musica360.com on August 18, 2006 at 1:39 PM (CDT)


“I’ve never had a single problem with any of their products outside the occasional Windows virus or spyware, and that’s not Microsoft’s fault! for the products they create, they have a level of quality above most other company, i’

I’m definitely not a Microsfoft basher either as I enjoy some of their products but stating that
1. its not there fault for the level of security in Windows XP is truly false.
2. I don’t agree about quality either. Microsoft has long stopped invovating in the computer market and either copies or purchase the companies that come up with original ideas.

Posted by Musica360.com on August 18, 2006 at 1:42 PM (CDT)


“I was taking the piss out of the idiots who buy iPods, then pay a fortune for music, when they could buy an Archos, or any other of the DECENT MP3 players out there, that don’t use DRM. Then you can download as much music as you want for FREE, and you can make compilations on DVD-Rs and give them to your friends.”

I don’t see the difference between them and an iPod or Zune owner as you can play standard mp3’s on either device.

As far as downloading as much music as you want for free… are u refering to file-sharing?

Posted by Musica360.com on August 18, 2006 at 1:47 PM (CDT)


to whoever talked about headphones and earbuds and not wanting to put magnets near your head.. 

Posted by snaggle on August 18, 2006 at 2:14 PM (CDT)


Uncool. Microshite? I don’t believe it;)

Running out of ideas and copying everyone else spelt big trouble for GM. The same will be true of MS.

Posted by dogStar on August 18, 2006 at 2:59 PM (CDT)


Wow, all the whiny people here who keep making the stupid argument about “Oh, iTunes and iPods have DRM, omg, u r stupid.” are idiots. READ. YOU DON’T HAVE TO USE DRM-INFECTED FILES. Who the f*ck told you iPods only can play Protected-AAC files? In case you idiots haven’t noticed, Archos players play Protected-WMA files.

“While you CAN play standard MP3s on either device, owners of non-DRM MP3 players (i.e. intelligent people) DON’T USE ITUNES, or other DRM-infested ####.”
Yeah, you end up using a crappy half-assed program. In case you haven’t noticed there’s a reason the iTMS uses DRM, it’s called the RIAA. Just because you use an iPod, does not mean you have to buy your music from the iTMS. It’s called IMPORTING your CDs.

Posted by God on August 18, 2006 at 3:02 PM (CDT)


From comment 53:
“1. It HAS to support MPEG4 AAC!
I have 30 Gb of music in that format, so when I ditch my current iPod, I will not choose a player that doesn’t support my music!”

If it’s MPEG4, it’s not YOUR MUSIC anyway!

Posted by Mike M on August 18, 2006 at 3:19 PM (CDT)


An Apple fanboy wrote above: “I just noticed, the headphone wires are pretty much like apples earbuds”

Give me a freaking break.  Apple didn’t invent the earbud.

Posted by naus on August 18, 2006 at 4:55 PM (CDT)


Wow, this sounds so much better than the iPod.  I can’t believe you guys are letting iLounge warp you- things that they say “aren’t so cool” are actually really cool!  I can’t wait to get one of these and rebel against the overrated, rip-off iPod.

Posted by Russer66 on August 18, 2006 at 5:02 PM (CDT)


Okay to whoever is complaining about the $100 wifi adapter, your complaints are ridiculous.

I don’t know if you were under the impression that the adapter was only for the Zune, but it’s not. The adapter is for wifi in general.

And if you just felt like complaining that it was $100 then that’s also ridiculous. Look at the PS3, if you want to complain about a game console’s price complain about that one.

To the person who said they can recite 5000 songs from memory. Yea okay sure… I’d doubt 99% of the population on earth could recite 100 songs from memory (not including songs that are 30 seconds long). I doubt mick jagger or britney spears could sing 100 songs from memory, and they get paid to sing.

I can’t believe that people are actually complaining about the sharing songs for a day feature. If Apple introduced that to the iPod all of you would say, “Hmm well that’s a neat feature, not spectacular, but it’s cool.” Don’t bash the idea just because it came from Microsoft.

Then there is the battery life, it’s obviously going to have shortened life when you have wifi ENABLED. I would hope Microsoft isn’t dumb enough to prevent wifi from being turned off.

Posted by Justin on August 18, 2006 at 5:13 PM (CDT)


Nice try from ipod lovers to start destroy zune fav peoples hope who like to buy this new device. But i think it’s still a rumors about most anticipated zune image. It’s not true the orignal device willbe like that. It willbe more n more good lookin device than anybody see yet so please save your money and wait and trust me people will thrill what microsoft bringin to the market to compete ipod.

Posted by Eskay on August 18, 2006 at 6:31 PM (CDT)


“What’s so difficult about having your MP3 player appear as a standard external hard drive on your PC, and just dragging over the files you want to play? This is presuming, of course, that iPod owners have sufficient intelligence to organise their MP3 files for themselves, without have Crytunes do it for them.”

Why would I bother organizing my music by myself when iTunes can do it for me? I don’t think anyone would like to spend hours organizing their music into separate folders (Artist, Album, Genre, etc.).

Posted by God on August 18, 2006 at 6:58 PM (CDT)


It’s fun to see how people bash totally insignicant features of this player.

Magnets on earbuds? Don’t you people know anything? - Earbuds already contain magnets - that’s how they work!

Stupid with an ‘inverted’ menu-color? This is a full-color screen dudes. You will of course be able to change the color preferences as you like and probably choose from a ton of different themes. You know - like Windows-users have been used to for 15 years… The whole idea of in fact yourself choose colors for your ‘OS’ might be new to Mac-users it seems.

Posted by Goggen on August 18, 2006 at 7:12 PM (CDT)


It seems to me that most people possessing strong (well founded or not) opinions can’t spell.

Posted by LukeA on August 18, 2006 at 7:36 PM (CDT)


“Stupid with an ‘inverted’ menu-color? This is a full-color screen dudes. You will of course be able to change the color preferences as you like and probably choose from a ton of different themes. You know - like Windows-users have been used to for 15 years… The whole idea of in fact yourself choose colors for your ‘OS’ might be new to Mac-users it seems.”

Uh huh, so why wasn’t that mentioned in the article? And as for Windows, I wasn’t aware we had a variety of choices. All I see here is Olive Green, Blue, and Silver, all of which still look ugly. In fact Luna is ugly (although Aero looks pretty sexy). And forget about Classic, that’s even uglier. But then again, there’s Windowblinds or patching the uxtheme.dll or whatever it’s called. And if weren’t aware, Mac users can use a program called Shapeshifter.

Posted by Nobody on August 18, 2006 at 8:49 PM (CDT)


Oh, and if you didn’t know, looking at black on white for a long time can make your eyes hurt.

Posted by Nobody on August 18, 2006 at 8:50 PM (CDT)


The only thing that would make me even consider switching would be a massive hard drive.  120GB but Apple is going to have that soon if rumor can be believed.

Posted by ebolasmallpox on August 18, 2006 at 10:42 PM (CDT)


“White text on a black background tends to make the eyes feel like they’re being x-ray’d. It also tends to leave you seeing transparent parallel stripes across your vision if you look at white on black text for any length of time.”

Probably more accurate:
“White text on a black background tends to make MY eyes feel like they’re being x-ray’d. It also tends to leave ME seeing transparent parallel stripes across MY vision if I look at white on black text for any length of time.”


Posted by Weasel on August 18, 2006 at 10:45 PM (CDT)


I like the design , maybe gray on black I don’t think the interface would be a prob seeing the screen size is huge I would like to put my mp3s or windows media movies or vids without having to resort to bending to apple will and use their format exclusively.

Posted by ishtar on August 19, 2006 at 6:16 AM (CDT)


If somebody notice the real zune media player are under the earbuds cable i mean on the screen it’s just side half pict but it’s looks so cute. I think it will be touch screen sensitive because it’s all screen no button on that. BTW apple ipod will come in same shape the only difference between these are the software n touch screen clickwheel.

Posted by Eskay on August 19, 2006 at 12:38 PM (CDT)


James, you are wrong on a lot of things, but most certainly you are wrong about “Mac OS 1”, since Mac OS started at 6. ;)

Posted by minty on August 19, 2006 at 1:17 PM (CDT)


Eskay: wtf are you talking about? That’s called a reflection. You know, it happens when light bounces off shiny surfaces such as some plastics…

Posted by Nobody on August 19, 2006 at 3:42 PM (CDT)


Personally, I think I’d like an all plastic shell.  It doesn’t scratch easily, and its lighter.  I’m not all that into the aesthetics on the back of my mp3 players, I just don’t really care.  I think the Zune will be interesting when it comes out, for better or worse.  While it may copy somewhat cliche UI’s and basic features, I think both Apple and Microsoft will learn something from the market based off of the Zune’s success or failure.

Posted by Impatientlywaiting on August 19, 2006 at 4:27 PM (CDT)


“Personally, I think I’d like an all plastic shell.  It doesn’t scratch easily, and its lighter.”

So, what are the fronts of iPods made out of?

Posted by Nobody on August 19, 2006 at 7:35 PM (CDT)


LOL i knew some deputies must loose there… BTW zune is not in one shape and size. It will be flash player n harddrive based media player. Anyhow i will wait until zune comeout and iam not in rush to buy ipod.

Posted by Eskay on August 19, 2006 at 9:07 PM (CDT)


Horrible looking and I will never spend a dime on MS. Also, you all are comparing the Zune to a one-year-old Video iPod. Once they come out with their “true” Video iPod, I suspect many of you will be drooling over that more than this pale imitator. And another thing, I re-read the review and I find no mention of an FM Transmitter built-in that some of you MS-lovers are giving a thumbs-up on. It has an FM radio, big deal. So does a 1984 Chevy. FM radio sucks the big one. If I have a 60gb iPod with thousands of songs I think I’ll listen to my songs without annoying commercials every 8 minutes. I’d honestly rather have AM radio so I can listen to ball games on the go.

Posted by Surya on August 20, 2006 at 12:35 AM (CDT)


I kind of like the music sharing feature.  My friend is a music freak always telling me to check out bands.  No he could just send it to me and I could listen and possibly purchase music that bands music on Zune’s iTunes killin’ music store.
This feature on iPods would be awesome i think.

Posted by sno_cat219 on August 20, 2006 at 1:02 AM (CDT)


The one problem with the zune is that (As of yet) no accessory manufacturer has leaked the docking port for the Zune. Since this is Microsoft, the Zune will likely be able to work only with “Made For Zune” Accessories from its dock. Also, Microsoft will likely make two very crucial mistakes when releasing the Zune. 1. They will release the player without a line of accessories ready, and not just speaker systems, but remotes, a variety of cases, and Headphones to sell. (The only music player to do this in recent memory was the Creative Zen/ Zen Micro, look at where it is #2) 2. They have already made this mistake: they designed the Zune against the 5th Generation iPod, but by the time he zune is released, the Next-Gen iPod, or an Update to the current iPod wil have happened. The zune will be outdated by the time that it releases.
MS will likely cripple the Zune to work with maybe 3 Music Stores, none of them iTunes. These Music stores will not have the same catalog as iTunes, and will likely be as badly DRM’d, You will not be able to use the Zune with a Mac, and it will be further crippled by vista.

Posted by anti-luddite on August 20, 2006 at 9:35 AM (CDT)


One More thing: VISTA WILL DRM ANY MEDIA THAT YOU PUT IN. THERE WILL BE NO DIFFERENCE IN COPY PROTECTION IF YOU DOWNLOAD OR RIP A SONG. Microsoft has sent a dedicated fanboy to apple dual-booting windows XP.

Posted by anti-luddite on August 20, 2006 at 9:37 AM (CDT)

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
iLounge Weekly

Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2019 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy