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  #1  
Old 09-05-2007, 09:29 PM
Jason Dunn
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Default Apple Throws Down the Gauntlet, Picks it Up, Smacks Zune in the Face

Today isn't a good day to be a Zune fan, that's for sure. Why? Because Apple unleashed a new wave of iPods today, and they're every bit as impressive as I was fearing they'd be. This was no simple product refresh with memory bumps and price drops - no, this is a whole new generation of iPods.<br /><br /><img border="1" alt="" src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/500/zt/auto/1189022722.usr1.jpg" /><br /><br />As I followed <a target="_blank" href="http://www.engadget.com/2007/09/05/steve-jobs-live-apples-the-beat-goes-on-special-event/">Engadget's excellent coverage</a>, I was blown away by what I was seeing. Here are the very brief highlights of where the iPod lineup now stands and what I find most significant about each one:<br /><ul> <li><strong>iPod Shuffle:</strong> not much changed here other than new colours. Same design, which works really well for the target market, and the price point is $79 USD.</li> <li><strong>iPod Nano:</strong> a two inch display running 320 x 240 resolution. The pixel density is off the charts here, which means amazingly smooth and crisp text, images, and video. It can now play games like the bigger iPods can, and is available in five colours. Coverflow support has been added, and it will give you 24 hours of audio and 5 hours of video on a single charge. The price? 4 GB for $149 USD, and 8 GB for $199.</li> <li><strong>iPod Classic:</strong> This is currently what the Zune is competing against. The new iPod 80 GB Classic boats 30 hours of audio playback, 6 hours of video. They have a 160 GB version that boosts that number to 40 hours of audio and 7 house of video playback. The price? $249 USD for the 80 GB version and $349 for the 160 GB version. The body of the iPod Classic is described as having a &quot;full metal design&quot;, and they're even thinner than before.<br /> </li> <li><strong>iPod Touch:</strong> This is an iPhone without the phone. 3.5&quot; wide screen display, 480 x 320 resolution, 8mm thick, full multi-touch interface, 802.11 b/g WiFi, and most of the apps from the iPhone: calendar, clock, calculator, contacts, YouTube, Safari web browser, etc. No mention of an email client. 22 hours of audio, 5 hours of video. And the cherry on top? iTunes WiFi Music Store - that's right, full mobile browsing and purchasing of iTunes music. It downloads the song to the iPod Touch, then when you sync it pushes them onto the desktop.</li></ul>So that's the new iPod line - what can the Zune team do to counteract that? If the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.zunethoughts.com/news/show/22962/could-these-be-the-second-generation-zunes.html">rumours about the upcoming Zunes</a> are to be believed, then I have to admit that I'm not hopeful just based on those specifications alone. The Zune team is full of smart people though, and J. Allard isn't to be underestimated, so I hope they have something amazing up their sleeve. If they don't, and this holiday season we see a 4 GB Zune without much more under the hood...then the Zune is in for a very hard road indeed.
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  #2  
Old 09-05-2007, 09:47 PM
andre
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well said, if my zune ever breaks than my most hated company (because of the obnoxious apple zealots) will have some dollars coming from me.

over one year with just marginal updates like improved shuffling! the zune team has spoken with their behavior and its loud and clear.

if ipods supported *.wma....
 
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:47 PM
Rocco Augusto
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We have a non activated iPhone floating around the office for testing new sites we develop on the iPhone's Safari browser. While I would never own an iPhone as a phone, it is almost appealing enough to own as a standalone music player/tablet. Hopefully Microsoft has something awe inspiring in the works, if not I have no idea how they plan on staying in the game.
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:48 PM
Sage
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I was actually kinda disappointed with the iPod refresh. I was hoping for a device with the capacity of the new iPod classic (160GB is awesome!) with the features and screen of the iPod touch. If they ever make such a device, I'll buy it without hesitation.

Did you notice they also lowered the price of the iPhone to $399?

The Zune sure is up against some tough competition.
 
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Old 09-05-2007, 10:19 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andre View Post
over one year with just marginal updates like improved shuffling! the zune team has spoken with their behavior and its loud and clear.
Indeed, it's rather frustrating - we know they have something coming soon, so I'll be waiting to see what they deliver...but it better be good in a number of ways or the Zune will be a footnote in history.
 
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2007, 10:21 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage View Post
I was hoping for a device with the capacity of the new iPod classic (160GB is awesome!) with the features and screen of the iPod touch.
I suspect that the combination of a device with a hard drive and a big screen + WiFi would be bigger, thicker, and have worse battery life than Apple would want to release right now. That's just a guess though.
 
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  #7  
Old 09-05-2007, 10:29 PM
mgullotta
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Default Did you see the wifi functionality at Starbucks!

Wow! Zune is in big trouble. How could they launch anything right now, unless it is comparable, it is going to seem silly.

The biggest announcement is they totally one up-ed MS on their Wifi with the announcement at starbucks. I guess the only way they can come back is with positioning their zune somewhere above the iPod classic, but below the iPod touch. Thats to show that they have more features than the classic, while maybe not the awesome features of the touch, but with more hard drive capacity. Then price it right.
 
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  #8  
Old 09-05-2007, 10:57 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgullotta View Post
The biggest announcement is they totally one up-ed MS on their Wifi with the announcement at starbucks.
Yeah, you think so? I think that feature is "neat", but I don't think it's anywhere near as killer as the WiFi iTunes store. The Starbucks rollout is REALLY slow...they're going to have it in a couple of cities by the end of 2007, and a few more in 2008, but it doesn't appear to be going wide-spread very quickly (which is puzzling).
 
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  #9  
Old 09-05-2007, 11:07 PM
Chris Gohlke
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And suddenly I have buyers remorse regarding my Zune.

I'm thinking like Rocco, the touch could finally be the small but usable browser you can carry in your pocket.
 
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2007, 11:34 PM
Janak Parekh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
Yeah, you think so? I think that feature is "neat", but I don't think it's anywhere near as killer as the WiFi iTunes store. The Starbucks rollout is REALLY slow...they're going to have it in a couple of cities by the end of 2007, and a few more in 2008, but it doesn't appear to be going wide-spread very quickly (which is puzzling).
It occurred to me that this might be the tip of the iceberg. What if other retailers come to Apple and try to strike the same deal? Apple tends to be closed, so maybe I'm just thinking too far ahead, but it could be big. (Also, I'm guessing Apple/Starbucks need to install special computers/software in the stores to coordinate the music playback.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Gohlke View Post
I'm thinking like Rocco, the touch could finally be the small but usable browser you can carry in your pocket.
As an iPhone owner, I can tell you, Safari is an excellent browser. It's the first browser I have bothered to use extensively on a mobile device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage View Post
I was actually kinda disappointed with the iPod refresh. I was hoping for a device with the capacity of the new iPod classic (160GB is awesome!) with the features and screen of the iPod touch. If they ever make such a device, I'll buy it without hesitation.
Well, as always, Apple left a few holes open. There are quite a few people desiring of an iPod touch-esque device with a hard disk. I suspect the iPod touch/iPhone platform will never go there, as Apple seems to have settled on flash memory for their OS X-based platform. My concern is that Microsoft never quite capitalized on the holes Apple left in their previous lineup, and now Apple has closed a bunch of them, and I don't know if they'll capitalize the few that are left.

Quite frankly, what I don't get is why didn't Microsoft release a Wi-Fi store before now? This is nothing unique nor innovative, but everyone except Sandisk seems to be hanging around waiting for Apple to do it. Why why why?

--janak
 
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