Size, bigger will prove to be better
So much has been made about Zune's "chunky" size. I asked myself why didn't Microsoft make Zune thinner? They certainly could have. Apple has no design abilities that are beyond Microsoft's grasp. Then I decided it is bigger because there is a whole lot more there. Sure the bigger screen and the WiFi along with extra battery capacity needed to keep run times on par with Apple do take some room. We can dismiss the FM radio as a space hog. What the Zune has is a lot more RAM and more processor horsepower then any MP3 player needs. I'll bet on it. If you have seen the videos of the UI in action or played with Zune you know its fast, responsive, has transition graphics, and smooth video playback.
Now with that said lets review what Microsoft has stated. They wanted to keep Zune as simple as possible coming out of the gate. They wanted customer feedback and act on that feedback. They promised firmware upgrades. They had not finalized all of the contracts with Music labels prior to release to manufacturing which means they had to be conservative about music sharing rules. (Its easy to loosen the rules later then tighten them up.)
Some have said the WiFi in Zune will be a social experiment. True. No one knows where it will lead. But you can't follow the social lead if you don't have the hardware platform to take you there. The Music industry wet their pants when they were told that soon the consumer could hear a tune WiFi-ed by their buddy then buy it minutes later via a WiFi hot spot connection: the ultimate distribution channel. But that is too big of a leap out of the gate. Technology moves fast, people don't, relatively speaking. Couple that with the fact that you can't in 6 months say "Sorry, please buy Zune II, we want to add a feature and the Zune you just bought can't cut it". So what did Microsoft do, they built a platform for the future, in typical Microsoft fashion. A chunky thing with a big engine. Something they could write more software for.
I will bet that you will see several firmware updates that will keep adding new features. All the stuff we are complaining about today will be addressed. Within a year, you will be able to access your PC wirelessly from Zune. Image walking down the street and having access to over 2 million tunes on demand. We will see Zune MarketPlace Mobile, games, and so much more. All this because the horsepower is there.
Sure size matters but that big chunky Zune will prove bigger is better.