or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Briefly: Reflections on some time spent with Zune
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Briefly: Reflections on some time spent with Zune

post #1 of 114
Thread Starter 
After having run smack into a Zune beta tester, one AppleInsider correspondent recently had the opportunity to toy with a pre-production unit of the much-hyped iPod rival.

Though the correspondent's session ended abruptly (with the Zune's battery running out of juice), he found the device to be a viable attempt at the iPod with some glaring pitfalls.

Some key take-aways from the hands-on session with Zune follow:

Operating System: The primary Zune menu includes "Music," "Video," "Photos," a few other typical options, and "Community."* Under "Community," there is a submenu with several of options, including one for nearby Zunes (and it appears as if users can also exchange messages with nearby Zune users).*

The Zune's software interface is laid out in such a way that it prompts the user to make a selection from a vertically listed main menu. It then displays a horizontal menu across the top of the screen, which comes off as "a bit clunky."

Mechanics: Zune's circle navigational mechanism is only responsive to clicks and is not scrollable (because Microsoft does not hold the patent on such functionality). *"While my fingers intuitively wanted to scroll, I kept having to click up/down/right/left and found this frustrating," the correspondent said.

Battery: According to the tester provided with the Zune, its battery*is far less robust than the iPod's. However, Microsoft has reportedly vouched to make improvements to this area in future versions of the device. Ironically, the battery died during the correspondent's hands-on session.

Casing: The Zune -- at least in pre-production form -- is enclosed by a "sort of hard rubber (not quite plastic) material" that appears to be somewhat durable.* "However, the whole unit was rather thick in my opinion; certainly thicker than our latest iPods," the correspondent said.

Marketing: Finally, it appears that Microsoft is attempting to swipe a page from Apple's marketing prowess -- on the rear of each Zune, in small inscription on the bottom next to the serial number, is a message: "Hello from Seattle."

Zune, which comes with 30GB of storage, will retail for $249.99 (about 99 cents more than the iPod) when it goes on sale Nov. 14. Similarly, songs will be available for download from Microsoft's Zune Marketplace service for about 99 cents a song, on par with prices at Apple's iTunes.

Although the iPod rival is somewhat bulky and lacking in appeal, analysts believe it is likely to see "some modest success" due to Microsoft's vast resources and its willingness to take a loss with each unit it sells. It's estimated the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant will incur an approximate $50 operating loss on each Zune.

Sources in the far east have indicated that Microsoft hopes to sell as many as 3 million of the devices between Nov. 14 and the time Christmas rolls around in late December.
post #2 of 114
Holi scroll-wheeli!

Not interested...
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
Reply
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
Reply
post #3 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

Sources in the far east have indicated that Microsoft hopes to sell as many as 3 million of the devices between Nov. 14 and the time Christmas rolls around in late December.

3million??

post #4 of 114
3 million seems pretty damn optimistic, even if they're able to pull out a sharp, pervasive (and incredibly expensive) ad campaign.

A million or less sounds far more realistic (assuming they sort out the battery issue). I'm sure there's people out there eager to buy anything but an iPod, but that's not going to be a large number... especially with this 1G model.
post #5 of 114
In other words, they're hoping to lose $150 million by Christmas
post #6 of 114
^^^ Exactly.

They're set to lose far more than the operating loss per Zune, of course. There's also the R&D... plus the tens (hundreds?) of millions for the advertising/marketing campaign. It's really quite stunning.
post #7 of 114
In other news: If those very recent rumors about the True Video iPod due any day now are true, then don't expect Microsoft to have the gadget in every kids and adults dreams this Christmas.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #8 of 114
They should call Zune, Poon. That way, the geeks that'll actually buy this crap can try to get "some" via Zune's Community function.
I always have the right answers; you just sometimes ask the wrong questions.
Reply
I always have the right answers; you just sometimes ask the wrong questions.
Reply
post #9 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbes

They're set to lose far more than the operating loss per Zune, of course. There's also the R&D... plus the tens (hundreds?) of millions for the advertising/marketing campaign.

I believe that "operating loss" includes R&D, and possibly marketing. The operating loss is only an estimate because the precise loss per unit depends on how many units they sell.

It's along the lines of the fact that whilst the iPod's parts cost about 50% of the retail price, Apple's "operating margin" is around 10%.
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
post #10 of 114
Ah, I see. That's a little less insane, at least.
post #11 of 114
why all the fuss about zune? this should be the one people are talking about!

post #12 of 114
How about no.
post #13 of 114
It's the lack of attention to detail that gets me about Microsoft products.

I have a Windows Mobile 5.0 based phone and while it seems nice on the surface, once you actually start using it, it's like someone hitting your thumb with a hammer when you want to do something.

Little things like the fact they have white text, but have a default background which has a very light blue patch up where the time is displayed, so it's hard to read. A philosophy that requires 10 "wizard style" dialogs where 3 taps would suffice, the way Palm OS did it when they were still viable.

I can imagine the Zune's similar: flashy in the shop, but a pain after a few weeks of use.

Of course, looking flashy in the shop will help them sell.
post #14 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catman4d2

why all the fuss about zune? this should be the one people are talking about!


Personally i like the Rover Tv except for the whole flash card memory.... Apple let us down at this last keynote as far as the main iPod goes. We all wanted and thought we were getting horizontal iPod with on screen click wheel. Instead we got a larger size (which is nice) and a brighter screen. A let down if you ask me.
post #15 of 114
"Hello from Seattle."

Gotta give it to them: That's freakin' cute!

I saw this thing and it's not horrible. It's no iPod, but it's definitely not horrible. I actually dig the brown (though I think it'd look much better as a brushed aluminum case instead of... whatever it's made of.)

It's pretty polarizing, though. You either love it or hate it.

post #16 of 114
I wouldn't take the Zune too lightly, Apple made that mistake before and it almost cost them everything. I have to admit the free downloads for songs you bought from iTunes deal kinda scares me.
post #17 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig

I wouldn't take the Zune too lightly, Apple made that mistake before and it almost cost them everything. I have to admit the free downloads for songs you bought from iTunes deal kinda scares me.


I thought that was a hoax.
post #18 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig

I wouldn't take the Zune too lightly, Apple made that mistake before and it almost cost them everything.

Where did Apple make such a mistake before? With the Macintosh? Are you implying that the Macintosh, or the Apple II, had a dominating market position like the iPod does now? Because*they never did.
post #19 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawhead

I thought that was a hoax.

It was a rumor-turned-alleged-fact. So, yeah, pretty much a hoax.
post #20 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catman4d2

why all the fuss about zune? this should be the one people are talking about!


It looks like a stripped down PSP.
post #21 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig

I wouldn't take the Zune too lightly, Apple made that mistake before and it almost cost them everything. I have to admit the free downloads for songs you bought from iTunes deal kinda scares me.

That was a totally unfounded rumor, from my understanding.
A good brain ain't diddly if you don't have the facts
Reply
A good brain ain't diddly if you don't have the facts
Reply
post #22 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder

That was a totally unfounded rumor, from my understanding.

I'll see your unfounded rumor and raise you some random wienie that just made stuff up to get hits, and a blogoverse that, as is too often the case, couldn't see how dumb of an idea that was.
post #23 of 114
>> Ironically, the battery died during the correspondent's hands-on session

Says nothing without knowing what it was the tester was doing, and for how long.

>> about 99 cents more than the iPod

Why do you keep saying "about 99 cents" when its exactly 99 cents?
post #24 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbes

^^^ Exactly.

They're set to lose far more than the operating loss per Zune, of course. There's also the R&D... plus the tens (hundreds?) of millions for the advertising/marketing campaign. It's really quite stunning.

R&D? They left that to Toshiba... This is afterall, just a re-packaged Toshiba gigabeat.
post #25 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucker

Where did Apple make such a mistake before? With the Macintosh? Are you implying that the Macintosh, or the Apple II, had a dominating market position like the iPod does now? Because*they never did.

They did before windows. Microsoft saw an opening to take a Macintosh style GUI and run it on top of DOS and now 95% of world runs windows.
post #26 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig

They did before windows. Microsoft saw an opening to take a Macintosh style GUI and run it on top of DOS and now 95% of world runs windows.

The Macintosh never had a dominant share before or after Windows.

Apple II had a dominant marketshare, for maybe a year or two, before being swamped by cheaper PCs like the Commodore.

Apple has already passed the point: we've already seen lots of other MP3 players, and none have succeeded. Apple has never been in this position before in any market.
post #27 of 114
I agree. - if the true video iPod makes it's debut before the holiday shopping season is in full swing, then the Zune will be lucky to sell half a million units.

Though, given MS's history, they will swallow the loss, and come out with another, slightly better, loss leader next year. In 4 or 5 years they will lose a billion or two but have a compelling product that will give the iPod some real competition.

Microsoft will engage in several anti-competive strategies which will hurt Apple and consumers even more, for which they will eventually receive a slap on the wrist some 5 years later.

Oh yeah, and we'll each get a $40 credit towards something. Meanwhile, the portable player manufacturers will be laid to waste. Only Sony and Microsoft will be around to pick up the peices.

But before that happens Apple will make some really great players. Let's enjoy it while we can.

10 years from now, the portable player market will slowly regain its creativity as people open source hack their phones to do some cool stuff. Microsoft and Sony will cherry pick the best ideas to incorporate into their products for the masses.

PLEASE Apple, prove me wrong....
post #28 of 114
LMFAO....



GTFOHWTBS!

LOL
jtblq = jetblack in Ascarian
Reply
jtblq = jetblack in Ascarian
Reply
post #29 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregmightdothat

The Macintosh never had a dominant share before or after Windows.

Correct.

Quote:
Apple II had a dominant marketshare, for maybe a year or two, before being swamped by cheaper PCs like the Commodore.

No, it never did.

Apple never had a market share above 20% with any, any of their personal computers.
post #30 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig

I wouldn't take the Zune too lightly, Apple made that mistake before and it almost cost them everything. I have to admit the free downloads for songs you bought from iTunes deal kinda scares me.

They aren't doing that.
post #31 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucker

Correct.



No, it never did.

Apple never had a market share above 20% with any, any of their personal computers.

They did in business before IBM came out with the PC.

In fact, it was the Apple II that caused IBM to come up with the PC.
post #32 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater

The mistake would be thinking MS actually has to make money off this right now, they don't, unlike Apple.

Apple needs to make money off ipods all MS cares about is getting into the market right now remember for them this is a gen 1 they have plenty of time to build on this and make mods.

Unlike Apple, MS can use Dell, HP, Sony, Gateway, Toshiba and many others that load their systems with bloatware to keep costs down, just add another vendor next you will see 100 dollar rebates on Zunes when you buy from Dell or HP, or 100 free downloads when you buy a Zune.

A good example in another arena is Sony PS3 799.00, for those with an Xbox 360 or considering one you can add an external HD drive for 179.00.

By the time MS hits gen 3 this game will be at the very least even.

Apple has a strong hold because they were the only true player in the game you can't consider Creative Labs a true player or Rio they have to make money on the primary product, MS does not.

Microsoft unlike Apple understands they are a software company anything else they do is to gain access into the market at first and slowly gain market share like they did with the Xbox.

MS is going to hit Apple from every angle. In 2007/2008 Office for Mac will not support VB this will hit into the business market. Vista will not support EFI that kills running Vista and OSX in a native enviroment. Next was to hit Apple on their only strong point the ipod. Like the Xbox I see this as a three year plan.

The mistake is Steve Jobs always loses to Bill Gates yet he hasn't learned from history.

The PS3 isn't $799, it's more like $599.

VB is going away in the PC world as well. MS is depreciating it. Two years from now, and by by.

Vista will support EFF, but not in the beginning. MS has stated that already.
post #33 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater

MS is going to hit Apple from every angle. In 2007/2008 Office for Mac will not support VB this will hit into the business market. Vista will not support EFI that kills running Vista and OSX in a native enviroment. Next was to hit Apple on their only strong point the ipod. Like the Xbox I see this as a three year plan.

I agree that the 1G Zune is only first (and rather clumsy, IMO) step in a much larger plan over many years, but your examples don't add up. Not supporting VB is a difficult decision the MacBU had to make with the Intel transition (VB is basically being depreciated anyway). And Macs using Boot Camp or Parallels will run Vista perfectly fine -- EFI has little to do with anything.

Honestly, I don't see what MS could done besides Zune -- Plays for Sure sure wasn't working, and Apple is being increasingly powerful in owning the standards in digital media. Not just music, but edging their way into video and movies. This is a huge area of contention -- not something MS can afford to give up.... if they want to stay dominant (or even relevant!) in the consumer space.

What happens next, though. is very much up in the air. Currently, it's Apple's game to lose.
post #34 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

They did in business before IBM came out with the PC.

In fact, it was the Apple II that caused IBM to come up with the PC.

You're forgetting about competitors such as Commodore and Sinclair.
post #35 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater

The mistake would be thinking MS actually has to make money off this right now, they don't, unlike Apple.

What leads you to believe that Apple doesn't know this?

Quote:
Apple has a strong hold because they were the only true player in the game you can't consider Creative Labs a true player or Rio they have to make money on the primary product, MS does not.

So why were Creative Labs and Rio not "true players in the game", exactly?

Quote:
Vista will not support EFI that kills running Vista and OSX in a native enviroment.

Oh, you mean like XP doesn't support EFI yet runs on Macs just fine? Natively?
post #36 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucker

You're forgetting about competitors such as Commodore and Sinclair.

Not in business.

While I can't ever spell his name, the president of IBM's old PC division (Starts with a "C", Cavanarro, or something ) wrote a book about how IBM started the PC business.

In it, he stated that it was IBM salesmen coming across Apple II's in offices of their mainframe ind minicomputer clients that gave them the incentive to start their own PC business.

Commodore was never a business threat, and Sinclair, well, that was cute, but certainly no "real" computer.
post #37 of 114
So, a couple of things are clear:

--The history of Apple's OS market share does not tell us anything about the future of Apple's portable media player market share. The idea that a proprietary DRM somehow repeats the "mistake" of a proprietary OS takes no account of the huge differences in Apple's position in the MP3 player/media download business now and its position in the computer world then.

--The history of MS's forays into new markets tell us nothing about the likelihood of its success with the Zune. They succeeded with IE because they could simply make it the default browser on the vast majority of computers sold. They succeeded with the XBox (to an extant) because they could afford to buy the titles that would make it desirable, and sell it at a loss until installed user base growth made games a revenue source.

What else? There's kind of a myth that MS "always" enters a market with a mediocre offering but has the deep pockets to keep plugging away until by version 3 or 4 its good enough to be competitive. But what are the examples of that, beyond Windows itself, IE and the XBox? That's not much of a track record, and you could also look at all the things that never really went anywhere, like MSN or WebTV/MSNTV.

I don't think that it's at all a forgone conclusion that MS will keep improving the Zune over a number of iterations until it's a "threat" to the iPod. They get a lot of things wrong at first, and keep them wrong over the long haul.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #38 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

Not in business.

While I can't ever spell his name, the president of IBM's old PC division (Starts with a "C", Cavanarro, or something ) wrote a book about how IBM started the PC business.

In it, he stated that it was IBM salesmen coming across Apple II's in offices of their mainframe ind minicomputer clients that gave them the incentive to start their own PC business.

Commodore was never a business threat, and Sinclair, well, that was cute, but certainly no "real" computer.

Yeah, but was there any year at all where Apple was seen as having a stronghold? Fine, before the PC market existed*as a market at all, obviously Apple virtually owned it, but that's a little silly.

Arguments such as "If Apple had licensed the Macintosh, they would have retained their high market share" are made a lot, but the Macintosh never had much market share to begin with. Arguments such as "If the Macintosh hadn't competed with Apple's own Apple II, which was completely incompatible, Apple could have transitioned the Apple II's success over to the Macintosh" are a lot more intelligent. But even the Apple II, before the Macintosh was introduced, did not, to my knowledge, have a market share anywhere close to even being a majority, let alone a dominant one.

So my original point was, and still is: Apple was never at this point before. The iPod's success is not "history repeating itself", because, while certainly successful, the Apple II never had such an extremely huge market share. So to argue that they're repeating past mistakes is doubly false, because, not only do we know nothing about their strategy regarding Zune (and analyzing it only starts becoming useful once the Zune actually ships), but there is no "repetition" at all.

Arguably, Apple should have added some sort of compatibility layer to the Macintosh, or perhaps done what they later did with the IIgs. Instead, they took the huge risk (and didn't do particularly well at it) of creating a wholly new, incompatible, closed system.

The iPod is yet another wholly new, incompatible and closed system, but it's hugely successful. That's quite a difference.
post #39 of 114
3 million in 1.5 months...

I was an early adopter back in the summer of 2004 with my 4G iPod 40Gb.
Apple sold 4 million iPods in 2.5 years.
alles sal reg kom
Reply
alles sal reg kom
Reply
post #40 of 114
Come on, this article is a load of crap. "Photo, Music, Video and Community" Menus? "No scroll wheel because Microsoft doesn't have patents", "Sources in the Far East", "Not Quite Plastic", and other winning lines make this one a real stinker.

Congratulations on possibly the most vague "Insider report" to come along in quite a while. Was the correspondent blind and wearing thick wool gloves? I mean, really, if you actually held the unit in your hand and used it, couldn't you come up with a slightly more detailed report on it? This reads like some of the Zune rumors we saw about 6 months ago... And the bit about the battery is a nice touch, fanboy.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Briefly: Reflections on some time spent with Zune