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Microsoft may clone iPod touch as Zune HD

post #1 of 157
Thread Starter 
Based entirely upon a leak of abstract new marketing graphics from Microsoft, bloggers have announced a new generation of music players that will apparently do most of what the iPod touch did when it arrived in 2007.

The product concept is so deep in vaporware territory that Microsoft hasn't even publicly acknowledged any real plans to clone the iPod touch yet. The marketing graphics below, initially published by Engadget, referred to as a "draft" artist's conception, suggest the same minimalist, single home button as the iPod touch along with a wide screen that is smaller than the iPod touch but housed in a significantly thicker overall box.

This would make the rumored Zune HD device a fitting tribute to the original Zune, which targeted the popularity of the original iPod with a lower-density screen but thicker box a year after the video playing, fifth generation iPod shipped, only to be blindsided by Apple's move to flash RAM-based video players with the iPod nano and shuffle.

The second generation Zunes caught up with a flash-based player just in time to be trampled by the stampede of interest in 2007's video playing iPod nano and the web browsing iPod touch. Microsoft had been able to clone the iPod classic and nano fairly easily, as both used largely off the shelf components and simple software; reviewers reported that the Zune was nearly identical internally to the iPod nano. Copying the iPod touch would take significantly more work, however.



Now two years behind

Last year, Microsoft caught up to Apple's 2006 release of iPod games with its own new mobile XNA initiative in its third generation Zune firmware, although poor sales of Zune units have prevented major developers from showing much interest in the platform.

If Microsoft is able to release a touch-based Zune by the end of this year using either the same technology it showed off for Windows Mobile 6.5 or a simultaneously created alternative, it will remain no more than two years behind Apple. A variant based partly on Windows Mobile would require shipping the functional new version of Internet Explorer Mobile the company announced was in the pipeline for new WiMo 6.5 smartphones.



Microsoft's version of the iPod touch has also long been expected to eventually deliver a full-fledged WiFi music store, similar to the one Apple released in 2007; in 2008, the company updated the Zune with a limited ability to find tracks on the Zune Marketplace. If the Zune HD arrives on the one-year anniversary of last year's Zune update, by September, it will deliver a version of most of Apple's features within that two year copy window, with the notable exception of being able to run the same mobile software.

However, Microsoft already has its own software platform in Windows Mobile. The problem is that all of these programs are oriented around stylus tapping or button pushing, not finger-driven touch. As RIM discovered with the BlackBerry Storm, releasing a touch version of an existing brand is not easy nor without its own risks, as key interface choices at least temporarily diminished the Storm's appeal.

Apple's iPod touch shares a platform with the iPhone, with a user base of 30 million devices sold within the last two years. Selling enough Zune HD and Windows Mobile 6.1 phones to give developers a reason to rewrite mobile apps around a touch interface could be a difficult undertaking, particularly given the already lucrative option of developing for the existing iTunes App Store market, paired with its existing library of apps for consumers.

Vaporware advertising?

With such long odds, Microsoft may be smart to keep its plans secret and allow the blogosphere to build anticipation itself. That's what the company did in 2006, which resulted in the Zune originally being touted as a juggernaut that would destroy the iPod by pundits who speculated that Microsoft would deeply discount the new player as cheaply as $99 and give it more features and flexibility than anything else on the market.

The downside was that Microsoft didn't attempt to meet those expectations. It has consistently priced the Zune and its accessories near Apple's pricing and has regularly had enough earlier inventory left over to clear out through significant discounts. Further, most of its imagined features ended up being underwhelming in ability and scope, such as its wireless file sharing, or "squirting," which was eventually supplemented by basic wireless sync and download features in its second and third years on the market.

While not without risk, allowing fan sites to chat up the Zune HD's potential features will still be far more effective than Microsoft's current efforts to advertise Windows by calling Macs "too cool," "so sexy," and "popular" among kids, while implying that lower quality machines with cheaper components deliver more value.
post #2 of 157
Being dismissive never served Apple very well. It's the main reason why Macs are overpriced and never accounted for more than a 4% world market share.

Going on the offensive with better products would be a far better strategy.


post #3 of 157
posting error
post #4 of 157
It will suck.
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2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
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post #5 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouragan View Post

Being dismissive never served Apple very well. It's the main reason why Macs are overpriced and never accounted for more than a 4% world market share.

Going on the offensive with better products would be a far better strategy.



There's nothing in the article to suggest that Apple is being dismissive, and the history of the iPod/iPhone thus far has been nothing but "going on the offensive with better products."
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #6 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouragan View Post

Being dismissive never served Apple very well.



Except for the last 5 years.

And Apple sells on margin, not volume.

Apple is not after the share of the majority of the market. Just the premium end. Dell customers need not apply.
post #7 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

It will suck.

As in, too little, too late. As per usual with MS.
post #8 of 157
it definitely won't be as good as the iPod touch, because of the App Store mainly, but some other reasons too.

the only thing MS/Zune is doing right is the 14.99/month unlimited music or whatever. Now that is based on the commercial advertisement I saw, so if there is fine print in the deal, you can stratch what i said...but with price raises in iTunes, tell me 15 bucks/month unlimited music isnt just kick ass

plus you always have those people who are going to buy a zune "to be different" but they are tools
post #9 of 157
Well even if Microsoft releases a new Zune that is some what close in resemblance to the iPod Touch that was introduced in 2006, Apple will have released the next iPod touch that is leaps and bounds past anything it has created in the past thus leaving Microsoft in the dust again.

Apple is an innovator and is always focusing on "The next big thing" as where everyone else is always trying to copy Apple and ride on the coat tails of innovation...

Thanks for reading my two cents for the day...
post #10 of 157
Quote:
If Microsoft is able to release a touch-based Zune by the end of this year using either the same technology it showed off for Windows Mobile 6.5 or a simultaneously created alternative, it will remain no more than two years behind Apple

Two years is a long time in the world of technology. What is the point in MS spending their R&D money on dated technology? Do they not think Apple is working on new things in their labs?

I think Apple pretty much has the music player scene cornered. It would be very difficult for a competitor to come up with something significantly better that could steal Apple's market share.

However, there is lots of room in the phone market and MS would be better off investing their efforts there. But of course they won't realize that until two years from now.
post #11 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamisen.sc View Post

it definitely won't be as good as the iPod touch, because of the App Store mainly, but some other reasons too.

the only thing MS/Zune is doing right is the 14.99/month unlimited music or whatever. Now that is based on the commercial advertisement I saw, so if there is fine print in the deal, you can stratch what i said...but with price raises in iTunes, tell me 15 bucks/month unlimited music isnt just kick ass

plus you always have those people who are going to buy a zune "to be different" but they are tools

What's so great about the App Store? Seriously, most of the apps suck. The actual UI is great, but it's hampered by a lack of RAM, a bit of a sluggish OS, and it could stand to have better battery life (I've got a 1g Touch BTW).

And seeing as my 5g iPod died the other (one too many drops), I'm now considering a 120 GB Zune now, as I do not like the Classic iPods at all, and due to Apple's nickel and dime tactics, my perfectly fine FM car adapter does not work with my Touch or the iPod Classics, because of how Apple changed around the dock connector pins. So basically I have to buy a brand new car adapter too.

At least with iTunes Plus, I was able to re-purchase my DRM'd tunes into non-DRM'd tracks.
post #12 of 157
If a company produces a product that has been deemed a failure by the industry and consumers, that product would be discontinued. Remember the Fat Nano or the Cube? MS with it's automatic revenue stream allows them to fail on a product, but can continue to fund it. To the point that they eventually catch up or wear down the competition.
post #13 of 157
Wow, MS copying Apple would be such a new thing for them! The funny thing is, MS has never successfully copied Apple, they would be better off trying to invent something themselves. But then, maybe not. Just stick to making inept copies of Apple products.
post #14 of 157
Don't forget that by the time an MS Touch clone ships (if it ever does), Apple will be selling Touches with the 3.0 OS. Which includes developer access to the dock connector.

This is where leveraging your market share comes in, a strategy MS is well aware of. More iPhones/Touches sold mean more incentive to build new devices that can connect with them means more iPhone/Touches sold. And with dock connected functionality, the world of devices driving sales is set to become a lot larger.

It's a really tough cycle to break into, and no matter what MS comes up with, it's still going to feel like an isolated unit compared to the world of peripherals the iPod is swimming in.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #15 of 157
I hope it will be available in brown
post #16 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouragan View Post

Being dismissive never served Apple very well. It's the main reason why Macs are overpriced and never accounted for more than a 4% world market share.

Going on the offensive with better products would be a far better strategy.



Apple has better products already, and the success of their business over the last several quarters reflects that fact. What was your point exactly?
post #17 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouragan View Post

Being dismissive never served Apple very well. It's the main reason why Macs are overpriced and never accounted for more than a 4% world market share.

Going on the offensive with better products would be a far better strategy.

Since this product is about competition with an iPod shouldn't your statement be...
Quote:
Being dismissive never served Apple very well. It's the main reason why [iPods] are overpriced and never accounted for more than a 4% world market share.

Oh wait, I'd have to change the world market share to something astronomical, which would ruin your argument.
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #18 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

I hope it will be available in brown

Bad colour choice aside, I have to give it to MS for trying something new.


PS: I have reiterate and give credit where it is due, for a non-iPod player the Zune 2.0 software is pretty good PMP.
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post #19 of 157
Melinda and children will not be denied their "iPhones"!
post #20 of 157
It's going to be based on the nVidia Tegra, right?

http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_tegra_apx_us.html

This means it's going to be pretty good graphically, and have good video playback capability, and good battery life..
- could be a reasonably good product

- of course the next gen iPhone & iTouch will also have better graphics & video capability

- so they should end up fairly close, hardware-wise at least.

Apple will still win on software & coolness though!
post #21 of 157
Maybe Apple should do a parody of the Microsoft ads for the iPod
post #22 of 157
Quote:
only to be blindsided by Apple's move to flash RAM-based video players with the iPod nano and shuffle.

Apple should advertise this feature more

iPod nano 5th Gen 8GB Orange, iPad 3rd Gen WiFi 32GB White
MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.66GHz 8GB RAM 120GB Intel 320M
Mac mini Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz 8GB RAM, iPhone 5 32GB Black

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iPod nano 5th Gen 8GB Orange, iPad 3rd Gen WiFi 32GB White
MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.66GHz 8GB RAM 120GB Intel 320M
Mac mini Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz 8GB RAM, iPhone 5 32GB Black

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post #23 of 157
Has anyone ever actually seen a Zune in the wild? Yeah, I didn't think so.
post #24 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

Has anyone ever actually seen a Zune in the wild? Yeah, I didn't think so.

I saw a first gen Zune, I think it was brown, on display at a store. Never seen one since.

iPod nano 5th Gen 8GB Orange, iPad 3rd Gen WiFi 32GB White
MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.66GHz 8GB RAM 120GB Intel 320M
Mac mini Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz 8GB RAM, iPhone 5 32GB Black

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iPod nano 5th Gen 8GB Orange, iPad 3rd Gen WiFi 32GB White
MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.66GHz 8GB RAM 120GB Intel 320M
Mac mini Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz 8GB RAM, iPhone 5 32GB Black

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post #25 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

I saw a first gen Zune, I think it was brown, on display at a store. Never seen one since.

I just saw a brown one yesterday on the bus. It was the first time I'd ever seen one in the wild. It's like spotting a Yeti!
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post #26 of 157
I think it finally got a break when it got this design, if this is actually real. The device itself looks good, but I am not to sure about the software it's going to be carrying. I also thought the Zune OS was a little bit clunky for my taste.

iPod Touch and the iPhone are still king in my opinion and recent statistics prove it by dominating the market. (mp3 player wise)
post #27 of 157
Those first 2 paragraphs are CLASSIC!!!
post #28 of 157
As soon as the iPod Touch gains Push Notifications nothing will stop Apple, i just wish it had a GPS/3G radio so i can go back to Verizon for voice and keep a data plan with AT&T just for my iPod Touch.
post #29 of 157
Bill Gates got so envious when Apple beat him to Xerox that he Xeroxes everything Apple does.
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post #30 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamisen.sc View Post

but with price raises in iTunes, tell me 15 bucks/month unlimited music isnt just kick ass

plus you always have those people who are going to buy a zune "to be different" but they are tools

Subscription based music model has proven to be NOT what a majority of the people want. The prices raises in iTunes are for singles. It won't drive people away, it'll just drive them to buy more albums and be more selective of the the singles they do purchase.

People don't buy Zunes because they want to be different, they buy them because they were either mislead by someone, are anti-iPod, or like Microsoft technology. To do it just to be different would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #31 of 157
try, try, try....but MS will never be as innovative as Apple.

Thats a fact.

One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

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One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

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post #32 of 157
People forget that when the zune came out it had features that no ipod had, that only the iphone and touch recently got.

While the zune marketshare is low, people who have owned ipods and a zune seem to prefer the zune by a very large margin.

I do not own a zune, for the record. But if the accessories were there i'd have no problem buying one.
post #33 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Bill Gates got so envious when Apple beat him to Xerox that he Xeroxes everything Apple does.

Apple didn't beat Bill Gates to Xerox. Microsoft wasn't even in the operating system business at that point in time. All they made were Basic interpreters. Apple was already working on a graphics engine (later to be called QuickDraw) when Steve Jobs took their engineers to Xerox. Mainly to pick the PARC engineer's brains (and hire away some of them to Apple) and see demonstrations of the technologies they were tinkering with. A lot of people like to think Apple stole the Mac interface from Xerox when that isn't true at all ... Apple got the idea of using their graphics engine to build a graphical user interface and using a pointer/mouse as an input device rather than a keyboard. (Although a few interface elements were borrowed, probably due to the fact that some of the PARC engineers ended up working at Apple; icons, pop-up menus.)
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #34 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

Apple didn't beat Bill Gates to Xerox. Microsoft wasn't even in the operating system business at that point in time. All they made were Basic interpreters. Apple was already working on a graphics engine (later to be called QuickDraw) when Steve Jobs took their engineers to Xerox. Mainly to pick the PARC engineer's brains (and hire away some of them to Apple) and see demonstrations of the technologies they were tinkering with. A lot of people like to think Apple stole the Mac interface from Xerox when that isn't true at all ... Apple got the idea of using their graphics engine to build a graphical user interface and using a pointer/mouse as an input device rather than a keyboard. (Although a few interface elements were borrowed, probably due to the fact that some of the PARC engineers ended up working at Apple; icons, pop-up menus.)

Yeah, Apple paid Xerox $1,000,000 worth of Apple stock for the technology. Saw it on Pirates of Silicon Valley. When SJ found out about Windows and confronted Bill Gates, Gates lashed out saying that all SJ did was beat him to it.
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post #35 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Yeah, Apple paid Xerox $1,000,000 worth of Apple stock for the technology. Saw it on Pirates of Silicon Valley. When SJ found out about Windows and confronted Bill Gates, Gates lashed out saying that all SJ did was beat him to it.

It has been stated by several people who were actually around at the time, that "The Pirates of Silicon Valley", while possessing fairly accurate personalties of the people involved, did not portray events very accurately.

It has been said that Apple did give Xerox a bunch of Apple stock, but I'm not 100% sure about that. Steve Jobs was however a shareholder of Xerox at the time and that's how he got access to the PARC engineers.

I never saw the movie, but Microsoft didn't create Windows in a vacuum; they had special early access to the Macintosh and the API's, because Steve Jobs asked them to create an office suite, so that the Mac, when released, would be a viable office computer. Steve Jobs got upset because Microsoft took a lot of those API's and started to build their own knock off the Mac GUI. If you were a programmer in the mid to late 80's and got to see references to both Window's API's and the Mac's, you could clearly see that Microsoft pretty much copied verbatim the Mac's API's. The function calls had slight name changes here and there, but the parameters were all pretty much the same. Of course, Microsoft's implementation of those calls was absolutely horrid; in the original release of Windows, the windows couldn't even overlap!

I was a hobbyist Mac programmer back then and when I got my hands on Windows programming reference book the first time, I couldn't believe how familiar ALL the calls were. I was able to match the functions 1 for 1 with functions in the Mac's API, including the data structures. I was amazed.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #36 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

It has been stated by several people who were actually around at the time, that "The Pirates of Silicon Valley", while possessing fairly accurate personalties of the people involved, did not portray events very accurately.

I guess the best thing to do is to watch it for yourself and make your own conclusion, many of the things you stated are summarized in the movie.
Being a shareholder or a board member does not allow you access to engineers.
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post #37 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness View Post

What's so great about the App Store? Seriously, most of the apps suck. The actual UI is great, but it's hampered by a lack of RAM, a bit of a sluggish OS, and it could stand to have better battery life (I've got a 1g Touch BTW).

A tiny bit out of 20,000 apps is still a lot of apps.

There was a study a few months ago that showed that people on average don't use more than 5-6 apps on their PC's which have an infinite number of apps. All a user needs is to find those 5-6 apps that makes life extremely easy for them. They don't need all 20,000 to be of amazing quality.
post #38 of 157
The only way that Microsoft could compete against Apple at this point is to figure out a way to leverage its very successful XBOX 360 platform with their Zune platform...
post #39 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

Has anyone ever actually seen a Zune in the wild? Yeah, I didn't think so.

I teach out in the Seattle area and I rarely see Zunes except for the kids that have parents that work for Microsoft. I do think the UI for Zune (2.0) actually looks better than the iPod Classic UI, but since I have purchased the iPhone, neither interface looks very impressive to me.

Here is what I usually see at our school:
MOST POPULAR BY FAR - iPod Nano - so many of these, it's incredible
iPod Classic - not so much since the iPod Touch came out. Mostly older generations. I imagine apple is going to can this one in about a year.
iPod Touch - these numbers increase all the time. The browser and schools starting to add wi-fi have made this one very useful for students. You can find out something without having to run to the computer lab.
iPhone - I see a lot of 1st generation iPhones popping up. I just assume Dad bought the new one and gave the old one to their son or daughter.
iPod Shuffles and Zunes - I see about the equal number of these. It's kind of sad because I think PMPs have definitely become a social status thing, so a lot of kids that don't have the cutting edge technology seem to try and hide them. I think that's why I rarely see Zunes or shuffles out in the open. I may just not see the Shuffle because there is no need to take it out of their pockets. Who knows/cares.

I definitely have not seen a new shuffle in the wild, but it's practically invisible.
post #40 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder View Post

I just saw a brown one yesterday on the bus. It was the first time I'd ever seen one in the wild. It's like spotting a Yeti!

Oh, THE HORROR! THE HORR0R!

Did you at least offer to "recycle" it for them?
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