Of course the best part about competition is that Apple will respond to all of these issues in future releases. The entire portable media player space just got a lot more serious now that Microsoft is so serious about the portable media player space.
But here they are – Zune got ‘em and iPod don’t. There are more, it's just that seven seems to work in pieces like these.
Podcast as top-level entry. It always bugged me that Podcasts were a “category” in music (or video) in the iPod. That was just so wrong on so many levels that it is great to see that cleaned up. Don’t get me wrong, I have music and Podcasts on my Zune - there is just a time and place for everything (and now they both have their place).
Bonus – I can now shuffle music content and not worry that an episode of the Bitterest Pill will show up in the mix.
Wireless sync. I love people with $300+ media center docking stations for their iPod who still have to disconnect and move their iPod every time they want new content on their player. Us Zune types don’t now. It is 2007 and it’s time to let wireless do what it was meant to do.
Bonus – Park your car in the garage and hit a quick sync on your Zune. You’ll have the latest stuff when you pull out for your next errand. Podcast sync just grew up.
Wireless sharing. There is a point to this that is obviously moot unless there is another Zune owner in the room but Microsoft’s focus will keep that from becoming a problem soon. Now I can really check out why Jacket Brown is so into CSS.
Bonus – Next trend in viral marketing for new media content? You read it here first.
Subscription music. This has always been a killer app for portable media players but implementation has always been sub-par. That changes with the new Zune.
Bonus – mix wireless sharing with subscription music and their online social network and we might just see that “future of music” we kept hearing/reading about.
Xbox integration. Xbox’s market share is impressive. Being able to both plug your Zune into an Xbox and being able to stream subscription music and Podcasts to your Xbox not only makes the Apple TV concept a little silly but give you a great excuse to own a Gears of War machine.
Bonus – Once you start consuming media through your Xbox (minus Halo of course), you’ll start investigating other cool elements that Apple ain’t got either (like Vongo and Amazon Unbox).
Free upgrade. When has Apple ever added something new to the iPod and helped a previous owner upgrade at no charge? I pray this is the future of the portable media player.
Bonus – Closeout 30 gig Zunes and a generous 3-device allowance on the Zune software means you’re going to quickly see multi-Zune families.
Radio. I seldom listen to radio but found myself in the gym watching a news clip on the monitor that caught me eye. They do that broadcast the audio on FM thing so I switched over quickly, got my fix and went from there. 3 minutes of usage total – but it was nice to have.
Bonus – We live in crazy world where a radio nearby is never a bad thing. Usage will continue to plummet but having that option in the case of an emergency is a comfort (and a reason to hawk your “other” radios on eBay.
It’s been awhile (long time?) since I’ve been thrilled with a Microsoft product.
I’ve always love my iPods and thank Jobs for letting us strap a jukebox to our belt. But, there is a new game in town that has just kicked things up a very serious notch.
from Zune Luv