The War Is On! More Details on Zune vs. iPod

Dennis Faas's picture

As previously noted, Microsoft officially confirmed the existence of its own competitor to Apple's successful iPod portable music machine, Zune, after months of rumors and speculation.

One of Microsoft's big features for Zune is reportedly the ability to download music and videos wirelessly. (Source:

That means you wouldn't first need to download the music to your PC, and then transfer it to your player. This gives Zune a true "on the go" feel. If the speculation proves accurate, the Zune player could detect what music is on other people's players nearby and automatically download songs that fit your programmed tastes. However, because of piracy issues, it seems likely that music acquired wirelessly will be deleted from your system once the other user moves out of range. (Source:

Not everyone is singing the praises of Zune's purported wireless capabilities, though.

Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg called the feature a "nonissue" in Microsoft's attempts to compete with the iPod. "It's something that the geeks are into," he continued, "but Wi-Fi isn't mainstream or ubiquitous enough to affect the masses." (Source:

Gartenberg is skeptical about Microsoft's prospects in general:

"Creating a lifestyle device, Microsoft is clearly going to face a battle here," he said. "It's going to be hard for them to create the same level of cachet that Apple has with the iPod." (Source:

Wired writer Eliot Van Buskirk goes once step further, calling Microsoft's entry into the marketplace "doomed."

According to Buskirk, Microsoft is supposedly planning to offer music at varying prices rather than adhere to the $1 flat rate industry standard established by Apple's iTunes store. The Wired writer also remarked (rather humorously) that Zune will quickly be nicknamed the "iClod" because of "Microsoft's typically tone deaf approach to usability." (Source:

Speaking of "tone deaf," will Zune play more than just music?

J Allard, Vice President of Microsoft's Xbox division, is involved in the Zune project. This has led to gossip that the device might also double as a video game player. (Source:

Of course, Apple won't be taking any of this lying down. The company has patented a "proximity detector" technology.

What that means: You can control the device without having to actually touch it. For example, if an object -- such as your finger -- comes near the player, a virtual scroll wheel, navigation pad, or virtual keypad will appear on the screen. (Source:

Proximity detection is expected to make its way into the next generation of iPods.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet