More Zune Details Emerge

Dennis Faas's picture

Recently, Infopackets brought you a few details on the Zune, along with some visuals of the new portable player. And just a few days ago, those wonderful and mischievous sneaks responsible for the underground Zune images are whispering in-depth details about the device's appearance, controls, and features.

We've made it pretty clear in our recent coverage of the Zune that it is Microsoft's upcoming rival to the immensely popular iPod. The Zune has gone through a number of stages, from gaming peripheral with the power to run Xbox software to its current state as a WiFi music player. Still being thrown around is the possiblity of video game playing, but it appears sure that this device will not be running Halo any day soon.

If you checked out our last article on the Zune, you'll have seen the photos of Microsoft's new toy. Although the picture is black and white, the peripheral itself looks much like an iPod. It features controls much like a "wheel", but actually uses four buttons, which this author speculates would probably facilitate games much easier than the rotational pad used by Apple. Many insiders who have seen the device are not impressed, but I doubt few have really thought about the potential use of buttons versus a simple scrolling circle.

According to these same sources, however, the interface uses a black screen with white lettering. Although bland, users can install their own customized wallpapers (a cost, if any, has yet to be determined). Apparently, scrolling through menus is better than what the iPod offers, with larger and clearer alphabetized sections and album displays. (Source:

Of course, Microsoft's early claim to fame with the Zune is the WiFi (wireless internet connection). Allegedly, Microsoft is ready to introduce a "softcore" peer-to-peer program where music files can be shared amongst Zune users for about a day. Other WiFi features may offer a linkup with the Xbox 360, but rumors are that a $100+ accessory will be required to facilitate this (oh, and the $400 console).

Microsoft will be implementing its own iTunes-like store for permanent downloads, and music industry giant EMI has pledged support. (Source:

Finally (for now), we can report that there should be an FM tuner in the Zune, and according to sources, it works well.

The Zune, which is allegedly larger than the 30GB iPod, is tentatively scheduled to ship this holiday season for a very undetermined price. Stay tuned.

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