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Microsoft Zune MP3 Player Interface Revealed

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the monkey-see-monkey-try dept.

356

bain writes to tell us that iLounge has put up details on the Zune, Microsoft's MP3 player. According to the article, "Zune is a bit bigger than a standard 30GB iPod, and apparently made entirely of plastic." Interestingly, Microsoft forgoes a touch-sensitive scrollwheel in favor of wheel-shaped buttons. Included are WiFi capabilities, an FM tuner, and (in stark contrast to the iPod) a white-on-black color scheme. The 30GB model is expected to sell for $300. This story selected and edited by LinuxWorld editor for the day Saied Pinto.

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356 comments

The one thing missing (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932294)

The one thing missing for Microsoft, is panache. There's nothing hip or cool aboug having some music device from a giant corporation. Without that certain cachet of having something from a company which makes very stylish computers and operating systems and got U2 on board.

It could say Ronco on it for all the Microsoft connection will be good for. It'll sell to some who want to experiment beyond the bounds of iPodness, but with that plastic case and wheel-like buttons it says WalMart-chic all over it.

Of course, we can't discount the notion that Microsoft might further piss-off the EU and risk a severe look from US trustbusters, by bundling some shit into Windows Vista which only works with the Zune and means you have to have one to get those Zune-casts...

Smells like another waste of money from a company that just doesn't understand that they are only profitable at a few things and should stop this kind of nonsense. FFS, who are they trying to be, the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation? [wikipedia.org]

Re:The one thing missing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932340)

hi, can you tell me which drugs you're currently taking? I really want to live in a dilusional state of mind and you seem like you've already accomplished this..

Re:high (3, Funny)

Lord Prox (521892) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932613)

I believe he may be snorting lines of PHP. I dunno, but it kinda looks like it. Look at how big this "first post" was, sumthin's up with that.
Just ain't normal for a FP




Bless Linus [i-bless.com]

No Marketing versus Established Product Line (2, Interesting)

broward (416376) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932365)

There's no buzz about Zune. Microsoft will need a significant and unique advertising campaign to make this thing sell.

http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme?entry =apple_ipod_vs_microsoft_zune [realmeme.com]

Re:No Marketing versus Established Product Line (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932388)

There's no buzz about Zune. Microsoft will need a significant and unique advertising campaign to make this thing sell.

So .. Rolling Stones again?

you make a grown man cryyyy...

They'll get 100% of the market, all right. (5, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932397)

Well, this has further cemented my opinion that while the Zune certainly would make me very, very afraid if I were the CEO of Creative, I'm not sure that it would have me shaking in my boots if I was in Steve Jobs' position.

I think it stands a chance of being clearly superior to all the other iPod wannabes, and basically wipe up their market-share and send them into some other line of work, particularly because of the WiFi feature, but there's just nothing compelling about it that would displace the iPod.

I have no doubt that Microsoft will capture close to 100% of the market: but the "market" for this device is "MP3 players other than iPods."

Re:They'll get 100% of the market, all right. (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932415)

I have no doubt that Microsoft will capture close to 100% of the market: but the "market" for this device is "MP3 players other than iPods."

Actually, they won't have the cellphone-mp3 player, PSP/other portable video game-mp3 player or cheep mp3 player market, either. They aren't simply a late entry into THE market, they're a late entry into a NICHE

Re:They'll get 100% of the market, all right. (5, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932654)

I have no doubt that Microsoft will capture close to 100% of the market: but the "market" for this device is "MP3 players other than iPods."

In ten years that will be virtually the entire market. There will be a few hundred makers and they'll be so cheap they'll be selling them in drug stores at the counter for pocket change.

Whoever controls the codec wins.

KFG

Re:They'll get 100% of the market, all right. (4, Insightful)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932662)

Hopefully, DRM will become a higher & higher bullet point item on big-name reviewers' bullet point lists. If that happens, let the most unencumbered player win, and you can bet that won't be Microsoft's.

(Although, I wonder what the economic impact will be for the explosion of new sites devoted to Zune hacking....)

Re:The one thing missing (4, Funny)

arodland (127775) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932408)

There's nothing hip or cool aboug having some music device from a giant corporation.

Some day we'll teach the Apple folks this lesson.

Re:The one thing missing (4, Insightful)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932629)

I think he was more referring to the image of being a giant corporation.

But you're right, Apple has perpretrated a pretty impressive deception. In fact, it is the ultimate marketing coup : a multi-billion dollar company masquerading as a marginalized, under-appreciated underdog. It works quite well - how else to get the too-cool-for-school, indie, emo, anti-conformist crowd to buy their mass-media-oriented, incredibly trendy device? I'm starting to think all those years of stagnant sales, bad management, and being tethered to a virtually ignored platform are paying off. That's what fostered this image. It's a text-book case study on how to form a brand.

Moreover, this is a winning attitude that we see everywhere. After all, it's how people get elected, too. Make people think you are a little guy, fighting against a greater, unflagging, oppressive evil - even if you are the Man - and not only do they let their guard down, they're on your side almost immediately(witness: the bombastic "Star Wars" take-off the Republicans did at one of their conventions, framing the Democrats as the dark Imperial forces and themselves as the Rebel Alliance. Or the multi-millionaire cable executive Ned Lamont in the recent Democratic primary. )

They won't be able to keep up this facade forever. For almost a year now, everywhere I turn I see an iPod. Even though I myself own one, it's starting to make me resentful. Do people have to be entertained every minute of the day? How much of our life are we willing to spend on distractions?

Apple has to be weary of becoming disconnected - of pitching products *at* people rather than *to* people. Microsoft does the former, especially with Xbox and Zune. They are obviously grasping at markets they have no business being near. I think Apple is less evil, though - or maybe not, judging by the recent accounting scandal. Anyway, Apple doesn't want to go that route. Of course Jobs and his marketing department have mastered the art of the opposite - making people think that Apple furthers their individualism and self-expression, their person-hood. Apple's ads talk to you as people instead of as commodities. They've even gone so far as to anthropomorphize computers, as if to emphasize(or invent) the humanity sequestered in all this sterile circuitry. You're getting a friend, not just a tool. It's aesthetic genius - all geared towards delivering another channel for the mainstream recording industry to reach you with their over-produced crap. So I doubt Apple's music-player monopoly will go away unless some court or legislation tears down their partial vertical integration with ITMS.

Have they sold out? Is this something we want to preserve even if it is deceptive? Maybe. I have no problem with big corporations as long as they don't start unduly influencing our public policies. I do however like it when gigantic corporations see the importance of talking to their customers as if they were human beings and not wallets - or at least pretending to. Google does this. Apple does this. It's great - but we mustn't let our guard down. If it's not too late.

Re:The one thing missing (0, Troll)

bi_boy (630968) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932520)

There's nothing hip or cool about having some music device from a giant corporation.

You do realise what a trendy douchebag you made yourself sound like right?

Re:The one thing missing (0)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932543)

>There's nothing hip or cool aboug having some music device from a giant corporation.

Because Apple is just a humble ma and pa shop down the road...

>it says WalMart-chic all over it.

Well, it should say "cheaper than an ipod" and "works with windows media player." It will also probably say "discounted when bundled with a new dell." You'd be surprised at the number of people whose first priority isnt "looking cool."

Frankly, the more competition the better in the mp3 player market, even if it is Redmond.

Re:The one thing missing (1)

AngryDill (740460) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932555)

There's nothing hip or cool aboug having some music device from a giant corporation

I know, not having a "cool" image really killed their OS, application software, peripherals, and videogame markets.

Uh... wait a minute...

-a.d.-

Re:The one thing missing (4, Insightful)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932634)

"There's nothing hip or cool aboug having some music device from a giant corporation."

I guess you don't remember when having a Sony walkman was a big thing. Sony being a giant corporation.
It's all about how the brand is managed.

Re:The one thing missing (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932638)

From the link: nothing they produce ever works properly or performs to expectations. So I guess they already are.

OT - Linux World Editor? (-1, Offtopic)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932305)

WTF is that? I was at Linux World. It was nothing more than a bunch of suits running Windows for the presentations talking about the great virtues of Linux. Fuck, they even had an Apple booth at LW!!!

me :-(

Tom

Re:OT - Linux World Editor? (1)

Twid (67847) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932516)

Hey, I was running Linux on Parallels on the MacBook Pro in the Apple booth.

So there. :)

Scroll Wheel (2, Interesting)

Baricom (763970) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932308)

I did read TFA, but I didn't understand how the scrolling UI works. The photos weren't much help. If the Zune does have a wheel, though, that will be a very interesting development - that's really the feature that makes or breaks the iPod, and I was under the impression that Apple patented it. If Apple didn't, why haven't any of their competitors picked up on it yet?

Re:Scroll Wheel (0, Offtopic)

Baricom (763970) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932320)

I did read TFA, but I didn't understand how the scrolling UI works.

Never mind - I figured it out. I missed the first paragraph.

Re:Scroll Wheel (1)

flooey (695860) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932327)

I did read TFA, but I didn't understand how the scrolling UI works. The photos weren't much help. If the Zune does have a wheel, though, that will be a very interesting development - that's really the feature that makes or breaks the iPod, and I was under the impression that Apple patented it. If Apple didn't, why haven't any of their competitors picked up on it yet?

From what I picked up from the article, it doesn't in fact have a wheel. What it has is a wheel looking thing with buttons. So, basically, the click wheel, but without the scrolling portion, just several buttons imbedded into a piece of the circular piece of the cover that's colored differently.

Re:Scroll Wheel (1)

flooey (695860) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932337)

Not only did I write "a piece of the circular piece of the cover", I wrote it after he said he figured it out. I lose at Slashdot.

Re:Scroll Wheel (1)

Baricom (763970) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932430)

I lose at Slashdot.

We can lose together. :)

Re:Scroll Wheel (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932489)

Better than loosing together, as most people seem to be doing today.

Re:Scroll Wheel (1)

flooey (695860) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932537)

Better than loosing together, as most people seem to be doing today.

I think you just need to losen up.

The other Scroll Wheel (2, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932423)

I am surprised that more devices don't use a (mouse-like) scroll wheel for navigation like the Blackberry or Rio Karma. It is much nicer than the up-down buttons that are universal for cellphone menu navigation. It has an advantage over the apple touch-wheel in that you have tactile feedback for moving up/or down a single menu item - on my iPod I am constantly moving two spaces when I meant to move one. Of course it has the disadvantage of having to pick up your finger. As far as reliability goes, I know the Rio Karma had problems with it breaking, but that device had QA issues galore, and AFAIK they seem to survive on the Blackberry just fine. Is the use of a scroll-wheel on a handheld device patented by RIM or someone else?

Re:The other Scroll Wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932563)

The problem is that a scroll-wheel takes up a lot of space, which is not a problem in a mouse, but in a MP3-player that needs to embed FM-radio-, CF/SD-slot-, audio-DSP- and display-circuitry, it is a problem.

Re:The other Scroll Wheel (1)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932598)

Hmm, if only there were some way to free up space. But as we all know the market demands that each of the items you listed be in all portable music listening devices, and any device without them would undoubtedly be called "lame" by an influential figure like Cmdr. Taco.

Re:The other Scroll Wheel (5, Interesting)

fbjon (692006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932599)

The problem is that a scroll-wheel takes up a lot of space
No it doesn't. See, a scroll-wheel doesn't have to be a flat, round rubber disc, it can be a cylinder! I'm really, really dissappointed that so few are using this type, because it was positively awesome on a Sony-Ericsson I used to have in Japan.

To be precise: the wheel was a cylinder right where the 4-way keys usually are (clamshell phone), about 1,5cm wide and maybe 8mm in diameter, in a horizontal direction. You could roll it and click it just like a mouse wheel, and had two extra buttons on either side for left-right clicking. It also had just the right feel, not too tight, but not too loose either, so you wouldn't accidentally misclick like you do with some cheap mice. Scrolling along lists was never easier.

Good to go (5, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932316)

* Wireless
* More space than a Nomad

Raging success I'd say!

Re:Good to go (1)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932391)

Re:Good to go (2, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932472)

last sentence in the story [slashdot.org] (I mean you are not the only smart-ass around here.)

Re:Good to go (1)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932525)

I understood the reference. Both times it was posted.

Really funny (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932482)

Actually, what's really funny about that is that I never saw the comment before! Not even as author... If you'll check my posting history you'll note I was not even around Slashdot for a few days at that time.

I guess there are only so many ways to joke about the original statement, and you'll notice that my message made much better use of the always-funny "Good to Go" statement...

UI pics (4, Insightful)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932317)

Don't believe anything you hear and only 1/2 of what you see.

Those photos make for a good story but likely have very little to do with Zune.
-r

Cheap bastards.... (4, Funny)

1053r (903458) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932329)

First, they rip off OS X and create Vista, now they rip off the iPod and create "zune".

Steve: Well, Bill, what successful thing is there left in the market that we *HAVENT* ripped off?
Bill: Umm... There's the PSP, and the DS...
Steve: The team is way ahead of you bill, they've already got a Xbox360M in the works!

(Just my speculation, of course)

Re:Cheap bastards.... (0, Offtopic)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932366)

First, they rip off OS X and create Vista, now they rip off the iPod and create "zune".

No, first they ripped off MacOS and made Windows 95. I'm certain a goodly portion of their R&D budget was spent on Macs and copying "look and feel". Then they basically tried to trounce the video game console market by putting a PC in a cheap-o plastic box (something Dell is getting very good at these days) and adding a few proprietary twists.

Makes you wonder when they'll get around to seriously tacking creating a decent operating system instead of all this fucking around in other markets.

Re:Cheap bastards.... (0, Offtopic)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932417)

No, first they ripped off MacOS and made Windows 95.


More accurately, first Apple ripped off Xerox Parc and made MacOS. Microsoft then ripped off Xerox Parc and Apple and made Windows 1.0.

Re:Cheap bastards.... (1, Offtopic)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932446)

Even more accurately, Apple didn't rip off the Xerox Parc [mackido.com] , but were certainly inspired by it.

Re:Cheap bastards.... (1, Funny)

fbjon (692006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932616)

I'm sure Microsoft has received a lot of sudden inspiration [microsoft.com] over the years..

Re:Cheap bastards.... (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932367)

Does it matter? Sony rips off Nintendo motion sensing, Microsoft rips off Apple iPod, yadi yada. Now if OSX cloned a XP or Vista feature, all of the Applebots on /. would keep pretty fricking mum about it. I'm an Apple fan (look in my post history if you want), but this is the way technology moves forward. People take ideas from each other, build on top of them, adding and removing aspects as the market demands. It can only be good for the consumer to have more choice.

That said, Zune sounds like it's going to suck hard. All plastic? I hope they mean shiny plastic a la iPod, 'cos we have WAY too many of the "faux brushed aluminum" things floating around as it is. It's not sexy enough to have style. When your audio player looks like a cheap Logitech keyboard, YOU DID IT WRONG. The features do sound solid, but honestly, it's the style that counts.

Re:Cheap bastards.... (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932459)

features do sound solid, but honestly, it's the style that counts.

Ah, the mantra of an (self-admitted in this case) Apple fan. No offense, but it seems like since the iMac, that's been the general feel Apple gives off. "Well, it doesn't have the feature I want... Oh! Shiny! Must buy!".

Personally, and maybe this is the engineer part of me talking, if it doesn't have the feature set I want or implements them poorly, I won't waste my money on it no matter how pretty it looks. Style might be "hip" and "cool" but it should be second-seat to functionality (think of a $1,000 1991 Civic with flame stickers and an airfoil on the back).

Re:Cheap bastards.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932606)

An Maseratti or Ferrari is the kind of style and industrial design that has appeal. All too many companies make products that resemble '91 Civics with flame decals. Industrial Design is engineering too - what's wrong with blending form & function to create style and features?

Re:Cheap bastards.... (1)

abandonment (739466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932399)

it's pretty much any of creative's devices, except with microsoft's name on it.

bOOOring.

my g/f has a creative zen 30Gb, it's alot slicker than this - has pretty much exactly the same interface - including the whole 'scroll & get the letter of the alphabet', except it's not nearly as obnoxious as that screenshot.

I used it for a long busride recently and found that I liked it alot - i find the whole 'scrolling' ipod interface annoying - going up and down menus by scrolling a wheel around makes no sense.

the zen however has an up-down scroll pad, which i found to be very slick.

dunno, guess it's a matter of taste, but anything microsoft is pretty much a no-go for alot of people.

the wifi is a non-seller, unless it lets you do anything you would normally do with a wifi - if i run into a person with another zune (however unlikely), can i send them an mp3? or just a windows-media DRM protected file? if it's the second (DRM only) then it's a non-feature.

this whole 'giving the consumer more choice' marketing slogan is so much bullshit it's unbelievable. how about, create a device that does what consumers want and otherwise just GETS OUT OF OUR WAY?

syncing wifi to an xbox360? isn't the xbox supposed to be the 'center of the living room'? shouldn't it be the other way around? Oh right, no harddrive by default...so much for that concept.

non-sell, non-feature...dead in the water.

illiad, as usual, has the best commentary on this:

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20060725 [userfriendly.org]

Next they'll rip off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932487)

Apple's commercials.

Blue (BSOD) background with a black silhouette of Steve Ballmer dancing around with his Zune to the "Developer, Developers, Developers, Developers" song

Re:Cheap bastards.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932566)

The depressing thing is they aren't even ripping off Leopard they are ripping off a handful of features from Tiger. Microsoft will be making progress when they start knocking off the current Mac OS and not the previous one. Either their developers have to work faster or they need better spies. They also need better people in marketing. Calling "Widgets" "Gadgets" just reenforces the fact they are knocking off OSX. Call it Smart Icons or something. Apple should have pity on the competition and license things like Core Animation to Microsoft. They can make a few bucks then and help the end user by keeping the systems more cross platform compatible. Core Animation has a massive potential for creating things like on line stores but not so long as 90% of the machines out there are Microsoft and not compatible. Throw Gates a bone and license him some of the new technology. He's wasting a lot of resources that could be using to patch security holes trying to reverse engineer OSX. Tiger must have given Gates an ulcer, Leopard must have given him a panic attack. Where as Microsoft focases on patching flaws in security Apple focases on new end user features. Stability? Windows threw in the towel on that issue. I keep being told each new OS from Microsoft is finally stable. I haven't seen a stable OS out of Microsoft since NT 351. After that their motto seems to be "It Crashes Deal With It".

Microsoft PR (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932344)

Just announced, Zune will only be available for corporate customers in November. Consumers can get it early in 2007.

Re:Microsoft PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932389)

The guy who modded you "informative" is either a moron, or has a subtle and excellent sense of humor.

As often is the case, it's hard to tell which.

Re:Microsoft PR (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932561)

Meanwhile the guy who modded you retarded was right on.

Re:Microsoft PR (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932418)

That way they can pretend they're "on track" to ship by the end of the year when they're really not, or else it would see a public release. The dual-release schedule of Vista is corporate denial on a grand scale.

I don't get it (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932359)

Will someone PLEASE explain why a *software* company feels its necessary to enter markets in which it has a competitive disadvantage years after the competition? If I were a MS shareholder, I'd want the company to focus on improving its OS and other software products - ya know, the stuff that made all the money in the first place.

I think Apple should develop a random product, say an iToaster Oven, just to see if MS will follow suit...

Re:I don't get it (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932440)

Will someone PLEASE explain why a *software* company feels its necessary to enter markets in which it has a competitive disadvantage years after the competition?

To sell DRM technology. ACC is the target, not the silly iPod thingy, but they've done ok with mice, keyboards, joysticks, etc.

KFG

Re:I don't get it (3, Insightful)

astromog (866411) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932476)

They tried that. They got annoyed that none of their industry partners could make hardware for their software that could successfully compete with Apple. So now they're trying a more direct approach.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932510)

Will someone PLEASE explain why a *software* company feels its necessary to enter markets in which it has a competitive disadvantage years after the competition?

Because they judge that they don't have much more room for growth in the software market?

Because they can... (4, Insightful)

spagetti_code (773137) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932538)

Look, MS has $1,000,000,000 in profits every month to put in the bank.
They can afford to take a few punts to see what works.

If I was an investor, I'd be pretty pleased with this (well,
actually I'd be more pleased if they paid some dividends or
got their stock price up, but hey... this aint bad).

All power to them - they want to create a complete
home entertainment experience, and this is an essential part
of the pie.

Signed
A happy iPod owner.

Re:I don't get it (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932587)

Will someone PLEASE explain why a *software* company feels its necessary to enter markets in which it has a competitive disadvantage years after the competition?

Because, as the XBox has shown, they can actually succeed at this if they're willing to spend both the time and the money on it.

Re:I don't get it (3, Insightful)

MauMan (252382) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932625)

If you look at their SEC 10K statements for the last 5 years you'll see that they have lost $4.7 billion net (revenue - expenses) and are on track to lose $1.2 billion this fiscal year for the business unit that the XBox is in. They've only had one profitable quarter ever, the one Halo 2 came out in.

Explain to me how in any sense this is a business success to the shareholders?

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932596)

The reason they branch into other areas is because they need to continue to grow to make more and more money. Face it, Microsoft products saturate the market place, there is nowhere for them to grow. There are no stong competitors and I truely believe that the would could run on Windows XP for another 5 years without problems. There is no real incentive to get a new operating system out.

However by branching out they can find new markets to get into, they branched out into an office suite market that was dominated by others and look where Office 2007 is now.

Microsoft (branded) mice are quality products, people buy them and I warrent MS makes a bit of money out of it.

Now all they need is music (5, Insightful)

pico303 (187769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932378)

iPod isn't just popular 'cause it's cool. It's popular because it's really easy to get music onto the thing. Buy it, install iTunes, plug in the iPod, and start ripping or downloading music. I just don't see Windows Media Player as competing in that space, especially not without blowing Microsoft's whole market strategy of giving users choices when it comes to Windows audio players.

I have a feeling they'll get thousands of people buying these things. They'll get them home, try to install them, not be able to get music to upload, or the thing will crash all the time, or their PCs won't be able to see it when it's plugged in. Pack it up, take it back, and just go spend the $300 on something that actually works.

Nice thing about this is Apple will probably lower the price of the 30GB iPod to $250 just to stick it to MS. Then I'll dump my mini and finally get a video iPod.

Re:Now all they need is music (3, Insightful)

arodland (127775) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932414)

People have been ripping and downloading music for a looooooooong time now without any help from iTunes, thank you. iTunes/iPod is not easy. Easy is showing up as a mass-storage device when plugged in, and playing every format I've already got without any conversion.

Re:Now all they need is music (5, Informative)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932533)

Not only does my iPod show up as a mass storage device when I plug it in, it automatically copies over all of my music too. And as 99% of my music is in MP3 (the other 1% being Apple lossless, which is admittedly a minor niggle, though less so since there's no harm in transcoding between lossless formats), I'd say the latter is covered too. Sorry, but your argument flatly sucks. I can put a CD in the drive, iTunes automatically rips to MP3 and tags it, then ejects the CD (or at least I can configure it as such in about three seconds), then I plug in my iPod and the new music is automatically transferred to it. Without a single click. I tried the mass storage device approach - it's nothing short of abysmal compared to automatic syncing. Not to mention ripping CDs was usually a many-step process, and half the time required me to type in all the track listings. With iTunes, I put or plug it in, wait a few minutes, and remove or disconnect it. No work on my part, no thinking, and it even organizes the local files in a standard and logical manner.

I don't quite know how you define 'easy', but it's certainly not how I do, and I'd imagine not very close to Webster, either. I hated iTunes for the longest time, too, but at least I was never in denial about how my old process sucked. I'm not meaning to flame you here, but iTunes has been the best thing to happen to my music library since the MP3 format. Videos are another story, but I can deal with that (or, rather, just avoid it)

Re:Now all they need is music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932603)

I've noticed the option to make the iPod show up as a mass storage device and be assigned a drive letter. Do you know if it is possible to just copy music straight over to it without using iTunes so that the music is playable within the iPod interface? I haven't really put much time into testing that out yet.

The obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932658)

What if you don't use a Mac or Win OS?

Re:Now all they need is music (3, Interesting)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932592)

Which the Zune doesn't do. I hear you on the formats; to me, the only real competitor out there to the iPod are the products by iRiver. Which, not surprisingly, also cost more than equivalent iPods (due to the bevy of extra features).

I'm an iPod guy cos I've got a mac, but if I just wanted to play some OGGs and FLACs, iRiver would be the way to go.

Re:Now all they need is music (2, Insightful)

detect (227148) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932552)

Really easy to get music onto the thing? Are you kidding? Really easy in my book would be something like: plug in iPod, iPod gets recoginsed as a storage device, drag mp3s into iPod directory. It took me an hour of mucking around in iTunes before I figured out that you couldn't even do that! You need to buy third party software to properly manage music on your ipod, ie. Anapod. iTunes is the most convoluted piece of useless software I have ever used.

Re:Now all they need is music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932554)

What about hooking the player to an XBox and buying music through Xbox live? Just curious what makes you think the thing will crash all the time, only because it is made by Microsoft?

Re:Now all they need is music (1)

nickrooster (796216) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932600)

Wow, that read very strangely.

Let's start with the first two sentences. "iPod isn't just popular 'cause it's cool. It's popular because it's really easy to get music onto the thing."

Well, I don't know about you, but when I want to transfer music onto a device, I generally like to transfer it from any machine. I often forget how crippled an iPod really is. When you plug it into an "unauthorized" machine and try to transfer songs to or from it, it flakes out big time. This only happened to me once (I don't own an iPod, but a friend does. Yes, they were mad.), but when all was said and done, it would not only not sync with the person's iTunes anymore, but it gave a generic "Error!" screen and told me to go to the support URL. The support URL said to pretty much reboot the thing. That didn't work. The friend ended up taking it to the Apple store, where they formatted it --- but not just a vfat format, no - that is too simple! They formatted it in HFS, then vfat. Why?!? Anyway, for storing music information in a database, that database is very prone to corruption.

So, let's look at the rest of that paragraph: "Buy it, install iTunes, plug in the iPod, and start ripping or downloading music. I just don't see Windows Media Player as competing in that space, especially not without blowing Microsoft's whole market strategy of giving users choices when it comes to Windows audio players."

Windows Media Player directly competes in that space! You can do all that stuff without having to install or download and install iTunes. It's bundled with the OS. You can rip, burn and play back music directly in WMP. And their market strategy is anything but giving the users choice. That is why they were taken to court.

Let's look at this one: "They'll get them home, try to install them, not be able to get music to upload, or the thing will crash all the time, or their PCs won't be able to see it when it's plugged in. Pack it up, take it back, and just go spend the $300 on something that actually works."

Not even out yet, and already you make it sound so much like an iPod. I'm impressed! I love a crazy-ass mass storage driver that gets corrupted almost as much as the database that holds the music. Three different people who's computers I work on have had that issue. I fail to see how that works any better. Also, I enjoy seeing an iPod error screen often. I think it is truly what they do best.

The iPod hardware is neat looking, but the setup is barely functional. And the cute little hard drives that break when you look at them wrong. Beautiful. Another friend used to work at Best Buy and told me that they had many problems with just plain busted iPod hard drives.

The service is great too. When you call you get a real person who tries to google the answer faster than you!

Anyway, sorry to flame ya. I have really had it with iPod apologists.

-Nick

And here is where your logic falls over (-1, Troll)

mjwx (966435) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932660)

If the iCrap was popular because it was "easy to get music onto" then shouldnt say creative's mp3 players be the most popular as you can just copy mp3 files directly onto it, as in you dont even have to install Craptunes.

I've said it before and for the not so bright people here, I'll say it again. With a crapPod you mostly pay for a brand and get some inferior peice of propreiety crap made by slave labour in china which costs all of AU$50 to produce.

Now I am not saying that MS is any better but it it definatly no worse.

Lame picture (2, Insightful)

Lorean (756656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932387)

What the hell? Is that the best picture they could get? Would it be too hard to remove the headphones? Would it stress the camera too much to take multiple angle shots?

Re:Lame picture (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932551)

This is a leak photo. Its acutally not black, its a black and white photo because all the testing units are a different color so MS can track people who break NDAs. The headphones are still attached and their magenetic, so theyre sticking together in the photo. The final product will most likely be different.

They're up to something (1)

Skeith (931626) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932422)

I can't decide to post about how Microsoft is just trying to get into every possible market, or they are diversifying themselves for the unthinkable time when Windows doesn't have 98% of the desktop market. But I'm pretty sure they are doing one of those, or both.

To complicated (1)

deopmix (965178) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932428)

I imagine that this would do much better if they removed the WiFi(wouldn't bluetooth make more sense anyway) and the fm tuner, made it out of something other than plastic, and reduced the price.

Black and white??? (2, Insightful)

stox (131684) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932431)

Don't think so. The pictures that have been floating around claim that the each unit has a difffent color combination. By using BW photographs, the origin can't be traced back to the current holder of the unit. Of couse, this may be making the fatal mistake that MS didn't code the units so gray-scale images wouldn't reveal the current holders.

Re:Black and white??? (3, Interesting)

kzinti (9651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932455)

Indeed! It's explained in this article [gizmodo.com] :

The reason the shot is in black and white is because Microsoft assigned a unique color scheme to every Zune prototype in existence right now--all 150 of them--so any leaks could be traced to the employee who leaked it. We don't want to be jerks and get anybody fired.

In case of Slashdotting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932432)

18 - , @12:01AM ---popyta1tes6 bain microsoft dept iLounge Zune, MP3 microsoft's. , "Zune iPod 30GB, ." Interestingly, microsoft forgoes touch-sensitive scrollwheel -sformirovannyx . WiFi, FM, ( iPod) --cerna4 . , 30GB $300. Saied Pinto.

Microsoft has come up with one original feature (3, Funny)

Hepneck (876605) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932436)

for the Zune; It has a color screen that only displays a single color, their patented shade of 'Blue Screen of Death' blue.

trust Microsoft to... (2, Insightful)

56ker (566853) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932447)

a) be behind the competition
b) bring out something with more features and is the hardware equivalent of bloatware
c) As the wi-fi feature only works with other Zune models it seems pretty pointless to have such a feature until it becomes popular enough for this feature to be worth including
d) be more expensive than the competition

Re:trust Microsoft to... (1)

viperblades (576174) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932509)

you forgot, stupid name. "check out my zune!" "dude your getting a zune!" "zune! zune! zune! zune! I love this mp3 player! zune! zune! zune!" it just doesnt work.

Re:trust Microsoft to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932573)

And exactly which other player's wifi capability are you pissed off it is not compatible with?

I love to critique a product but if you have nothing to add, not speaking up IS an option.

But... (4, Funny)

settrans (902777) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932454)

...does it run Windows?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932628)

...does it run Windows?

The good news is yes it runs Windows. The bad news is it runs ME. But on the brightside it does have the paperclip to help you navigate.

coincidence? (1)

xstaytruex (954638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932464)

Are they trying to hard and also making their product have four letters.

What the hell? (3, Insightful)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932465)

Eh. Apparently you can use the Wi-fi feature to "loan" other Zune owners music for some short period (a day), giving them the opportunity to buy the tracks themselves from the Zune music store. While this is a cool idea, and could work well for ubiquitous iPods, it gets an "eh" here because you're unlikely to randomly bump into other people who have Zunes, and unless Microsoft actually gives away music, you're even more unlikely to find people who are willing to purchase tracks from its latest music store.

I am not sure what this guy is on to here. While it is very wise commenting for any music player from a company like Creative or iRiver, this is just dumb. Microsoft already told people it will market this thing even at a loss. Although I doubt it's going to be as cool as what we're likely to see in the next iPod, I think it is very safe to say that a lot of people will buy this thing. A lot of people speculated this way about the Xbox, but that one turned out great if you ask me. Say all you want, but Microsoft is very successful with hardware. They sell a lot of keyboards, mice, Xboxes and probably also mp3 players.

It is difficult to speculate what Apple has to offer on their next generation of iPods, besides the very large touch screen that has been rumored for so long. Honestly though, I have two iPods next to me that I've stopped using many months ago. I have the latest generation of iPods and the Nano. The big one I don't use because it is simply too big for my taste. I've come to the conclusion that keys, a mobile phone, a wallet and a music player is a lot of stuff at once, and you hardly want to mix the tools because they will just make scratches on the other one (aside from the wallet, which requires its own pocket). So what I did was to get a Nano, but I quickly realized that the small form factor was even offered in phones, so I got a phone with a 6 GB hard drive. Now I'm very happy with that choice. Fewer items to wear in my pockets, less to care about, less to forget, less to charge when I get home.


The summary: I honestly think that cell phones with growing hard drives and flash drive capability are the future. I doubt it would go from mp3 players to phones simply because PDA:s have taken that path with not so much success. It's probably because of the form factor, but also the fact that people want this device to work primarily as a phone, secondarily (yet with ease) as a media player and then every thing else overshadowed. As for businessmen, there are plenty of phone/PDA/media player solutions already, but kids, teenagers and probably a whole lot of other people are probably more and more interested in phones with mp3 capability.

Microsoft will sell Zunes all over the world and I am sure people will buy them. I just don't think Apple and Microsoft can compete with such players as soon as phones increase capacity to 10 GB and with a better interface. I know Nokia is investing in their own music store, so it is a safe to say that we're going to see a lot of new media phones very soon. Bulky players like these will obviously always be there, because some people still prefer large displays and video capability, but I think that larger phones with a large 300 DPI display and 10 GB drive would beat it if it was offered at $300, like Zune and about like iPod.

Love this comment (1)

Kalewa (561267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932483)

I'm loving this quote from the comments on ilounge

"i hope MS has done some studies on the effects of wearing magnetics against ones brain for prolonging periods of time?? considering that our brain works on magnetic pulses i am sure that this one feature alone will be enuff to turn a sh*tload of people off"

Because regular headphones don't have magnets, right? ...right?

Re:Love this comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932558)

I guess the poster left their white ear buds in all day and couldn't think straight

Enough with the Saied Pinto plugs! (1, Insightful)

rgravina (520410) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932485)

This is third article today that ended with some shameless plug about a guy called Saied Pinto who is editing LinuxWorld for the day.

There are already advertisements at the top of the page. Do we need them in article summaries too?

Let's see... (4, Funny)

whitespiral (941984) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932496)

No FLAC? No, thanks.

ok... (1)

bangenge (514660) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932498)

i don't wanna sound like a troll or anything, but based on the pic of TFA, it seems like i don't wanna put much stock into it. there's been a lot of the fabricated(?) pics of the zune out there that it makes me wary about that. just my $.02

Touch sensitive (1)

Wicko (977078) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932513)

How is that a con for the Zune? Who gives a shit about the touch sensitive interface, its just marketing fluff anyway.. oh wow a new way to navigate menus in a less accurate, distracting manner! I always found that annoying with the iPod, I kept over scrolling and messing up. I find buttons much easier and useful. You can easily tell what you are doing, or how many songs you've skipped without looking at the player. That's useful if you need to keep your eyes elsewhere, ie driving with your player hooked up to your car or something, or you just dont feel like taking it out of your pocket, etc. I just hope this brings some decent competition. Creative couldn't do it, can Microsoft?

Why are people stupid (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932541)

"Zune is a bit bigger than a standard 30GB iPod, and apparently made entirely of plastic."

Magical plastic that has the power to conduct electricty and display graphics!! ZOMGZ0RZ!!!@

Douchetards.

So that's why Apple started making black iPods ... (1)

mooncaine (778422) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932568)

..., so that the Zune wouldn't seem so special when it finally came out.

Zune?? (1)

Jesus IS the Devil (317662) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932604)

Wtf? Zune? With a name like that, why would anybody even care to buy?

Re:Zune?? (1)

Airconditioning (639167) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932644)

Wtf? Zune? With a name like that, why would anybody even care to buy?

I thought the same thing when I heard the name iPod for the first time, and when I heard the PlayStation announced.

"Duh, PlayStation. It's a station, that you play. Get a real name like GameBoy or Funvision."

Re:Zune?? (1)

saucercrab (855892) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932659)

Almost as ridiculous as releasing a game console with a name that's homophonic to a word for urine.

The next step... (3, Funny)

davmoo (63521) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932617)

If Microsoft really wants to be like Apple, now they need to file a suit against iLounge for leaking the pictures.

MS fanbois, are you out there? (4, Interesting)

Masa (74401) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932627)

This made me wondering, if there is somewhere people wearing T-shirts with Microsoft (or Windows) logos and chanting the Microsoft name. Is there such fanboyism, which will guarantee the sale of this kind of device? Because, otherwise it could be quite difficult to penetrate the market with this new device. We already have Apple and Creative and they both provide well-known music players. And I have this feeling (so, no real knowledge) that the music player industry is like mobile phone industry. You have to be hip to be on the belt of a teenager. Right?

So, the question is, is there such a movement - like behind Linux or other subcultures we are familiar with here in Slashdot - for Microsoft products? And now I'm not talking about business software. I'm talking about the passionate young people with ideologies and ideals.

But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932642)


Will it work with Linux?

Made of plastic you say?!? (1)

_Griphin_ (676977) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932650)

OK, so wait till some genius makes a case out of semi-hard but bounceable rubber and sells it as an accessory. So what if it's made of possibly-shattering plastic, the rubber would take most of the stress if the unit gets accidently dropped or kicked around. This might have been brought up before, I haven't checked the comments. BTW: It supports radio, COOL!!! You should always have a portable radio with you at all times just incase your in a disaster.

I'm all for a Windows based iPod Killer (tm) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15932651)

But does it run Linux?

This comment selected and edited by LinuxWorld editor for the day Saied Pinto [berkeley.edu] .
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