Touched by the Zune

November 20, 2007

iPod Paul Thurrott made two interesting observations in this week’s episode of Windows Weekly, which got me thinking.

The first was that the iPod touch is really for video not for music, because you need to be looking at it to use it. You can’t control it when it’s in your pocket (while you’re, say, walking the dog) because you can’t use the controls by feel.

Ironic. You can’t control the iPod touch by touch.

apple ipod touch

That probably rules it out for me. I do use my iPod when out with the dog and I often need to pause it or advance to the next playlist item. I had long been of the view that an iPhone without the phone would have been the perfect iPod, but this looks like a showstopper for me.

The second interesting thing Paul said was that the second generation 80GB Zune can fill the role of an Apple TV, ie build a bridge for video content between your computer and your TV. This is because the Zune has built-in wifi which will automatically sync with Zune Marketplace (equivalent of iTunes) provided the Zune is plugged into a power source.

It’s a very attractive proposition. You come back from listening to music/podcasts while walking the dog, pop the Zune into a powered docking station on top of the TV, it syncs with the PC and by the time you’ve made a cup of tea you’re ready to sit down and watch the latest downloaded TV shows.

microsoft zune 80GB

It’s not quite there yet, though. The Zune only supports 320 x 240 resolution, which falls well short of the Ipod touch’s 480 x 320, so picture quality would be disappointing. There is also a dearth of content. No movies or TV shows for the Zune yet, in the US or UK. It would only be any use with video podcasts and home movies.

Another killer is the lack of audiobook support. But I’m sure that will change, just as I’m sure there will be a 3G Zune with better video resolution and one day more video content via the Zune Marketplace.

So if it came to a choice between an iPod touch and a Zune … right now I’m surprised to find myself gravitating towards the Zune.

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  1. […] an interesting post today on Touched by the ZuneHere’s a quick […]

  2. Thanks for that! When it’s available in the UK I’ll be waiting in line!

  3. Zune 80 actually outputs about double the resolution for television sets and stores that natively.

    You’re right about the res on the device- but it’s much higher for tvs.

  4. Just came across this. But the picture is of the first gen Zune, without the “squircle” control pad.

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