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All posts tagged "iPod"


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why Zune Beats the iPod... Seriously

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 12:00 AM

http://jeffblankenburg.com/2008/11/...-seriously.aspx

"Okay, we know that the Zune doesn’t beat the iPod where it matters (sales) so this is sort of like BetaMax/VHS but the Zune really is an increasingly impressive device. I’m beginning to wonder if it’ll become the cult device that is sort of cooler than the iPod but not as popular. Sound familiar?"

Jeff Blankenburg shares his thoughts on why the Zune is better than the iPod (seriously) and they're all important. He's got all the usual suspects (Zune Pass, FM radio, wireless sharing and syncing) but also mentions a few others, like Zune Originals, the consistently updated firmware, and how anyone can make games for their Zunes. Click through to see each of these points discussed in depth, and maybe pass it on to your "iPod owning uncle" at Christmastime.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Griffin Technologies Releases iTrip Universal

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Accessories" @ 03:11 PM

http://www.griffintechnology.com/pr...itrip-universal

"Use with any audio source that uses a 1/8"(3.5mm) headphone jack-iPod, Sansa, Zune, portable CD players, you name it. Recharge iTrip universal's internal battery in any USB port (no more replacing batteries!), then connect to your player with the included stereo audio cable. Three user-programmable presets save the best frequencies so you can access them quickly later. User selectable stereo/mono output. Wherever you go, iTrip Universal is the perfect partner for your portable audio."

If you want to broadcast the audio from your MP3 player, phone, or anything with with a 3.5mm headphone jack to a nearby FM radio, this looks like a great solution. The battery in the iTrip Universal is only 180 mAh though, so I take their statement of being able to broadcast for "hours" to mean "more than one hour". It's a bit surprising they don't have an actual rating for the battery life.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

NYTimes: Zune Only Selling to iPod Haters

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 03:00 PM

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/m...consumed-t.html

"When the Microsoft Zune digital music player first appeared, it was the latest in a long line of gizmos to which the phrase 'iPod killer' was hopefully attached. And let's be clear about something: This column makes absolutely no suggestion that there is any credible evidence that this is happening. The most recent figures from NPD Group, the retail-data collector, showed Apple's device holding 70 percent of the MP3-player market, compared with 3 percent for the Zune. (This put Microsoft in third place, behind SanDisk, at 10 percent.)... But the most salient feature of the Zune seems to be that it’s not an iPod."

The New York Times Magazine's Consumed column always offers an interesting outside perspective on trends among consumer products. This week, Rob Walker sets his sites on Zune buyers, wondering why anyone would consider a Zune if Apple's iPod is seemingly fine for most people. Walker concludes that the only people who buy a Zune do so simply because it isn't an iPod. As Ars Technica points out, this just isn't the case; "Zune would still be selling if the iPod didn't exist. Consumers aren't simply buying the Zune because they don't like the iPod: there are features (like wireless sync) that the iPod doesn't have and that some consumers want. If the Zune didn't have unique features and Microsoft didn't keep trying to add them, it wouldn't succeed against the other, non-iPod competition."

One only needs to look to websites like the excellent AnythingButiPod to see the market for non-iPod players is still quite large. In order to have any success in this market, the Zune team will need to show not only why it is different from the iPod, but also how it will tap into the market that does not yet own an MP3 player. Things like the recent Hollywood/Zune whisperings should help expand its reach some.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Apple, iPod, and the Non-Traditional Trademark

Posted by Suhit Gupta in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 05:00 AM

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121...2603674487.html

"On Jan. 8, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple Inc. a trademark for the three-dimensional shape of its iPod media player. This was more than a recognition of an innovative product design. It also was Apple's capping piece in a multiyear marketing and legal campaign that pushed intellectual-property rights to new competitive advantage for the company. In many ways, Apple is benefiting from an expansion of U.S. trademark rights, beyond the traditional names, images, logos and two-dimensional symbols trademarks usually secure. In recent years, trademarks have been granted for such things as product shapes, colors and scents that companies can claim are linked exclusively to the source company in consumers' minds. These nontraditional marks are difficult to obtain... The iPod shape trademark gives Apple a new weapon in the fiercely competitive market for media players. While competitors may eventually appropriate the iPod's inner workings, as utility patents expire, they will risk litigation if their products come too close to the trademarked shape of the iPod, including its popular circular-touchpad interface."

I understand that Apple has responsibilities to its shareholders and this trademark will certainly boost revenue in the future, but I find this to be an extremely competition-squashing move, almost more so than Microsoft and its use of Windows to spread other Microsoft software. When I first read that the shape had been trademarked, I figured that it is reasonable since the iPod does have a truly distinct shape and this move may promote some innovation in the space from competitors But I was then was slightly horrified when I read the following -- "In January, the Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple the nontraditional trademark it desired, along with the following more specific description of the approved mark: "[T]he design of a portable and handheld digital electronic media device comprised of a rectangular casing displaying circular and rectangular shapes therein arranged in an aesthetically pleasing manner."" That is so incredibly broad that I feel like any personal music player fits into this sort of category. I guess competitors can claim that their devices are not aesthetic? Or maybe they can place all buttons at an angle and claim that they are in the shape of a rhombus than a rectangle. Honestly, I cannot believe the US Patent Office granted a trademark that is so broad.

Having said this, the WSJ article does do a pretty good job of explaining non-traditional trademarks in laymen terms as well as the entire process for Apple to trademark the shape.

Tags: iPod, Apple, trademark

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Purpose-Driven PMPs

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 02:30 AM

"MP3 player makers include many popular [features] so as to “cover all the bases” and appease as many users as possible. This is the way that anythingbutipod manufactures have tried to compete with the Apple- offer just many more features at a much lower price, while Apple offered simplicity at a premium. Both strategies are viable since there are many types of consumers. While Apple’s strategy has worked well, they are now feeling the pressure in the market and are slowly absorbing the jack-of-all-trades approach. It is not as profound since it has been very gradual, but if you look at the history of iTunes, you will see how cluttered it has become by having to accommodate the many features added to iPods over the years. They also continue wow us with petty but impractical ones like “cover flow” as if we were a bunch of attention deficit two year olds."

Grahm Skee at AnythingButiPod has a great write-up on the problems faced with trying to be too many things at once. The iPod began as a great Portable Music Player (PMP) that was good at playing music and little else. As users demanded pictures and video, the iPod adapted to provide those features. The problem is, Apple hasn't really updated the way users interact with their music since the second or third generation. They became too afraid to disenfranchise users, and, in a decidedly un-Apple fashion, made their software and firmware bloated and devoid of any significant advances.

Most of the reviews I've read about the Gen2 Marketplace have pointed to its simple design as an advantage over iTunes. PC Magazine's Tim Gideon, in his review of the Zune80 praised the Marketplace and software as making iTunes "seem like a big, boring spreadsheet". Gideon gave the 80 PC Magazine's Editor's Choice Award.

"I write this in hope that Microsoft will continue to offer the Zune as a simple media centric device and not cave to the people screaming for clocks, games, web browsers, and other add-ons. Time, energy, and recourses are better spent improving the users’ music experience."

When Microsoft announced that they would be getting rid of the five-star rating system in favor of the heart/broken heart ratings, there was a huge outcry from longtime five-star users. I watched from the sidelines, and laughed at how people could be so upset over something as simple as a rating feature. That is, until I found out my beloved flagging feature would be gone too. I was preparing my own internet assault, planning to shout from the rooftops the injustice I had been dealt as a casualty in the "simplicity wars", but I (mostly) refrained, instead agreeing that I'd wait 'til I tried the new device and firmware, and then launch a full-scale campaign.

What I discovered is that I really didn't need the flagging as much as I thought I did. Looking over the software's inbox, I realized I had hundreds of flags that didn't serve much purpose to me, and that on-device features like "go to artist" held much more value than flagging. I realize that I may not agree with all the decisions the Zune team makes, but I've learned that, given enough time, someone will eventually come along to fill in the gaps. That's what the Zune project is all about.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Helpful Tips on Migrating to a Zune

Posted by Aaron Roma in "Zune Talk" @ 02:00 PM

http://selfhack.com/2006/11/13/preparing-for-the-zune-in-5-easy-steps/

"This week I will be focusing quite a bit on the impending arrival of my Zune, Microsoft’s attempt to snatch me away from Apple’s grasp and get me to toss my iPod in the back of my underwear drawer. As my new baby’s arrival date draws closer, I’m realizing that I have a lot of preparation to do in order to get my life ready for such a monumental change. After all, I listen to my iPod at my desk for no less than six hours per day. Spiffy as it may be, the Zune may potentially upset my daily routine if I don’t prepare in advance."

While waiting for his new toy to arrive, Steven Peterson has been putting some thought into how to make his transition from his iPod to a Zune as smooth and pain free as possible. He has also been kind enough to share his migration tips with the rest of us. Steven brings up some very good points, like finding an alternative to podcast subscripts and ensuring your videos are in a compatible format. While Steven is migrating from an iPod, most of his tips apply to almost any MP3 player: iPod, PlaysForSure, or otherwise. So if you thinking about migrating from your boring old MP3 player to an exciting new Zune (go with brown!), be sure to check out these five helpfull tips that are sure to make your experience a little smoother.


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