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All posts tagged "ipod"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pose Your Gadgets with the Friendly Neighborhood Spiderpodium

Posted by Anjuan Simmons in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Gadgets are usually in one of two places: a hand or a storage location (pocket, carrying case, purse, etc.). However, there are many times when a gadgets needs to be in a "third place". For example, a digital camera may need to be put on a table to take a time delayed picture of a group of people. Or, a smartphone with GPS capability may need to be positioned on a bicycle handle in order to measure speed, pace, and distance along a trail. The Spiderpodium ($19.99 direct) by Breffo seeks to be the accessory that you reach for during these "third place” moments. Read more...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Switching to Zune? Here's What You Need to Know

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Content Creation & Management" @ 01:00 AM


"The Microsoft Zune HD is a beautiful device and truly one of the best alternatives to the iPod we've had the pleasure to use. But if you're really thinking about hanging up your iPod and going Zune, you'll need to think about how to take your iTunes library with you."

Feeling the need to break free from iPod/iTunes but don't quite know how? CNet's MP3 Editor Donald Bell has a great overview video of some simple steps to move your library, playlists, and content to Zune without a whole lot of third-party software. If someone you know is considering the switch, this might be a nice thing to pass along.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

CNet Compares Zune HD and iPod Touch, Spec by Spec

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 08:06 AM


"Certainly, two of the most exciting releases of the past couple weeks are the new iPod Touch and the Zune HD. Now, if you're curious how the two devices compare with one another, you could always read the deluge of articles available on CNET and around the Web, but we can certainly see how that might be a bit overwhelming. Soon enough, we'll pit the two players head-to-head in a knock-down, drag-out brawl (aka Prizefight). In the meantime, we've created a purely technical spec-to-spec comparison chart to tide you over."

As you can clearly see in the diagram above, the Zune HD is not, in fact, Apple's iPod Touch. For more information, like device dimensions, battery life, and supported video formats, check out CNet's article. It'll make your next iPod vs Zune debate that much livlier.

Tags: ipod, zune hd

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reactions of a Zune Fan to the September 2009 iPod Announcements

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 12:33 PM

Because I'm sitting here watching the superb gdgt coverage of the Apple iPod event, I figured I might as well multi-task and jot down some point form reactions and thoughts on what I'm reading. It's important to understand what "the other guys" are up to - that's the main reason why I bought an iPod Touch earlier this year; I wanted to understand how the App Store worked, to see how good the browser was, and to get experience using the on-screen keyboard. Here are my reactions to today's Apple event, in chronological order:

  • Good to hear Steve Jobs is healthy - organ donation is so important. I've signed my organs away if something happens to me, and you should too. If you're dead, they won't do you any more good, so why not share?
  • 1.8 billion applications downloaded - that's a huge, impressive number. Apps matter. Microsoft has always said that software matters, but they've historically done a poor job of showing that on Windows Mobile and the Zune. They're finally getting rolling with a Windows Mobile app store, but apps on the Zune are still a bit of a question mark. Sure, we've had a couple games since the last generation units, but no cohesive plan on Microsoft's part to roll out a Zune games store, or to sync up with what the Xbox guys are doing.
  • iTunes is in 23 countries. The Zune Marketplace is in one. Microsoft's US-centric approach with the Zune is maddening...I thought there was some light at the end of the tunnel when they launched the Zune in Canada last year, but we never got the Zune Marketplace here, and now the devices being sold here are being killed off. "Disaster" is a good word for how well the Zune launch went in Canada. Between the Zune HD being US-only at launch, and all of the IP-based geographic blocking madness that the Zune software and Web site does, it's like the Zune team is doing everything they can to alienate everyone in the world outside the US. More after the break. Read more...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

iZel Universal Device Stand

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 AM


"The iZel is a totally unique and innovative way to support your device for hands free use. Its remarkable design supports a wide range of the world's most popular devices. It has a clever method for adapting its shape to landscape or portrait orientations and it is easily adjusted to position your screen for the optimal viewing angle. Best of all, it folds flat and travels easily. The iZel's durable construction is made possible by using a sophisticated slip-resistant elastomer that helps to keep your device in its place and looking new. Use the iZel when you want to watch a video, make a hands-free call, monitor your email, surf the web, or to simply use your device as a digital picture frame."

This is certainly one way to go about things, but it seems a bit larger than what I want to carry around. Personally, I keep a few paperclips in my bag and just make myself a quick stand on the few occasions that I need one.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

APRIL FOOLS: Apple Subscriptions The Future!

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 07:28 AM

You may be wondering about our new banner. I've long said that if Apple had offered subscription when I was first getting into using MP3 players that I would have jumped on board. Well, fortunately, that's not something any of us have to think about anymore. In order to better compete against the new Zune models expected to be announced this summer, Apple is going on the offensive. To effectively crush the last of their competition from the various other players in the market, Apple is finally going to release an all-you-can-eat subscription service. Highlights include:

  • Commentary on each track by Steve Jobs - Before each song, Steve himself gives his thoughts and reviews the song himself. This is why he's really taken some time off from Apple.
  • Genius Bar Support - With the vast selection of music on iTunes and the ability to get as much as you want, this is far more choice than most Apple users are used to. In order to help users work through this issue, you can bring your iPod to the Genius Bar where they will pick music for you and download it to your iPod.
  • 193 Kbps Bit Rate - While competing plans offer music at 192 Kbps, Apple is committed to ensuring the highest possible quality music experience. The 193 Kbps ensures unsurpassed fidelity compared to the meager 192 Kbps offered by other services.
  • $29.99 per month - While more expensive than competing plans, let's get real. You're listening to this on an iPod. This is the Maserati of subscription music.

There's just not any point of staying with Zune after this. Adam and Jason both agree. I'm excited with the new direction we'll be taking!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Escape iTunes With the TuneClone Audio Converter

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 11:45 AM


"You are considering buying a Microsoft Zune as you broke your iPod or had your iPod stolen. And you bought a lot of songs from iTunes store because you had money left on your iTunes gift card. You still want to enjoy those purchased songs on your Zune MP3 player. Or you own an iPod while your boyfriend/girlfriend has a Zune. And you hope to share the library of M4P music songs purchased from iTunes store under your account with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Here comes the headache! The M4P music you bought from iTunes is DRM-laden! You cannot transfer the iTunes M4P music to the Zune software, not to mention playing the iTunes M4P music on your Zune player."

So, you want to migrate from the iPod to the Zune but the main reason you haven’t made that jump is because you have your iTunes library. I’m sure that’s a very common reason for not coming over to the Zune world. (Ok, maybe not, but I’ll maintain my delusion.) This is a serious issue though and if you do want to change platforms, then your only options are mostly time consuming and wasteful.

TuneClone Audio Converter has come to the rescue! You can use this to move your library of M4P DRM protected music to the MP3 format that you can use on any player out there worth its salt. This is a useful tool for anyone looking to break their relationship with the iPod. This software does cost $34.95 to register but that price does give you what appears to be a full feature application. The best part is that it maintains all of the music file’s metadata. DigitalMediaOnline has a nice little tutorial that shows how it works.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Apple to Trump Zune Pass?

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 06:00 AM


“Is Apple ready to jump on the music subscription bandwagon? It seems out of character, since they won’t (at least so far) even go so far as to consider tiered pricing, but the reports are there. More to the point: does it make sense for Apple and the music industry?” - Michael Santo, RealTechNews.com

Whenever someone has ever asked me why I don’t have an iPod, I’ve always been very truthful in my answer. I would have had an iPod about three years ago if it wasn’t for the fact that I own almost no music. At that time, before the Zune, I was on board Plays For Sure and a Yahoo music subscription. That reasoning has held for a while now. Usually, the advice I’m given is to just steal the music. I am firmly against that. And so, when Microsoft offered the Zune, I jumped on it. I’m glad I wasn’t locked into the iPod ecosystem at that point because, music subscription aside, I think the Zune is a superior device. Not heads and shoulders above but it is likely to be my music player of choice for some time.

If this rumor is true and Apple is trying to come out with their own subscription model then Microsoft will lose one of its biggest edges. I think it’s almost essential that Apple comes out with subscription. Subscription is the future of content and despite Apple’s posturing, I’m sure it knows it. The plan that Apple proposes isn’t as good as what I currently can get with Zune but it does have a lot of merits. The premium on the player would pay itself off after just a few months for the end user. I can’t figure out how Apple would make any money on it that way but I’ll leave that in their hands.

Personally I’d like to see it happen so that all the people on iPods will finally come to understand what a music subscription is. I’m not sure if Apple’s business model is workable but if it is then the bar for Zune 3G will be that much higher!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Zune Podcast Listener Market Share Exploding!

Posted by Rocco Augusto in "Zune Talk" @ 01:00 PM


"In the first two weeks of 2008 the number of people consuming my personal podcast with the Zune is WAY up. Over all my show download numbers are up about 15%. This is the largest growth my show has seen in a very long time. What this proves is that when you put Podcast front and center in the Zune Interface like the Zune team has, and make it a integral part of the Zune MarketPlace people are bound to check podcast out. Where Apple has largely failed in iTunes is that they have made podcast hard to find and a buried feature within the iTunes Interface. Today it is nearly impossible to find content that is fresh, the iTunes podcast interface is a wasteland of thousands of podfaded shows and huge numbers of single podcast episodes put up by network marketerís."

(Sorry about the tiny image, I couldn't find anything bigger!)

Over at RawVoice, there is an incredibly interesting article up about recent podcasting trends and the Zune. In this instance users of the Zune and Zune Marketplace software make up 21.3% of their listeners! This might not seem like a lot, but take iTunes for instance, whose user base makes up only 38.7% of their listeners. Now seeing how the new Zune software and hardware has only been on the streets for a few months now, compared to the many years iTunes has been around, it appears that Apple might have to start taking the "little media player that could" a bit more seriously. Who knows, old Stevie might just take a look at this and declare that all of the Zune Marketplace users have joined good old Robbie Bach in a round a drinks, since you know, being a drunk is the only reason why anyone would want a Zune. Read more...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sizing It Up: iPod nano (2G) vs. iPod nano (3G) vs. Zune (4GB/8GB)

Posted by Darius Wey in "Smartphone Talk" @ 11:08 PM


As promised, here's the size comparison of the flash-based second- and third-generation iPod nano and the 4GB/8GB Zune. Enjoy!

Sizing It Up: iPod classic (80GB) vs. iPod touch vs. Zune (30GB) vs. Zune (80GB)

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 10:55 PM


Here we go: a size comparison of the 80GB iPod classic, iPod touch, 30GB Zune, and 80GB Zune. Despite sporting a larger screen (please tell us its resolution, Microsoft), the 80GB Zune is noticeably smaller than its predecessor, the 30GB Zune. Thanks to Zune Thoughts reader, enemes, for getting the ball rolling. We'll have a comparison of the flash-based iPod nano and Zune for you in just a moment.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Round 2 : Fight!

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 03:30 PM

“Gotta love those Steve Jobs events - designed to bowl over Apple's fan base and its competitors with one stunning announcement after another. Masterful! Now that the dust has started to settle, do opportunities exist for Zune amidst the new Apple line-up? Is there even room for a second major player in the digital media market?”
Harvey Chute, Zunerama

“I'll admit it … the frustration of a year of Zune WiFi with no real purpose eclipsed by Apple actually beating Zune to the wireless punch has been hard. Is there any reason to buy anything other than an iPod right now? What role does the Zune have anymore?”
Team Zune Luv

This seems to be a recurring theme this week with the announcement of the new iPod line. I believe I emailed Jason immediately when I found out and said something to the effect of that the Zune 2.0 better be really awesome. So to close out this week, I’m going to close out with where the Zune still fits after yesterday. Personally, after today, I’m refocusing my effort on my favorite MP3 player. Yep, it’s still the Zune. So where does the Zune fit in now? Harvey over at Zunerama has some ideas.

“There's another aspect of the new iPod line-up that could be exploited. Follow my simple logic:
a. The highest capacity iPods are the iPod Classics, in 80GB and 160GB.
b. These are thus the iPods most suited to storing a lot of video and movies content.
c. These do not, however, seem to be optimized for watching videos and movies. These still have a somewhat small screen (2.5"), and that screen is not widescreen.”

So, after taking a few breaths and looking over what Apple has given the world, there is fortunately still room for Microsoft. Let’s not forget what is still a HUGE advantage in my eyes of the Zune over the iPod and that’s the subscription based model. The WiFi was such a great idea that everyone knows Microsoft blew it on. Not that they still can’t give us some amazing things. Some of our readers have had great ideas on where you could take WiFi in some innovative directions.

As cool as WiFi stores and sharing are the main thing we all use our players for is still content. Whether its pictures, movies or the old standby, music we all have them to enjoy one or more of those three things. Apple’s iPod Touch is currently the best device for watching video from the looks of it. The problem with 8 or 16 GB is that it will fill up fast. Especially video.

There is an option that I can’t for the life of me understand why it rarely if ever comes up in discussion. If Microsoft were ever to offer movie subscriptions, I think that would blow a lot of people away. Why isn’t this even a consideration? An 80 GB HDD player with the ability for $15 - $20 a month download movies and TV shows? I think Microsoft needs to deliver something big with Zune 2.0, why not that?

Round 1 has ended. Round 2 is just getting started. Let's see what Microsoft has to throw into the ring.

Tags: zune, ipod

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Microsoft Grades Itself B-

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 09:46 PM


“A Microsoft executive has gone on record about several topics, mainly the health of the Zune media player. Mindy Mount, the corporate vice president and CFO of Microsoft’s entertainment and device division, says that she grades the Zune a "B-" in its current state. She argues that the player is doing well, sales wise, for “a product out in less than a year and a half," but that the company is still developing the brand and trying to expand its identity. Apple's iPod is described as a motivational competitor, forcing the Zune team to evolve. No specific successors have been mentioned.”

I wonder what this executive would have said if she’d waited a day for the new iPod releases? I suppose for last generation the Zune was, ultimately, a B-. But after what transpired with Apple’s announcements? Well what is currently out is, at best, a C. If the iPod is a motivational competitor then Microsoft should have a lot of motivation now. And don’t get me wrong; I love my Zune! But if this is what Microsoft executives think of their own product then that’s a bad thing.

But there is a silver lining to this. If a Microsoft executive recognizes that the Zune has shortcomings then hopefully they will actually start to work on fixing them.

Tags: zune, ipod

Apple Throws Down the Gauntlet, Picks it Up, Smacks Zune in the Face

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 01:29 PM

Today isn't a good day to be a Zune fan, that's for sure. Why? Because Apple unleashed a new wave of iPods today, and they're every bit as impressive as I was fearing they'd be. This was no simple product refresh with memory bumps and price drops - no, this is a whole new generation of iPods.

As I followed Engadget's excellent coverage, I was blown away by what I was seeing. Here are the very brief highlights of where the iPod lineup now stands and what I find most significant about each one:
  • iPod Shuffle: not much changed here other than new colours. Same design, which works really well for the target market, and the price point is $79 USD.
  • iPod Nano: a two inch display running 320 x 240 resolution. The pixel density is off the charts here, which means amazingly smooth and crisp text, images, and video. It can now play games like the bigger iPods can, and is available in five colours. Coverflow support has been added, and it will give you 24 hours of audio and 5 hours of video on a single charge. The price? 4 GB for $149 USD, and 8 GB for $199.
  • iPod Classic: This is currently what the Zune is competing against. The new iPod 80 GB Classic boats 30 hours of audio playback, 6 hours of video. They have a 160 GB version that boosts that number to 40 hours of audio and 7 house of video playback. The price? $249 USD for the 80 GB version and $349 for the 160 GB version. The body of the iPod Classic is described as having a "full metal design", and they're even thinner than before.
  • iPod Touch: This is an iPhone without the phone. 3.5" wide screen display, 480 x 320 resolution, 8mm thick, full multi-touch interface, 802.11 b/g WiFi, and most of the apps from the iPhone: calendar, clock, calculator, contacts, YouTube, Safari web browser, etc. No mention of an email client. 22 hours of audio, 5 hours of video. And the cherry on top? iTunes WiFi Music Store - that's right, full mobile browsing and purchasing of iTunes music. It downloads the song to the iPod Touch, then when you sync it pushes them onto the desktop.
So that's the new iPod line - what can the Zune team do to counteract that? If the rumours about the upcoming Zunes are to be believed, then I have to admit that I'm not hopeful just based on those specifications alone. The Zune team is full of smart people though, and J. Allard isn't to be underestimated, so I hope they have something amazing up their sleeve. If they don't, and this holiday season we see a 4 GB Zune without much more under the hood...then the Zune is in for a very hard road indeed.

Tags: ipod

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Red Zune to Sell for $220 Exclusively at Target, Amazon for 30 Days

Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Hardware" @ 12:00 PM


"Microsoft unveiled the latest version of its Zune music player this week with an announcement that the new, brightly colored red Zune will go on sale at a retail location whose brand is closely aligned with the very same color - Target - and also at Target's online retail partner, Amazon.com. The red Zune will be available exclusively at Target and Amazon.com for 30 days beginning Sunday and then will be available at the same retail locations where Zune currently is sold thereafter. Red Zune will retail for $220 and have the same tech specs as its Zune peers."

The red Zune goes on sale tomorrow, but only at Target stores and Amazon.com, at least for 30 days. It will also debut at $220, which will nicely coincide with Father's Day, which is coming the following Sunday.

Interestingly, the iPod Amnesty Bin was mentioned at the end of the article: "The 'iPod Amnesty Bin' was a lighthearted gesture among Zune employees and was intended to be simply a humorous motivator for only the people who are working on the project," Ball says. "It was not a company-wide program, and the bin is no longer in the lobby of the Zune building." C'mon guys, it was a joke. You didn't need to take it away because some people didn't get it...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

iPod Amnesty Bin at Zune HQ

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 11:12 AM


This picture needs a witty caption. That's where you come in. Start posting. ;)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

4 Out of 6 Prefer the Sound of the Zune Over the iPod

Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Hardware" @ 05:00 PM


"Which one is better? The Zune or the iPod? Difficult to say but CNET-Crave found a way to avoid fan bias. They did a simple "Coke-Pepsi challenge" with people in the street. Participants had to listen to each player and tell them which one sounds the best. Of course, just like the old "Coke-Pepsi challenge", they didn’t know what player they were listening to. Results of the test: iPod: 2 and Zune: 4. So, based on a very small number of people, the Zune has a much better sound quality."

Much as I love the Zune (and dislike all things Apple), I think it would have a little more fair to ask a few more people. Like maybe 10? In any case, I'm glad to see the Zune hold its own in a 'blind' listening test. So, do you concur? Do you find the Zune to have superior sound quality to the iPod? I know the sound quality of the Zune is very good, but I've never owned an iPod to compare it to...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Zunerama Analyzes Amazon Sales Ranks

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 11:24 AM


"NPD data does not include Amazon sales information. But Amazon's data seems to validate that Zune has a secure hold on 2nd place in the market, effectively knocking down hard drive-based players from Creative, Cowon, Toshiba, Archos, and iRiver - as well as older 5G and 4G models of iPods."

I have to really applaud Harvey Chute's research into all this data. There has been a lot of dispute about whether or not the NPD data is even worth anything since some vendors aren't included. The only one that really matters is the Apple stores. That is the only store that won't match up the percentages given in the NPD. I don't know how much of Apple's sales come from their stores so any market share we have is going to be skewed. But given that it will always be skewed without that data from Apple, at least we have a common point of reference.

Going back to the article on Zunerama, Harvey has tracked sales for the past month of high end DAPs. The Zune has been the second best seller after the iPod. Interestingly, the white player has overtaken the brown. I remember that at one point the brown was far above the white. Harvey feels that the Zune is mostly just eating into Apple's competitors rather than Apple itself but that assertion is harder to make since the sales rank doesn't give us any indication of that.

Overall I'd say that the news for the Zune's first generation is rather rosy!

Tags: zune, ipod, sales

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Jobs Says No One Wants a Subscription

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 09:24 PM

"Never say never, but customers don't seem to be interested in it," Jobs told Reuters in an interview after Apple reported blow-out quarterly results. "The subscription model has failed so far."

Statements like that take me back to the heady days right at the turn of the new millennium. There was a company called Palm that made all sorts of claims about what the customers did and did not want. The customers amazingly never wanted what the company didn't offer. I see a parallel here. Everyone says Microsoft can't beat Apple at this game and Apple is invincible. No, they're not.

Two of the largest services, Napster and Rhapsody, lay claim to nearly 2.3 million subscribers. Yahoo doesn't release their numbers and I could find no information about what the Zune subsciber base is. The estimated number of people who own an MP3 player in the United States is about 60 million. About 45 million people own an iPod. That leaves us with a mere 15 million people who own something else. For the time being, I'm going to pretend that only Napster and Rhapsody exist since I have no other numbers. That means that at least 15% of non-iPod owners have a subscription service.

I wouldn't be surprised if the actual number was closer to 20%. So does no one want a subscription service? Hardly. I think so many people have bought into the "me-too" craze of owning an iPod that they've totally missed out on subscriptions simply because they don't have it available.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

News Flash: 33% of Listeners Want FM Tuners

Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Talk" @ 10:00 AM


"In a Jacobs Media survey conducted between late February and March of 2007, approximately 33% of respondents in a survey consisting of over 25,000 listeners of various rock stations around the United States cited that they'd like FM radio playback on current or future iPods. Jacobs Media operates as a radio consulting firm within the United States. The poll also established that an FM playback ability seemed more important to users than an increased storage capacity, larger screen or video playback according to Macworld UK. To date, Apple has never included a built-in FM receiver with its iPod devices, leaving third-party firms to provide these features. Microsoft's Zune MP3 player, which debuted in late 2006, made a point of including FM radio support and marketing this as a missing feature not found on the iPod."

Wait a second here, 33% of radio listeners want radio tuners in their MP3 players? Shocking. Actually, I'm amazed that percentage is so low. Why would radio listeners not want an FM tuner in their player? Do they think it adds considerable cost to the device? Many manufacturers (namely everyone but Apple) proved that wrong long ago. So what's Apple's stubbornness here? Why is it they don't want people listening to the radio on their iPod? Because then they won't be interested in buying more tunes from iTunes? I suspect that's part of the reason, but as usual Apple's true motivations remain obscure.

Tags: ipod, fm, radio, tuner

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