Details continue to leak out concerning Microsoft’s upcoming Zune portable media player. Today we have tons of new information on Zune including its design, user interface, and much talked about WiFi. There is also a new black and white image of a black Zune complete with headphones.
The first bit of information covers was presumed to be a touch sensitive click wheel on the face of the device. Not so according to iLounge. Instead, the wheel features four buttons (play/pause, menu and up/down scroll). The user interface has some nice touches including large album art due to the Zune's massive screen, customizable wallpaper and a larger capitalized letter that pops up on the screen as you scroll through your music library to tell you which part of the alphabet that you're on. Other details provided include an integrated FM tuner and the fact the Zune is larger than a 30GB 5G iPod and is made entirely of plastic. As for the integrated WiFi, here's iLounge's take:
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 Zune’s, 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. You may also be able to spool Zune music to a Wi-Fi-enabled Xbox 360, which again is a cool idea, but requires a $100 wireless adapter and the $300-400 console.
Whether all of the above is enough to convert the iPod faithful over to the dark side remains to be seen. iPod users are a loyal bunch and they always seem to come back for more. Microsoft may be able to pluck a few fresh buyers from the sidelines, but the road to any sizeable market share will be a long one.