reading the zunes

05Nov06

zune kiosk

this pic (click for biggernator) from engadget basically says all there is to say about why like all of microsoft’s first efforts, the new zune is gonna suck. i know i’m gonna come off like a total apple fan boy here, and in some ways i am. but if you need a kiosk and a booklet – a friggin booklet – to explain the wonderful complexities of your new mp3, it will fail. it’s a friggin mp3 player, people! everyone already knows how they work. if yours is so different and confusing that you need to explain it to me, well then don’t bother.

go look at an apple store. you know how apple shows off the ipod? with a pair of headphones and a sign telling you how much it costs. it’s that easy. they’re done all the work for you. don’t hand me some bullshit about how everyone has itunes so they all know about the ipod.

you know what more people have than itunes? windows media player. but microsoft decided the zune needed to break away from that and thus they need booklets. and complicated kiosks. oh, and you can’t actually hold the zune in the kiosk. it’s locked down and sealed in tight. microsoft, these are personal devices. people choose these based on looks and feel. not just on power and features. these things need to be nice to hold and easy to use. you aren’t showing people that they’re either.

look, i’m not saying microsoft is incapable of making a decent music player, or that the zune will never succeed and the ipod will rule forever. but i am saying that this is the wrong way to sell zunes. oh, and that i think it’s gonna take at least one more version of the hardware and software before microsoft gets it right.

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6 Responses to “reading the zunes”

  1. 1 joeyjoseph

    Dear Mr. No One Sequel,
    I heard the zunes have sexbot-like skin! Is this true? I want to feel it and am worried I won’t be able to in that dark dank ciruit city crap box that will be selling these poopy pieces. Please touch it for me if you can.

    Thank you,

    Joe

  2. 2 Jocko

    I think the term Zune-Tard comes to mind…

  3. 3 Lori

    I beg to differ sir. Have you ever used iTunes? Did you notice the part where you can copy all your music to your iPod but if you want to share that with a friend, it’s impossible?

    Don’t believe me? Go try it. Go over to your friend’s house, copy your music onto their computer via iTunes, and then, tell me how to get that music out of the iTunes library?

    Oh and say your hard drive crashes and you try to add some new music to your iPod. You’re going to have to wait 40 minutes while iTune pulls all your music on your iPod off and copies it to your computer before you can add your new music.

    No no, you enjoy your iPod and the ugly filesystem it uses that’s very incompatible with PCs. Have fun with that.

    I’ll stick with my Creative Labs Mp3 player.. as ugly as you might think it is, it functions like a 60GB mp3 player should: like a portable hard drive. So if I have pictures or files, I can put them on it too, and just copy it off when I want to! Love it!

    -Lori

  4. 4 F

    Maybe you don’t remember the days before there was an Apple Store next to every Starbucks. The days when pushing an iPod was a new thing. The days when an iPod was an expensive thing. The days when Apple was just about off the map, and Jobs was struggling. An iPod is a personal thing, that everyone and their cat now has, but before Apple was cranking out millions of these things, they had them on lockdown, just like the Zunes are. Apple now has capitol that they can re-invest into a controlled envoronment called an Apple store. The iPod was a gamble for Jobs, and it paid off. The Zune is kind of a gamble for Microsoft. Microsoft doesn’t really gamble though, when you think about how much money they can simply throw away and not even wince a little. The X-Box hardware was a hands down money loss for Microsoft, but they only created the hardware to enter the game software rights market (for which they’ve cleaned up on). Microsoft isn’t dumb, either. They won’t waste time and money on building a store, and hiring staff to help you understand a product if it isn’t going to actually sell.
    Apple now has whole stores dedicated to just Apple stuff, with 2 salesmen for every station, watching, and helping you understand. They don’t care if you break the store demo, they’ve got 250 boxes of them in the back. They can have a new one back on the floor in minutes. The Apple Store is not your neighborhood-run “Mac store.” That was not always the case. That is not the case with the Zune right now. Microsoft wanted to ensure that they had a durable product that can be seen by many people before they have to ship real units. How many people from the public do you want breaking your hardware in a Circuit City, with no one to replace it for the first crucial weeks of a new product release? We’ve all come upon that display of a new wow product, only to be turned off by a broken unit that some 3 year-old got a hold of.
    If there were Microsoft stores, this would be a different story.
    Please just step back and try to compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges. I see you are dissapointed that you can’t fondle it as much as you’d like – say that. You don’t even understand what you are talking about. There are whole studies that go on for this kind of thing. Play at something else.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t like the Zune, or the iPod. Further, I think that Microsoft is releasing the Zune simply to get more mindshare on their name – just to have the Microsoft name riding around in more pockets, and be more visible to newcomers to the market. Apple has won a lot of computer sales based upon the spoils of the iPod, and I think Redmond would like to have that same benefit.

  5. 5 joeyjoseph

    UPDATE: Saddly, I went to a Best Buy twice this week to play with the Zunes. What shocked me was that they’re much much uglier in person. And people have been at least diggin’ their UI, which I think they just mean the pretty portrait screen, cause I consider UI to be the whole User Interface, and boy, it aint that great. The bodies of the Zunes appear upon a second glance to still be made of some sort of northwest pacific feces. Can anyone confirm? I’m no Ross Lovegrove, but I am and ID major, and I can honestly say it looks like a REALLY VERY WELL DONE prototype for a REALLY ugly junior’s project in some of the ID classes I’ve taken. I’ve got classmates who shouldn’t be ID majors coming up with better designs.

    You guys are awesome! 🙂 First, Lori, give one of us a buzz, we can show you iTunes magic in about 20 secons.
    Second, Most Apple Stores really are the neighborhood “mac store” at this point. Let me put it this way, when you walk into a Best Buy, or a Circuit City, do they say “Hey Joe, how’ve you been”??? Nope, never, unless your 17 and you’re going to bug your buddies who work there. Take my word for it, at MOST Apple Stores its like “Cheers”. They’ve got their Norms, their cliffs, their woodys, etc.
    If there were MS stores….well….we’re all smart enough to think that one through.. Just like the Apple Store, all of the computers would be sporting that lovely blue desktop… only it wouldn’t be that OS X swirly thing if you know what I mean. Wouldn’t it be awesome though! Could you imagine if MS had retail store along the lines of the Apple ones! HOLY CRAP! They’d need about 90% of their space for their version of the Genius Bar! And you KNOW its true! ZING! 🙂

  6. Good info. Lucky me I recently found your site by accident (stumbleupon).
    I’ve book marked it for later!


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