10. Doo-doo Brown. I mean, who wants a brown mp3 player? Yeah, they have standard black and white. But honestly, what is up with the brown? And what would possibly possess a Microsoft designer to have the inclination that a brown Zune is a good idea? I don’t want nor do I need a device in my pocket that, every time I take it out, will remind me of a thick, brown, block of human fecal matter.
9. Secrets Secrets. I was listening to the TWiT podcast this week, and one of the guys on it was going to test out one to review it. And before he got his Zune, Microsoft sent him a ridiculous agreement loaded with restrictions about what he can’t do to the Zune or say about it. Are you serious? They said that you can’t take it apart and other such things. How can you review an item without knowing how it works? What are they trying to hide? What satanic, unearthly technology do they have inside that bloated Zune shell that they want to keep from the public? I’m not a big fan of secrets. Open Source forever!
8. Childish Marketing. From what I can tell, Microsoft wants to make the Zune hip and cool and attractive (as attractive a brown brick can be). But their big marketing ploy centers around the following idea. “Zune. It’s not an iPod.” Wow. Great. So I should get a Zune simply because it’s not an iPod. Now, some will buy one for this reason alone. More power to em. But, really, how bout we market the things that are really good about the Zune instead… Unless…..
7. Fake Scroll-Wheel. Everyone has used an iPod. Whether you have one yourself or not. You have used one. You’re accustomed to the iPod scroll wheel. Well, look at the Zune. See something familiar? Behold, it appears it too has a scroll wheel… except it doesn’t. That’s just a big 4-way directional button disguised as a scroll wheel. I’ve heard from some reviewers that they intuitively try to scroll as they are accustomed to, only to grow frustrated in the fact that their emotions have been toyed with and they can only press the little buttons on the end of the faux-wheel. And don’t you have enough frustration in your life already?
6. Points… the new US currency. So, with iTunes, you want a song, you pay 99-cents. You get the song. Simple. Logical. Of course, with the Zune, we’re talking about Microsoft. So, obviously, using actual money to buy songs will not do. No, now we’re stuck in some ludicrous points-based payment system. So instead of buying a song with real money, you pre-buy a number of points (at a minimum of 5-points per pre-purchase), and then a song will cost you a certain amount of points. Can I ask, what is wrong with the American dollar? It has done so well for us the past several hundred years. I mean, honestly… I heard someone figure out that you need to buy somewhere around 495 songs from the Zune Marketplace until you reach a point where your purchases reach an even dollar amount, divisible by 5. So, you need to buy almost 500 songs or you will either have extra points left over or you will be short points. So you’re screwed or Microsoft is screwed. And you know that Microsoft isn’t going to let themselves get short-ended. So good luck with your points there, buddy.
5. 150,000 viruses and growing. Microsoft product means more viruses. You know people are going to write viruses aimed right at the Zune. And this is no fault of Microsoft. People just like attacking it. So you know you’re going to have to get some kind of funky new antivirus that will work with the Zune DRM in the files, so you will be forced to pay some crazy fee for this exclusive antivirus which probably won’t catch all the viruses and spyware anyway. Joy. Now I know some of you will say how recently some iPod were shipped with a virus on them, but lets be realistic… you know that this one virus, which didn’t even affect the iPod but just used it as a host to transfer to PC’s once connected, will be dwarfed by the amount of virus that will plague the Zune.
4. Wasted WiFi. Now, here is the one place, when I heard about it, that Microsoft could have one-upped Apple. This idea is brilliant. Built in WiFi. The possibilities are so amazing for this. But, in true Microsoft fashion, they took a great idea and pooped a steaming pile of brown Zune all over it. Here’s how it works. Zune allows you to share songs with your friends. (Great idea). You can wirelessly beam said song to said friend with the Zune’s built-in WiFi. (Even greater idea). Said friend can listen to said song on said friend’s own Zune for 3 days or 3 plays. Now, I understand the restriction. I even agree with it. But after the “trial period” for said song ends, said friend’s Zune deactivates the song… and then…. Nothing. What? Are you serious? You have a freakin WiFi built into the thing! How hard can it be for Microsoft, one of the leading tech-based companies in the world, to write some software to have the Zune use it’s built-in WiFi to connect to the Zune Marketplace and ask said friend if he/she would like to buy the song? That way said friend can continue to enjoy the song, Microsoft gets another easy song sale, and everything stays legal? What a waste. Now, I have no proof, but just watch the 6th generation iPod have improved WiFi capabilities over the Zune.
3. Tale of the Tape. In this corner, coming in at a sleek 4.41 cu-in and weighing only 4.8oz, the reigning champion, iPod. And in this corner, at a bulky 6.12 cu-in and weighing a bloated 5.6oz, the challenger, Microsoft Zune! I mean, granted, both of these devices pale in comparison to the magnitude of sizitude of their predecessors, the Walkman and Discman. But common, the Zune is massive for today’s technology. People will start asking you, “Are you happy to see me or something? Oh, that’s just your Zune in your pocket.” I mean, it’s bigger than my wallet. And what if you get mad at someone and mistakenly think your Zune is a brick and hurl it at your opponent. You may very well kill the fellow. And then you’d have to carry that on your conscience for the rest of your life. Now, I understand that the Zune has a bigger screen than the iPod. But both the iPod and Zune screens have the same resolution. So what’s the point.
2. DRMed! I hate DRM. Hate! Hate! Hate! Of course, it’s everywhere. Even the iTunes store has it. But Apple’s DRM is somewhat friendly compared to the others. And, if I really wanted to, I know how to get around it. I don’t really have the need to, though, because Apple DRM cooperates with the user to a satisfactory level. I can deal with it. Microsoft’s MSN Store had its own evil DRM that all the music is locked into. So, naturally, you’d think that the Microsoft Zune will be able to read Microsoft MSN DRM, right? Wrong. Zune doesn’t support the MSN Store’s DRM. So any of that music you bought from Microsoft before is worthless. You have to buy all your music from the new exclusive Zune Marketplace, with it’s own brand new DRM from hell. And, from what I hear, the DRM on the songs makes it very difficult, if possible at all, to transfer music or re-download were something to happen to your library. You’re just stuck.
1. What-Cast? Anyone who knows me knows that I love podcasts pretty hardcore. I’ve already started one for The Sanctuary (which you should subscribe to) and will be starting one for The Bridge as well. I mean, millions of people listen to podcasts every day, whether from iTunes or Feedburner or wherever. It’s a rapidly expanding medium to deliver content. There is so much you can use them for. And they’re just pretty cool in and of themselves. So, of course, Microsoft sees the unlimited potential of this medium and, into the Zune, incorporates NO PODCAST SUPPORT. Are you kidding me? It’s like they said, there’s a huge market for this technology, people like it, it’s easy to do and incorporate… let’s not do it. Makes perfect sense. I mean, Zune should still play the mp3 or AAC podcast files once you get them, but will not organize and maintain them as the iPod does so exquisitely. And the Zune Marketplace does not support their download, so you’ll have to get them elsewhere.
Also, a bonus reason, Zune doesn’t have a Product Red unit. iPod does. So, you can either buy a Zune and get screwed by Microsoft or buy an iPod Nano (PRODUCT)RED and help a child in Africa survive the AIDS epidemic. The choice is simple, really.