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  • Apple and Microsoft's Big Auditions

    Image via Washington Post

    In this morning's Washington Post, Rob Pegorano presents an interesting suggestion - one that challenges us to view Microsoft and Apple as two major companies auditioning for new roles in our lives.

    We need to retire the term "MP3 player." Not only do the newest media gadgets from Apple and Microsoft play more music formats than MP3 -- in addition to showing photos and videos -- they also fill some roles once reserved for high-end smartphones. They can even replace an old transistor radio.
    Pegorano suggests that as consumers have demanded more from their "MP3 players," Apple and Microsoft have so far exhibited weaknesses in their attempts to give us what we want. In short, Apple and Microsoft may be paying too much attention to one another and not enough attention to us. Apple's updated iPod nano and Microsoft's Zune HD, for example, do their jobs in providing music but they haven't elevated their game adequately elsewhere.

    With regard to the new nano, Pegorano says the video camera is an "awkward addition."

    Its lens is too easy to cover with a stray finger, and it deals poorly with low light and moving subjects. In good light, it can record decent clips, but their low resolution (640 by 480 pixels) and dull colors make them a better fit for YouTube than your HDTV.
    Next on Pegorano's radar is Microsoft's Zune HD, which he calls "a much more ambitious attempt -- but maybe not ambitious enough."

    It falls into a gap between simpler players like older Zunes and full-fledged, Internet-enabled gadgets such as Apple's iPod touch.
    Its easy to see today's Washington Post article as a hatchet job, but I don't see it that way. I see it as a challenge to Apple and Microsoft to ... well, stop competing with each other and start competing with themselves to better fill the new role consumers need them to fill. Although his commentary suggests that Microsoft, for example, deserves some degree of commendation for honestly striving to compete with Apple in the game that Apple has perennially dominated, Microsoft is "going to have to do more than ship flashy hardware that compares favorably with last year's iPods."

    The same, of course, can be said of Apple. Instead of rushing sloppy updates or unimpressive upgrades just to make the MP3 players of yesterday a little flashier today won't cut it. And to many, that's what it seems Apple and Microsoft are only interested in doing for now.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple and Microsoft's Big Auditions started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. consultant's Avatar
      consultant -
      Quote Originally Posted by plcrules View Post
      i really like the UI of the zune
      but if apple had an oled screen i bet it would make up for it
      You do know OLED is not better than LCD?

      OLED is good when it's dark, but doesn't work as well under sun light.

      Zune HD vs iPod touch
      Microsoft Zune HD vs Apple iPod touch 3G, Feature Comparison | Obama Pacman

      Quote Originally Posted by badass1469 View Post
      I think that the new nano is retarted as hell, i say f the nano and put the camera into the new ipod touch, but not some !t camera but a decent one, like the one in the 3GS. Oh and video recording as well not just pics.
      Due to the thinness, auto focus camera like that in the iPhone 3gs cannot fit into iPod touch.

      Quote Originally Posted by sziklassy View Post
      What I don't understand is why the nano doesn't take pictures? I take pics far more often than I take videos...
      They said people are typically more particular about photo quality than video quality, and due to the tiny size of the video camera, videos are fine but it's hard to make great photos.
    1. mdc929's Avatar
      mdc929 -
      Quote Originally Posted by BenzoHartt View Post
      Nice article. I'm glad i have my iPhone, it's all of the above. :-)
      Quote Originally Posted by StealthBravo View Post
      I agree. One stop device
      deff the best decision ive made with my money concerning an "MP3 player"
      love my iPhone
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      I agree. I would take a knife for my iPhone
    1. mattharris85's Avatar
      mattharris85 -
      Quote Originally Posted by StealthBravo View Post
      I would take a knife for my iPhone
      Anyone thats ever laid a finger on one would.