Microsoft Announces iPod touch Zune HD!

So, two and a half years ago Microsoft released what was basically their version of the 2005 video iPod. Now, some two years after Apple released the iPod touch, WMExperts (via Engagdet and CNET) tells us Microsoft has confirmed... the Zune HD, a wide screen, capacitive, solid-state media player.

At 272x480, it's not quite as wide as the iPhone's 360x480, much less the high-end Windows Mobile handsets like the Touch HD's 480x800. But like we said, it is capacitive (which is strangely still unsupported by WinPho) and what pixels it has are OLED, which will hopefully motivate Apple to give the next generation iPhone the same treatment.

Other features include HD radio support and something nobody can believe they didn't do from the outset: integrate it with the Xbox product line.

We're still left wondering, however, is this really a business Microsoft needs to be in? Wouldn't Zune resources have been better used to get Windows Mobile 7 out last year instead of next when it could be, you know, competitive?!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 56 comments. Add yours.

Daniel Sendecki says:

It's not ugly at all. To each his own, I guess.

Mitchel Tyrell says:

I think it looks pretty good. I'd like to see how well the OLED screen does in sunlight.

juanlu says:

Just throw a phone inside that thing et voila.. Microsoft's rival for iPhone. I wouldn`t be surprised if Microsoft splits its phone software in two: the WinMo line and a new Zune(phone) line.

jeffdc5 says:

Bah when did the itouch come out and don't give me the bs line that "apple didn't do it first" everybody is trying to cash in on what apple packaged together good luck to the boys in redmond. I converted to apple two years ago and ill never go back.

iShirk says:

Copy Apple more microsoft...
jeez this is disgusting

dloveprod says:

Why would anyone get this over an iPod touch

OmariJames says:

I like this design but it looks sorta 1st gen iPhone-esque.
My best friend would love this.

meh says:

Social marketplace is horrible and i cant find a thing the whole interface confuses me and much like lots of other stuff is that its: over done, over enginered, over thought, and overly complex. Remember this: keep it simple... And very very slowly make it it better by keeping it simple and 100% problem free

icebike says:


Why would anyone get this over an iPod touch

1) Price
2) Avoid iTunes
3) Microsoft Fanboys
4) Xbox owners
My bet is it will be cheaper. It looks cheaper.
But don't discount the number of Microsoft believers out there that might buy it to avoid Apple.
But, knowing Microsoft, I'm betting it has more DRM lock-ins than Apple when all is said and done.

The Reptile says:

I wonder if it's going to run a mobile OS like the iPod Touch. That would make more sense than to continue to invest in a Zune OS that doesn't sell.

Freiteez says:

I have an xbox360 and I thought the first du e was ugly. Idont like this one either. I'm happy with my iPhone.

Nice says:

@12 It does run a mobile OS: windows CE as I recall. That's why you can write XNA applications/games that run on it. They just put their own UI on it (which is so much nicer than the Windows Mobile UI)

iSkythe says:

Didn't the Macintosh come before the PC? Microsoft has been copying Apple since then, and this is no different.

gibhyder says:

I think it looks really good. The Steel casing is far nicer than the iPod touch/iPhone.

Magma9495 says:

I think it looks really nice, good design, would look even better in black :D

mashono says:

I just can't see this competing with the iPod Touch. It might take Microsoft a little bit to catch up and Apple will be off even farther. However, I do like the intergration with XBox

stuffradio says:

Quit your yapping Apple Fanboys. Are you scared it will compete with the iTouch? If not, don't even speak. If you are, be my guest and keep bashing Microsoft.
I own Apple, Microsoft and Linux stuff... there is no point in limiting yourself to one brand.

striatic says:

why not have zune engineers work on windows 7?
"mythical man month"

MattyFresh says:

its not that i think its ulgy i just think its sad to copy the origionali iphone come on your rich think up somthing on your own

Blake 2 says:

I'm just interested in the OLED screen. I want that in the next gen iPhone. This will sell if they market it right.

Blake 2 says:

And to everyone talking about Microsoft being a follower...why is this such a big deal? Isn't every website a follower of the original? Mercedes was the first motorized car, I'm glad there were followers once upon a time. I enjoy Apple's products as much as the next guy but come on. Just because it doesn't have an Apple logo doesn't mean it belongs in the toilet.

frog says:

I think the Zune team should take over the WinMo team.

Wyatt says:

This device looks very sterile and unlike Microsoft. I don't believe they designed it.
@Blake 2. I don't think it's the following but the direct copying of Apple that people are annoyed with. A company as massive as Microsoft should be forging their own way not relying on what others have already done.

LorStar says:

Why doesn't Microsoft stick to making software. For the most popular platform - the iPhone.
That's the only way they will continue or they will quickly slip away...

raffya says:

Totally agree. AMEN

dNoob says:

I remember my old 30 gb zune, it had a big screen but the interface sucked, it's about time they added touchscreen to it. I for one will not buy it. Just glad to see the zune finally has a touchscreen.

ShevonJames says:

Microsoft can only go so far as to where Apple will lead them.
Microsoft is the Dollar store or the generic brand if that of high quality products.
Mircosoft has majority of every computer using their operating system on PC computers though, but HI, I'M A MAC
And I've made more money with my MacBook designing Photobooks in my spare time for others than I ever would have with a PC. But I'm not sure PC'S do those type of cools little diddys like iPhoto with Mac's.
Or better yet one could make ton of money troubleshooting PC. Now I see why Best Buy has the Geek Squad. It's all coming to together.

Mike says:

i have to say :) it's really entertaining to read all your apple fanboy comments on this blog whenever there's a post that relates to anything microsoft
to each their own and both ms and apple suck in different ways.. and honestly, it takes a retard not to notice that;
having said this, it's still fun to read all you guys give out about ms doing this or that and yet while using your beloved mac gadgets, you can't be on skype and check your email at the same time... lame!
and in case someone wondered, apart from a few ms gadgets, i own an iphone 3g too

frog says:

Email checks in the background Mike, so you can check your email while on Skype. Perhaps your iPhone is faulty?

Alex says:

Is this not the 'IPHONEblog'? Apple users are loyal to the brand and are protective when people blatantly steal. Perhaps you should direct your hostility to the author for using this story to draw out the passion. Or, have a drink and calm the @$&? down.

iShirk says:

Mike go troll somewhere else loser

Joe McG says:

I still can't copy and paste or send MMS guys. Let's keep in mind what you're vigorously defending...

zeagus says:

Defending a brand gets you nothing, they want your loyalty and your money, they don't actually care about you beyond that, any of them. Blind loyalty still means you are blind. Go with whoever has the best product - in mobiles that's probably Apple right now, but you bet your ass when that's not the case I'll be buying whatever IS the best product. As far as Desktop OS, I use Vista, XP, and Max OS X and Vista is the least problematic of the three for me. Trash talking someone for their OS choice is idiotic (unless they are evangelizing for WinME or AIX, those things are piles of shit ;)). Complaining about people copying (which is an interesting bit of contortion seeing as most are copying Apple having said it, not coming up with it themselves) in the home computer industry is incredibly silly - there are few more incestuous industries around today. MS and Apple routinely steal from each other and Linux.

Irishdude84 says:

It does look like the original Iphone, but I liked how the original Iphone looked. I hope it does well, because if it does then Apple will build something better. More competition=better products.

dloveprod says:

@icebike how does it interact with xbox?

Ana says:

Nice. The black one is absolutely gorgeous.

Truth says:

I think it looks slick. I like the metal look.

Truth says:

Why do Apple fanboys act like Apple is the only inventive company?
Dah M$FT stole wtha we haz!
Does the Ipod touch output video at 720P or do HD Radio?

iphonemilk says:

I have a Mac, I also have a Windows 7 PC. I'm also a Engineer by professions that works with Microsoft products.
I also have an iPhone.
I also have a PS3 and an Xbox, a DS, and a Wii.
Phew! now that i've gotten all the Future Fanboy arguements out of the way. (gotta throw in the idiot blockers)
With all that said. I love my Xbox, I've owned a Zune before.
Few talking points.

  1. for those of you who say people will buy the zune to get away from iTunes.. well that is just foolish. have you ever seen the Zune marketplace before? it's a joke compared to the iTunes library. I even subscribed to a Zune pass.. and get this what most of you don't know, The ZUNE PASS only covers certain songs and albums in the library. NOT ALL of them. So when i went to go download songs with my zunepass i was quickly disappointed that i could not, they weren't zunepass eligible.
  2. For those of you who say to get this because you own an Xbox. What for? what features am i going to use?
    not only that. Owning an Xbox, and now an Xbox 360 I can tell you i have not COPIED a single SONG or movie, or PICTURE to my xbox once, What for? what's the point? Why go out of my way to take music off my pc and place it on my xbox. So i ask again, what would the point be to integrate the Zune with the Xbox.

Here's the bottom line people. microsoft is making mistakes here. it seems that they ARE indeed trying... but it's like they are walking half way and not finishing the race.
--- THIS IS WHAT microsoft NEEDS to do---
Dump the Windows Mobile OS, make a new one.
Keep the Capacitive touch route (seems they are doing this with the new Zune)
Make the ZUNE into a Phone
Integrate Windows LIVE with the ZUNE>PC>Xbox.
Now you've got yourself a Device.
Signing into my Zune phone will show my friends who are playing their Xboxes that i'm signed in and ill chat with them. Playing GAMES on my Zune phone will award me Achievements towards my Xbox Windows live Gamer Score.
My musical library will be on all 3 devices, Xbox PC and my zunephone.
Boom now weve got an Award winning, AWESOME device.
until these things happen. Don't waste your money.

Lequang242 says:

Kool! A little competition is good for us CONSUMER$

max franklin says:

welcome to heaven
here is your IPOD/Iphone
welcome to h3ll
here is your zune....
by the way, whats a zune???
see ya real zune at the apple store

Lol @ Macfags says:

Who knew all the kids here drink the Cupertino flavored Kool-Aid.
Id rather have a Zune over a garbage iPod anyday. Maybe you should actually look at a video where the Zune is running, cause it looks to me to be better than the Touch as it stands

uber_panda says:

Is anyone noticing that most of the Apply fanboys are just saying "Boo! Zune Sucks!" without giving any real support? While the Microsoft supporters are stating their opinion with much more maturity?

newsflash says:

To my fellow microsoft fans...
We tend to prefer a product that endorses superior functionality. One that includes great features, and the capability of our devices to have the steam to run them. This is something, no matter WHAT you do, that you cannot convince an apple fanboy. S/he will always prefer design to functionality, and bash any device that threatens their ego.
The Zune HD as it appears in the videos and specifications appears to be an excellent device, one which is (and even apple users should admit) superior in hardware without question. But you all must realize, that this is not a new development. Zune, Windows, Windows Mobile, and mostly every other device Microsoft has pumped out over the years has been much more powerful and capable than any of Apple's products. So why doesn't the Zune absolutely trump any and all of the iStuff?
Marketing. The one thing that many facets of Microsoft just couldn't grasp correctly. Not because they are less capable, rather, they haven't NEEDED to! Microsoft has dominated the computer industry since the dinosaur age, and that's not changing anytime soon. With the recent boost in Apple sales (which in absolute terms is astonishing, but only pennies in relative terms) Microsoft is slowly getting into the game. They'll catch their stride in advertising, and when they do, Apple fanboys will once again go into hiding until Jobbs jerks out something else to get people uselessly excited.
The process has already begun. The design of this new Zune is the first (and biggest) obstacle that Microsoft needed to overcome, and they did. The product is sleek and refined, and quite sophisticated looking to boot. The key to marketing is having a marketable product, and the ZuneHD has the looks...All it will take is a well structured marketing campaign.
It may not be six months, a year, or even two years. But mark my words, if Microsoft doesn't find a way to screw this beauty up (which i think they've learned their lesson) then the clock is ticking on Apple's hold on the PMP market...tick tock doc..

kevin says:

why do apple fans get so mad!!! LOL LOL!!!!

Mitchell says:

Some things to consider.
Radio is lame. Let me listen to precisely what I want when I want it. iTunes radio was lame.
720p output. Personally I can see how this could be wanted, but at the same time it would be rarely used by me. I don't want to waste the space on my player for files it can't even use to its full potential. A home network, flash drive, or hard drive, with an xbox or appletv is much more useful.
Obviously the developer support will be much larger on the iPod touch.
Compatibilty. I'd rather have a player that is supported natively on both operating systems....
Price. I can get a free iPod when I go to university....

freetouch says:

yay finaly found a blog with some decent info.

pik says:

wow im surprised that this is a zune

Zack says:

Screws? hummm easy modding....

David says:

The only reason most of you guy/girls are saying bad things about zune or any other prducts is because you are all stuck up and wont accept anything that is not apple... i can tell you guys that Zune is only comming out with a touch because everyone thinks its freaking cool to touch the screen and for it to correspond. Apple is not the best computer/mp3 player makers. They make it sound like you need to have a apple product or your not cool or "Hip". Microsoft has been out way longer then Apple. I think you should trust something else... then just one brand. I mean come on guys to use apple products you need to use more Apple products they try to suck you in and take all your money! They dont even have a subscription for music, so to get 1,000 songs I would have to pay 1,000 dollars that is such a waste! Zune has a Zune pass 14.99 a month is affordable. Just keep in mind other products are just as good or even better. Just stop making fun of other products Apple has many flaws... The touch screen doesnt work have the time when you want to scrool down. Try to turn your ipod for a landscape look... doesnt move. To search for something is a pain because it picks up different buttons that you dont mean to push down. My point is Apple is not that good like everyone says. They have just as many problems as every other companys do.

Steve says:

This is an interesting blog, but I think that the point is being missed; unless the point is mindless company bashing (then I've missed the point).
The reason that any company gets into business is one of economics. If there is room in the market (demand), then companies that can meet the barrier-to-entry will enter (and create supply); that is, if they think they can compete and make money. It is like this for every market that is consumer based.
If only one company were interested in each market, then there would be very few innovations because competition would not exist and, in the end, we'd all have really crappy stuff because there would be no reason for any company to improve their "thing." This trickles down to suppliers too.
In addition, in order for a company to continue to create value for its investors, it must exploit markets as they emerge. The pmp market, while no longer an emerging one, is still going strong because technology is continuing to improve at an impressive rate. So Microsoft and Apple, along with many others, continue to invest heavily in the pmp market because there is still money to be made, in particular, for the investors.
So, it's not really about copying a product or an idea (there is a patent system to protect that, whether it works or not is a different topic); it's about exploiting a market that has yet to run its course.
Since it takes hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a product like the iPod or Zune, it takes companies with the resources of Microsoft and Apple to do it.
The result is that we get really cool toys, which IS the point!!!