Apple iPod versus Microsoft Zune

Zune versus iPod

When Apple’s iPod first came out what seems an age ago, it was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant MP3 market. Not only did it look gorgeous, with Apple’s usual style to the fore, but it made downloading songs easier than ever, thanks to the iTunes store, where you could purchase the latest single songs or whole albums for very little cost.

Newer versions offered video playback and games, with an impressive display screen to boot, and it seemed that Apple had the market sewn up. However, with the introduction of Microsoft’s Zune last year, things became a lot more competitive. With the financial clout that Microsoft has, not to mention the technical knowledge their engineers have, the Zune offered features that the older iPod didn’t have.

Now, however, Apple has released an updated version of their iPod technology, so is there a particular one you should go for? It all really depends on your needs, and how many of the features you’ll actually use:

Size. Due to the fact that the Zune has a larger screen than the iPod (3 inches compared to the 2.5 inches of the iPod), the Zune is a bigger piece of equipment, and this may work against it. Weighing 6 ounces compared to the iPod’s 4.8 ounces, it’s also heavier. However, this is offset by the extra features that the Zune has.

Storage. At the moment, the Zune is only available in a 30GB model (the comparisons here are with the equivalent iPod). This can hold up to 7,500 songs or 100 hours of video, as well as almost 25,000 digital pictures. Apple offers various versions of their iPod, so there is more choice when it comes to memory if you buy an iPod.

Interface. While both units use a scrolling wheel click system to navigate the various menus, the iPod can often be a pain, requiring you to come out of your chosen menu to reach another one. The Zune, on the other hand, allows multiple menus to be displayed, and is a lot easier to navigate due to the larger screen.

File sharing. If you have a laptop with wi-fi capabilities (wireless internet), then you’ll be right at home with a Zune. Transferring songs or files between two Zunes is relatively easy, and is an option that iPod currently doesn’t feature.

Software. This is an area where Microsoft still trails Apple by a large amount. One of the things that Apple have enjoyed major success with is their iTunes store, which allows users of both Macs and PC’s to download music, movies, TV shows and more onto their iPods. At the moment, Zunes are not compatible with Macs, and there is only music available at their online store. This is sure to change, but for the time being, the Zune is sorely lacking in this area.

With similar features on both machines (with the exception of the file sharing), the Zune and the iPod have a lot going for them. However, the iPod probably just scrapes through overall as the better option, due to the compatibility with Macs and PC’s, as well as a far more impressive online store. For now, that is.

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