Skip navigation

AppleInsider jumps the shark, declares Zune HD 'failed'

While I wait for what I just know will be hugely positive reviews of the Zune HD from Walter Mossberg and David Pogue (after all, these guys treat Apple product launches like just-discovered new books of the Bible), I can at least point to some of the crazy silliness coming out of the Apple fan base. AppleInsider--which, by the way, I actually like quite a bit normally since they're not usually this partisan--has written an absolutely insane and uncalled-for anti-Zune HD article. I've gotten a lot of email about it, and while I'd like to just ignore it, I am afraid that people will assume it's all true. What they're presenting are five myths of the Zune HD. Actually, it's four non-myths and one completely made up issue, but whatever. Let's waste just a little bit of time on this stupidity. (And you have to think that if Apple had adopted any of the stuff they're complaining about, AppleInsider would have been tripping all over itself congratulating the company.)

Myth 1: OLED is a great display technology for mobile devices

Not a myth. The OLED display on the Zune HD blows away the screen on any iPod or iPhone, sorry. Looked at side by side, inside or out, there is no comparison. This is especially true if you view the screen off-center. The OLED screen looks good at all angles. With the iPod touch, you find yourself fidgeting with it to get the screen to look better. (You can't tilt the Zune HD away from you enough to make it look bad. With the iPod touch, it's only OK when perfectly on center, and even then it's not nearly as good as the Zune HD.)

And while these shots don't do the real-world differences proud, they're at least representative.

Put simple, OLED isn't just "great" display technology for mobile devices. It's the superior technology, period.

Myth 2: NVIDIA's Tegra processor leapfrogs existing mobile processors

Again, not a myth. Both devices utilize an ARM processor at the core, but the NVIDIA design builds off of that with supporting chipsets for storage and video that improve performance and battery life. It can drive HD displays up to 1280 x 1050, unlike the iPod touch. But the real proof is in the using. And unlike AppleInsider, I've used the new iPod touch and Zune HD side-by-side. Zune HD performance is excellent, sorry. The iPod touch is no slouch. But to call these two devices anything but competitive is disingenuous.

Myth 3: Zune HD is mobile HD

No one claimed Zune HD was "mobile HD." The Zune HD supports HD output at 720p and includes an HD radio receiver, and Microsoft is very clear about that. The iPod touch does neither, with a dock or otherwise. Neither does any other portable Apple device.

Myth 4: Zune HD delivers high definition radio

Not a myth. I was just using this feature a few minutes ago. It does indeed deliver HD radio. And as AppleInsider notes, "Analog radio isn't going away." Good thing Microsoft realizes this. Because the Zune HD includes a standard FM radio tuner too. Unlike the iPod touch. And like every other Zune before it.

Myth 5: Zune HD games and software will wow you

This is the one actual myth, but it's also one of AppleInsider's creation, as no one ever claimed that. What Microsoft is doing is providing a number of small applications and games to Zune HD customers, for free, as a benefit of buying into their platform. Over time, they can and will open up the so-called Zune apps store to outside developers. (Witness yesterday's release of the Zune HD-compatible developer tools.) But this is just the first step in what is essentially a new platform. And remember that the Zune is really about entertainment, pure and simple. The Zune HD delivers on its core functionality quite nicely. No one questions that Apple has created a tremendous Apps platform, exclusionary as it may be.

Despite the hype, the Zune HD appears to have failed before even hitting the market.

Sure. And despite the hype, AppleInsider has absolutely failed to give the Zune HD a fair chance. We get it, Apple doesn't make it, so it must suck. But we also get that if Apple had released this product, it would have gotten a hugely favorable review. From you. From the Wall Street Journal. And from the New York Times. But thanks for trying.

There are a number of other inaccuracies in this poorly researched blog post around "Microsoft's standard operating procedure" (actually, Apple's, as it turns out), and the supposedly poor quality of mobile IE on the Zune. (Surprise! It's shockingly good.) But what can you expect from someone who wrote a post about a product that a) competes with the company they love, and b) they've never even seen let alone used?

I'm calling BS on this one, sorry.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.