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Microsoft Zune and Apple iPod are two different brands of portable media players. Users can play music and videos, download and utilize software applications, and connect to the World Wide Web through Wi-Fi connectivity with both devices. However, Zune and iPod also offer features unique to each device. Microsoft’s Zune allows users to play the radio, expand the storage of their devices through an external hard drive and share music with other Zune users wirelessly. Apple’s iPod, on the other hand, allows users to take photos and record videos in high-definition (HD) with iPod Touch and access thousands of premium software applications and media content from music, movies, television shows, ebooks, and podcasts through the Apple iTunes Store. Microsoft’s Zune is more affordable than Apple’s iPod but with the discontinuation of Zune products in 2009 and the continuous product development of Apple and thus enhancement of its existing products including the iPod, consumers find Apple’s iPod more appealing and valuable. Nevertheless, Zune and the iPod may have different designs and offer varied features or specifications, and the debate about which device is better will never end, but in the end, they still serve the same purpose.
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The first iPod that Apple released in 2001 was the iPod Classic. Since then, Apple continued to innovate and diversify by creating different versions of the iPod classic that the brand intended to meet various needs and demands of consumers based on price, durability, size or features. Aside from the iPod Classic, Apple now offers the handy iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, and iPod touch. The brand continuously releases new versions of these products every year as they integrate new features or update existing features on their devices. The ability of Apple to offer new products and services adds value to its products. Mreover, the exclusivity of Apple platform and its offering of thousands of applications for users make the iPod a strong contender in the market, because it is not simply a media player. The iPod offers full entertainment to users, because it allows them to do many things – listen to music, watch videos, browse the Internet, take pictures, record HD videos and share them online, or use social media networking among others.
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Zune line of portable media players was Microsoft’s response to Apple’s in 2006. Zune offered similar features to Apple’s iPod. Like iPod, Zune has a built-in memory (from 4 to 64 GB, depending on the model), a touch screen display and a circular touch pad for controls. Similarly, Zune players also support different digital audio files (MP3, WMA, AAC, etc.). However, Microsoft integrated unique features that set Zune apart from iPod. Zune allows users to expand their device memory through external hard drives in the form of memory cards, play the radio, and use their devices to transfer or exchange music with other Zune users via Wi-Fi. Despite Zune’s competitive features, it is important to note that Microsoft discontinued its production and distribution of Zune products in 2009 due to unsatisfying sales output.
Based on consumer and industry reviews, the differences between Microsoft’s Zune and Apple’s iPod can be categorized by price and value added features. When Microsoft still distributed Zune, it was priced relatively cheaper than Apple’s iPod. However, Zune was not able to compete with iPod’s unrivaled features like the integration of a retina display, camera and HD video recording and face time for newer iPod devices. Moreover, rapid application development led to significant improvements in iPod as users got to do more with their devices through added applications – read eleectronic books, listen to podcasts, surf the web, watch videos online, and use social networking applications.
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Perhaps, the discontinuation of Zune proves that Apple’s iPod is much better than Microsoft’s Zune media player. The newest iPod touch has a large touch screen with retina display, a camera, an HD video recorder and other features that Zune was not able to provide before it was discontinued. Moreover, Apple offers satisfying offerings and services for consumers and I, for one, would choose iPod over other portable media products. However, I would not be able to evaluate Microsoft Zune and Apple iPod, and say that the former is a better product than the latter or vice versa. Most people make thorough comparisons between two products prior to making purchasing decisions. If an individual is deciding whether to purchase Microsoft’s Zune or Apple’s iPod, for instance, he would make comparisons based on the price, features and technical specifications. Others refer to customer reviews, which often offer conflicting thus confusing assessments of different products. However, regardless of the features or technical specifications, people miss an important point when making purchases, because they tend to focus on the superficial aspects of products such as brand name and popularity. Overall, all products serve the same purpose. Some may be aesthetically pleasing than others, some are more durable while others are more expensive, but the important thing is that people should make purchasing decisions based on their budget, the kind of products that meet their specific needs and the product that would give them value for their money. Similar factors should be considered when comparing Zune and iPod since they are both portable media players and function in the same way, but choosing one over the other would depend on an individual’s needs, budget and preferences.
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