Tried to read the whole thread but may have missed a few things.
I have a few points that address some of the issues that were brought up.
I know the original point is that Zune looks like iPod but design is not the beginning or the end of any product story. Here are my points:
Apple did not come up with the idea if the iPod.
Tony Fadell did while at Philips. He tried to get Philips to produce it but the marketers some of you complain about did not take it up. Without the other business disciplines, designers would be poor artists.
It looks like an iPod.
For the given constraints that a device like this has, and given what the suppliers are capable of that can produce a product like this, combined with the nature of the MP3 player competitive landscape, I think MS designers did a good job.
I do not think other designers could do better under the same political and competitive landscape.
If a supplier is capable of producing quality products then they have something similar to Apples products that you can buy off the shelf. (faster and cheaper but still ok for the first player)
Some suppliers wonâ€™t work with you because they have Apple contracts. You may be a great designer but having it produced is something different.
This is not to make excuses for MS designers but just to give some small insight on what it takes to design and produce a product such as this. This is not a low end MP3 player with thousands of technically able suppliers available. There are a huge number of constraints with something like this.
Also, as much as I wish that everyone had and made their buying decisions on their design sensibilities, sadly most of the world doesnâ€™t know or care enough to do that.
This could be an iPod killer.
There were many other MP3 players before Apple used Tonyâ€™s idea and made the iPod. It was not the player that dominated, but the ability to easily access and use the content that made it a success. (â€œthe whole ideaâ€) If MS has a better offering, then Apple will lose market share or better yet, MS will create a bigger market.
Apple does not have a strangle hold on the world, just the US.
iTunes is not available in Asia. So they donâ€™t care that much about â€œthe whole ideaâ€. Gaming is huge in Asia and if MS can offer something that addresses gaming, a P2P network, or communications then 3 billion people will be buying Zune players.
Aigo sells ten players in China for every one Apple sells. Also too many fake iPods, so the cool factor has been diluted.
Transferring your content to a player is done much different in Asia and Europe. MS â€œplays for sureâ€ sucked but zune should be much better. This should work well in a non-iTunes market.
I too would like to hear from the MS designers. Hearing case studies always teaches me something. This is why I love the C77 forums.