Apple’s iTV project is exactly what I have been hoping they would do – create a media link from my network to my television. Bring it on. But waiting until Q1 2007 is such a tease, although I can see if the reason were to bring in a higher bandwidth specification for wireless.
I have to wonder about the long stretch between now and launch though, and the motivation behind announcing so early. Are they concerned a competitor will release a similar box beforehand? Probably. I mean, that’s why Microsoft does vaporware announcements – to create that purchase anxiety so people will wait for their offering before buying something that already works and is available in the marketplace.
Zune, Microsoft’s attempt to piggyback on some of the iPod shine, really looks like something I stepped in last week. The thing is an obvious iPod knock-off – looking like a cheap plastic piece of crapware that I would probably find in a flea market or mounted in cardboard and plastic in the Safeway toy aisle. I actually resisted commenting on this for a while, but when I saw the brown, I had no choice. Sorry.
The announcement of the Zune certainly has generated it’s share of poopy journalism, too. What really cracks me up is how people think that the wireless DRM-protected music sharing feature is going to force Apple to somehow react. As John Gruber points out:
If the Zune were already shipping, and people were buying it, and this feature proved to be popular, then, yes, Apple would need to do something about it. Or even if the Zune had just now shipped, and we could actually see this feature and determine that it was actually pretty cool, then, maybe, Apple would need to do something about it. But the Zune is vaporware.
Not only does the Zune look like a floating steamer, but in typical Microsoft fashion, it is all just pie in the sky now and months away from actually seeing the light of day. Every competitor to the iPod has crashed and burned so far, and it doesn’t look like Zune is promising to be much different. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to see a competitor, but no-one seems to have been able to step up to the plate yet.
Nintendo’s Wii looks pretty damn sweet. And looking at the comparatively steep price points for Sony and Microsoft’s bloated systems, combined with some cool new features, I suspect it will compete just fine in the game console marketplace. With plenty of interesting games (including Zelda, Mario, and Sonic themes), an innovative (if somewhat odd) game controller solution, and it’s low price point, it should do well. I myself lean towards the Wii, simply because it’s cheap, the kids are pretty young, and no-one does that much gaming in our house anyway. (That would have been my job before, but life is busy these days…)