Microsoft’s Zune HD to Take On Apple’s iPod Touch

Longtime readers of Geek Force Five will no doubt know that I am an Apple fanboy to the core. But, I have written previously about how some of the things that Microsoft is doing with its Zune line of media players and its Zune Pass music service are very intriguing to me.

Today, Engadget broke the news that a new version of the Zune is coming this fall, a Zune HD. The product is supposedly going to be positioned as an iPod Touch alternative. The specs mentioned in the Engadget piece and on Microsoft’s official page for the product aren’t bad, but I think the killer feature, the one that apparently hasn’t been announced yet, is the rumored integration with the Xbox. Apple has done a lot to position iPod Touch as a gaming device—there are billboards proclaiming it as such all along the walk I take each morning in Boston—but it’s going to need to do a lot more to sway gamers who see the Zune HD and go, “Hey, that fits in with the gaming system I already have.”

My suggestion to Apple: get games on the Apple TV, at least in some limited form, and let the iPhone and iPod Touch act as controllers. They already work as media center remotes for the device, so why not?

Anyway, I think this’ll be very interesting. I’m glad to see that Microsoft isn’t giving up on this market. I think they have a lot to offer, and that their presence on the scene is only going to make Apple work that much harder to produce awesome stuff.