So, I was thinking about getting a Zune for myself today. I had shown the zune site to my girlfriend last night and she thought it was pretty neat. So, I call her and let her know I'm heading out to pick up my Zune and she tells me to get two, because that is what she wants for Christmas (mind you, I had previously offered to buy her an iPod for Christmas when she mentioned she needed an MP3 player, and she wasn't all that interested). I swing by her work for lunch and we go down to Best Buy, where we have to stand in line just to get a look at it (and they said there wasn't going to be any lines). We walk away happy customers with a Zune for each of us.
Some Zune thoughts:
1) My girlfriend mentioned at least 5 times how pretty the package was. This is coming from an extremely trendy girl who won't be seen in public with a purse that isn't from Gucci or some other high end store, not your average tech nerd.
2) We went to eat lunch afterward and the person sitting next too us leaned over and asked, "Is that the new Zune from Microsoft?" Apparently, the marketing is getting out.
3) Everyone is dinging the Zune sharing because of the 3-play DRM... but the fact is that the DRM is a non issue. If you buy a Zune, you are most likely going to sign up for the Zune pass, which gives you unlimited music downloads per month for slightly more than the price of a single album. That means you don't have to pay the song after 3 days, because you have unlimited downloads (I'll check tonight and see what the end-user experience is when you have the Zune pass). Additionally, there is plenty of value in sharing things like the latest episode of Dot Net Rocks or your favorite podcast... which won't place any DRM restrictions on you.
4) Although the iPod looks slightly better in a display case, it smudges as soon as your hands touch it. You can never keep it clean. My iPod was all scratched and smudged in a matter of days, the Zune casing is a lot more durable and can actually handle being touched without needing to be wiped down every 10 minutes. Unlike an iPod or PS3, it should handle being placed in the pants just fine.
5) So what if my MSN music downloads don't play on the Zune. I have unlimited downloads with my Zune pass, so it really doesn't matter. I'll just redownload the ones I still listen to.
Installation time and experience can definately be improved, but that's a one time thing. It wasn't really a bad experience, just took longer than I think it should have. Overall, my impression is that Microsoft is right on target.