The much ballyhooed ZuneHD is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com with a retail price of $219.99 for the 16GB model and $289.99 for the 32GB model (sadly, there is no 64GB model at this time). The release date for the ZuneHD is set for September 15, 2009, which is allegedly one week after Apple’s annual music event, (speculators say it will occur during the “week of” September 7, and quite possibly on September 9, 2009). If you’re in the market for a new mp3 player, as of today, the cheapest 32GB iPod Touch you can buy is $359 at Adorama (in store only), which makes a 32GB ZuneHD look pretty attractive at $289. However, according to numerous Internet rumours and a recent TechCrunch article the new iPod Touch 3.1 (which is pretty much a certainty at this point) will contain a camera and a microphone and come in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB varieties, with the 32GB version being priced at $299. If, in fact, the price differential comes down to a mere $10, no matter how good it is, I think the ZuneHD will once again face a huge uphill battle in stealing any market share away from Apple. Futhermore, MG Siegler from TechCrunch makes a good point in regards to the timing of the Zune release:
What I’d really like to know is who plans these events for Microsoft? How on Earth didn’t they not realize that Apple has an iPod event pretty much every year now in the first few days of September? I’m sure it would have been a big pain in the ass, but why not put everything you have into ramping up production earlier and getting it to market before Apple can respond? [TechCrunch.com]
As for me, I’ve been jonseing for a large capacity iPod Touch since, well, pretty much since the original 4GB/8GB iPhones were announced (iPod Touches didn’t actually even exist then). Up until now, I’ve actually been holding out for something like a 100GB iPod Touch, but since I don’t see that happening anytime soon and I’m pretty interested in the app store, I guess I’ll settle for a “compact” 64GB model (should it actually be released this year).