ABI: Zune Appeals to iPod Users

Fans of Apple’s Macintosh computers are known for their unswerving product loyalty, and while Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs has recently gone on record as saying he sees no immediate threat to the iPod’s dominance of the portable media player market…do iPod owners have the same loyalty as Mac owners?

Not necessarily, according to a new survey from ABI Research. The market analysis firm surveyed 1,725 U.S. teenagers and adults during October of 2006, showing them a picture and description of Microsoft’s not-yet-available Zune portable media player, then asking about their likelihood to purchase it over competing MP3 players.

Among respondents who said they planned to purchase an MP3 player in the next 12 months, 59 percent of non-iPod owners said they were “somewhat likely” or “extremely likely” to choose a Zune player over an iPod or competiting media player. But among current iPod owners, the numbers aren’t much different: 58 percent of them said they were “somewhat likely” or “extremely likely” to purchase a Zune rather than an iPod or another media player. Only 15 percent of iPod owners said they were “not very likely” or “not at all likely” to choose a Zune.

(One would love to see how those numbers broke down amongst iPod owners who purchase music via the iTunes Music Store, and if they were aware all that content they’d purchased wouldn’t work on a Zune. At least, not without circumventing Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management technology.)

“Our conclusion,” says principal analyst Steve Wilson, “is that iPod users don’t display the same passionate loyalty to iPods that Macintosh users have historically shown for their Apple products.” To keep its lead in the industry, Wilson says: “Apple needs a new high-end device that works really well and looks really cool, because other brands are catching up.”

What makes the Zune stand out for potential customers? ABI won’t say, but notes that it is not the unit’s current Wi-Fi offerings. The peer-to-peer sharing technology “isn’t all that compelling, at least not now. There’s a lot more you could do with that capability.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.