We first heard about the HD video-player goodness of the Zune HD weeks ago, and now a rumor suggests a September 8 launch for the device. Perfect timing to pitch it into a head-on battle with the rumored new iPod touch.
The leaked information was sent to Gizmodo, and suggests the Zune HD will come in only 16 and 32GB varieties, arriving on Tuesday September 8--three days later than previous rumors had suggested. Somewhat like Apple's iPhone color policy, it also looks like the new Zune will come in just plain black for the cheaper 16GB and the bronze color is reserved for the larger capacity model. This fills in just a little more information we know about the player, which recently was confirmed as rocking a powerful Nvidia Tegra chipset and is 720p video-capable.
All of this information makes it look even more like the Zune is carefully crafted to tackle Apple's successful iPod Touch. But can it beat the iPod? There's many a rumor circulating about the upcoming device already. For starters, the iPod Touch already comes in 8, 16, and 32GB sizes, and it's credible that Apple will bump those up to 16, 32, and 64GB. There are also persistent rumors the Touch--and iPod Nano--will feature digital cameras with their next upgrade, a feature that the Zune lacks.
In terms of performance, we know the iPod Touch out-performed its contemporary iPhone 3G for graphics, and now that Apple has bumped the iPhone 3GS's speed up, we'd expect the same for the next iPod too. It's even possible that Apple will use the same processor it has inside the 3G S for the new iPod--we know it's capable of 833MHz speeds, but Apple's crippled it down to 600MHz for the iPhone, possibly for battery use reasons. With fewer demands on the iPods processor, there's less reason to slow down its CPU, and an 833MHz iPod would literally blaze along.
So we know the Zune's coming, and we know from data in Apple's code that the new iPod is coming, and is potentially due out around the same time as the Zune, given Apple's history of updates. They're technologically different, but both powerful in different ways, so it's going to be a tricky battle. I have to say though, that if Apple doesn't go for an OLED screen, then the Zune might just beat it.