Zune Starts Selling 64GB HD Models

I didn’t report on this a few weeks ago when the news initially broke, simply because it broke late on March 31 and I honestly wasn’t sure whether it was an early April Fool’s joke or not. Now, though, the Zune Web site has been updated and the news has been officially released by Zune. New 64GB ZuneHD models are being sold via the ZuneOriginals Web site.

In addition to the new ZuneHD model, the original ZuneHD devices dropped.

I’d still like to see a slightly larger version of the device, but I definitely consider the 64 gig ZuneHD device to be my top candidate if my Zune 80 dies before a larger capacity model is released.

Best Buy Demos New Zune HD

zunehdSelect Best Buy stores throughout the United States are presenting demonstrations of the new Zune HD this weekend. If you are at all interested in the new Zune, you might want to check it out. While you’re there, you can go ahead and pre-order your own Zune HD. Currently, you can pre-order a silver 32 gig version for $289.99 (more than $100 less than the 32-gig iPod Touch) or a black 16-gig version for $219.99. However, the Zune Insider podcast has reported that more colors will be available shortly after they’re initially released.

I’ve uploaded a copy of the official list of Best Buy stores that are offering the demos this weekend.

iPhone OS 3.0.1 – Does It Really Fix Anything?

On Friday, Apple released iPhone OS 3.0.1 for iPhone devices. The release was apparently put out in response to a vulnerability pointed out during the Black Hat Security Conference. To install the “patch” for this vulnerability, iPhone owners must download an entirely new version of the iPhone operating system (230 megabytes) rather than just being able to install a smaller patch.

However, there are rumors floating around the Web that the patch only fixes one of two separate vulnerabilities exposed at the Black Hat conference. The first vulnerability, known as the Miller hack, is apparently what the new OS patches. However, another vulnerability, referred to as the Miras/Lackey hack is still open and can potentially effect any phone on a GSM carrier (not just the iPhone). About the Miras/Lackey hack, @musclenerd says “3.0.1 doesn’t begin to fix them.”

It will be interesting to see if any patches or fixes come out to close the hole exposed by Miras and Lackey, how long it takes to do so, and from where the patches will come (will the phone companies themselves release them, or will they come from the manufacturers).

Two Things the ZuneHD Should Have

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the new ZuneHD that Microsoft is planning to release. Overall, I am impressed by the announced improvements to my favorite little portable media player. However, there are two features I think are absolutely necessary in order for the Zune to have a chance of taking a bigger bite out of the iPod market.

Zune Slashes Prices on Accessories

Throughout the month of July, the Zune Originals store, an offshoot of Zune.net, is offering many of its Zune accessories at 50% off, and quite a few more at smaller discounts. If you own a Zune, there is no better time to pick up those accessories you’ve been wanting.

Even if you don’t own a Zune, you may want to take this opportunity to pick up a set of the Zune headphones, which are absolutely worth every penny of the $19.99 they’re currently selling for on the Web site. Of course, the price of the 120 gig Zune has been dropped (permanently, I believe) to $249, which is what I paid for my 80 gig Zune a year and a half ago, so you may want to pick one of those up, too.

When looking for these accessories, you will probably want to visit the Zune Originals store, not the main Zune Web site, as the main Zune Web site still has all of the accessories listed at full price. However, even if you do visit the main Zune Web site, clicking the “Buy Now” button will open the Zune Store in a new window/tab with the item in your cart at the correct price.

Otterbox – Protect Your iPod or iPhone

I have had an iPhone for about two months, now. When I first got it, I was told that I should pick up the Otterbox Defender case to protect it. I ordered one and was immediately impressed. In fact, I was so impressed, that when we got iPod Touches for our kids’ birthday, the first (and only) accessory we ordered for them were Otterbox Defender cases. We also bought one for the 3rd generation iPod Nano that was handed down to my wife after the iPod Touches were received.