Zune software NOT coming to the Mac

It turns out that the report of the Zune Software coming to the Mac is not true according to this blog posting. There will be an Apple Mac application that will sync media from the Mac iTunes Library to the Windows Phone 7 device, but not to a standard Zune Media device.

So, it seems that Microsoft is still keeping their Zune devices segregated to the Microsoft PC world, but opening up their Phone 7 devices to the Mac platform.

UPDATE: I just downloaded and tested the Windows Phone 7 Connector app for the Mac, and it does indeed NOT work with a standard Zune HD device. It will only work with a true Windows Phone 7 unit.

What is the fate of the Zune?

All eyes are now focused on the release of the Microsoft Phone 7 devices, which has already been released in Europe and will be available in the US early next month. There’s obvious comparisons between the Zune HD and Phone 7, as their operating systems seem to have the same origins. In fact, the Zune Software is going to be used as the main conduit for syncing, purchasing, and loading material onto the Phone 7 devices (much like how Apple uses iTunes for similar functionality with their iPod/iPhone/iPad devices). So what’s up with the Zune media devices?

That’s a really good question, as there has been very little talk of new Zunes appearing for the holiday season. Currently, the only offering is the Zune HD and I’ve seen very little of those devices at my local stores. I so see lots and lots of iPods and iPads at stores like Best Buy and Target lately.

Will the Zune HD fade into extinction? Or will Microsoft take a wait-and-see approach to how well Phone 7 works out, and then build upon that technology and platform for a next-generation Zune? Similar to what Apple has with their iPhone and iPod Touch?

Migrating to the Apple iMac

Earlier this summer I decided to switch from a Quad Core Windows 7 machine to an Apple iMac desktop. If you want more details to why I made the switch, you can read my blog postings on the Coho Site. Since making the switch, I’m still using my Windows 7 desktop machine for recording TV shows using a TV Tuner card and Cable set top box, and the converting the videos to WMV format for my Zune HD. So the only reason my Windows 7 desktop is still alive is for recording TV shows and syncing with my Zune HD.

My desire is to shutdown my Windows 7 desktop at some point, so I needed to find a way to record TV shows on my Apple iMac. Now, my new iMac desktop is a fully integrated system, with a 27″ LCD screen that houses the main motherboard, hard drive, and DVD drive. So I needed to find a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) device that uses a USB connection to the computer. The best device for the job is the Elgato EyeTV HD, specially designed for the Apple Mac systems. I’ll talk more about the EyeTV HD device and software on my Coho Site, but basically I’m able to do the same thing as with my Windows 7 machine so far as scheduling TV shows for recording and automatically convert the recordings to iPhone/iPod/iPad format (m4v).

As I’ve mentioned in a previous posting, I’ve decided to switch from a Zune HD to an Apple iPod Touch for easier compatibility. This was before Microsoft’s announcement about the native Zune software for the Mac OS X, and it’s a bit too late as my wife has already purchased an Apple iPod Touch as a birthday gift for my birthday next week. In any case, I’d rather have a simpler, fully integrated system and than try to hack a system together that ties a Microsoft Zune to an Apple iMac system. I’ll certainly try out the Mac Zune Software, but in the end I’ll probably stick with an all-Apple solution.

One thing to note, is that the EyeTV’s software is very similar to Window 7’s Media Center software. You can download TV schedules from TV Guide (free for the first year) and search for specific shows to schedule recordings. You can also specify which shows you would like the software to automatically convert to iPhone format and have it dump the video file into the iTunes folder for syncing with your iPod Touch. So I basically have the same functionality as with my Windows 7 system setup. Once I officially get my iPod Touch I’ll report back on the differences I see between my old method and the new Mac method for recording and syncing TV shows to a multimedia device.

Zune Software for the Mac OS X

Looks like Microsoft will be releasing¬† a beta version of the Zune Software for the Mac OS X on October 24th, 2010. Microsoft’s plan is for new Windows Phone 7 users to use this software for syncing music, videos and apps to the phone device, so no one is entirely sure that it will work with the Zune devices.

Once the beta is available, I will certainly give it a spin and see if I can sync my videos, podcasts, and music to my Zune HD.

Moving to the darkside….

I’ve recently switched from my Windows 7 desktop PC to an Apple iMac running OS X, so I think my Zune HD days are numbered. The reason being, Microsoft doesn’t support the Mac for their Zune syncing software, so unless I use a Windows-based PC I can’t continue using my Zune HD. Currently, I still have my Quad-Core Win7 PC running for recording TV shows for my Zune, but that is the only thing I use it for these days.

So, at some point in the near future I’ll probably get an Apple iPod Touch since it is compatible with my new iMac (as well as Microsoft Windows PCs). In that case, I won’t be using my favorite tool, DVRMSToolbox, to remove commercials an convert my recorded video to Zune-format. I’ll need to find a whole new set of tools and methods for doing my TV recording and conversions, etc.

As it turns out, there is a product designed specifically for the Apple Mac called EyeTV HD which takes digital component input and can record it to a mp4 movie file. It also has an IR blaster control, so it can change the channel of a Cable Set Topbox. Similar to what I’m doing now, but I’ll need to get a “real” set topbox that has digital HD component output.

Since my birthday is coming up next month, I’ll probably have the Apple iPod on my wife’s buy list. So my trusty Zune HD will most like be sitting in my desk drawer until who knows when it will be recalled to service…

More of My Favorite TV Shows Gone…

It seems that a lot of my favorite TV Shows currently on the air don’t last very long. Most recently, Flash Forward was cancelled, which was a show I was really getting in to. Heroes was cancelled, but I’m not too bothered with that since I stopped watching after last season (got too boring).

A few shows like Lost and 24 have ended their run, so I won’t be able to watch them any longer (I sure will miss them). And then we have Stargate:Universe, V, and Fringe that are on hiatus. I’m surprised that Stargate:Universe hasn’t been cancelled since it appears to be a very dull show. I keep watching it, however, hoping that the action will pickup.

Fortunately, there seems to be an assortment of new shows just waiting in the wings, so we’ll go another round to see which shows can last more than 13 episodes…

Windows Mobile 7 OS = Zune HD OS?

I just found a link to a video showing what the Windows 7 OS for the smartphones looks like:

http://jkontherun.com/2010/02/15/windows-phone-7-on-video/

You’ll notice that it looks remarkably like the Zune HD operating system, and completely unlike the old-and-dated Microsoft Windows Mobile OS. A huge leap for Microsoft in dumping their tired Windows OS. So all the rumors over the past several months about a Microsoft “Pink” smartphone, Zune Phone, etc. may have culminated to the Windows Mobile 7 OS.

The bad think, is that all the hundreds of thousands of Pocket PC and Windows Mobile Apps in existence will probably not run under this new WM7 OS (I’m about 95% sure of that). The OS is so different, I can’t imagine the old popup menus, titlebar, dialogboxes, etc. working under WM7. So the question is: How difficult will it be to write apps for WM7 smartphones? What will the programming language be, and what does the API look like?

If I had to guess, I would say that WM7 apps will be written in some kind of .NET language, or possibly Java. Hopefully, Microsoft has thought ahead and have made it easy to create apps. It will be interesting to see the progression of WM7 over the next several months. The video states WM7 will be available on the “Holidays 2010”, which is pretty vague.