Today’s MP3 players are all about a convergence of features, including Wi-Fi, built-in Web browsers, video playback, radio tuners, applications (Apple’s App Store works with the iPod Touch), and the ability to play stored content on external devices such as a stereo or an HDTV. Several iPod models have S-Video support for connecting to TVs.
The Zune HD, introduced this September, competes squarely with the Apple iPod Touch, offering a great touchscreen OLED display, storage capacities up to 32GB, Wi-Fi, and an HD radio tuner, all for $219.
Microsoft’s Zune HD and Apple’s iPod Touch are both a far cry from the bulky and expensive MP3 players of yesteryear. Digital audio players have come a long way. But who knows if this approach–cramming 101 functions into our MP3 players–will last? If it does continue, maybe in another 11 years we’ll be able to use our fiftieth-generation iPods to view a 3D holographic video of Mick Jagger running around the room singing “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”