You'll probably have missed the churning excitement surrounding the launch of slightly different Zune players, unless, of course, you're one of those poor souls whose thankless task it is to hang around webpages like this one posting comments about how great your Zune is.
Still, there'd be no sense in getting too excited anyway because, whereas Apple announce a product as it hits the shops (in the US at least), Microsoft have revealed the player but won't actually put them into anyone's hands until mid-November. Presumably this is the allow the sense of mild disappointment to ferment. Oh, and there's no word at all about when, or if, they'll come to Europe.
The new machines have managed to take the hand-whittled iPod look of the old one and turn it into something even less attractive. They're not unusably bad, but sat next to an iPod, they have the air of something that might have been rustled up by a Soviet-era Russian company attempting to compete, like the chunky world-band radios and binoculars that you used to find for sale in the Sunday People classifieds.
In a bid to add some sparkle to the proceedings, Bill Gates popped up:
"Today we're making big bets on games, music, video and connecting these entertainment experiences to help change the way people play,"
Yes. The Zune: The Excel Spreadhseet of the mp3 player market.