I recently had the opportunity to play around with the new Zunes at Best Buy while attending MacWorld. I was definitely impressed with how much the Zune team has accomplished in a year *sorry I doubted you J *. The biggest improvement, in my opinion, is not the hardware, but the software. Version one of the software was unusable with horrible UI decisions left and right. The first thing I said when I launched version two was, "wow."
My initial thoughts were, "this is honestly a worthy competitor to iTunes!" The look and feel felt very bold and urban, even though a few lingering UI issues remain. Like all things software, however, improvements come iteratively by doing small things really well while preparing for the next update. One "small" thing the Zune team missed was a decent way to do metadata management.
Metadata is THE reason I love iTunes. The process to quickly modify batches of mp3s is snap. Complimentary, the reason the iPod is so great is because iTunes is so great with it. This is the reason Zune will be great, because the Zune player should be great by version 3. *here’s hoping* Remember iTunes wasn’t really decent until version 4.
But like with all optimism, reality crashes down and a handful of us want it and "want it now." This hack should tide many of you over.
Slightly off-topic, one thing that the community has responded to overwhelmingly is the Zune art engravings called Zune Originals. Prior to launch, people dismissed this idea as simply a shot in the dark against the simple elegance of the iPod. Apple actually got one upped in class and style with this one. If you’re interested in Zune’s artistic influence, visit the Zune Art website.