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Zune 2 release date and pics

Zune 2 - thinner and lighter certainly, but not much of a threat to Apple's iPods

New Microsoft Zunes are on the way for 16 October, says Zune Scene. But after Apple's recent iPod touch, 'fat nano' and 160GB classic launches, it's tempting to say: "yeah, but so what?"

A thinner Zune

Microsoft's second bash at attacking Apple's iPods certainly look better. If the picture on Zune Scene is genuine, they look visibly thinner too with a neat 'squircle' (square circle) nav-pad. The flash-based Zune, a.k.a 'Draco', reportedly comes in 4GB and 8GB sizes. Its bigger brother is an 80GB model - the HDD-based Zune, a.k.a 'Scorpio'.

But is it enough to break Apple's stranglehold on the MP3 player market? From our perspective, the new Zunes don't look like a real leap forward - a 1.5G version rather than a 2.0 device.

Microsoft is certainly making headway. But the new Zunes look a year to 18 months behind Apple's iPods, both in terms of innovation and sheer fan-boy appeal.

There's no word on UK availability.