Zune won't hurt Apple for at least a year

Despite the imminent launch of Microsoft's Zune and accompanying online music store, Apple's iPod will not lose any significant market share within the next 12 to 18 months, according to market research firm JupiterResearch. The firm expects Apple to "remain strong" against competition from both the Zune and music-playing cell phones, which are expected to outnumber portable music players by 2009. While the research firm cites no hard evidence, these predictions may be based partly on reports that Apple intends to launch a touch-screen iPod during the holiday season followed by an "iPhone" in early January 2007.

Also likely to help Apple is Microsoft's recent decision to ditch the Zune's "DJ" feature, which promised to let users broadcast songs to as many as four other Zune owners. The DJ feature's disappearance will further limit the number of uses for the Zune's built-in Wi-Fi, which already won't allow users to sync up with their PCs wirelessly or purchase music online through Wi-Fi access points.

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