McLean told us there were four things Microsoft wanted to get right with a redesigned Xbox 360 console.
“One, people are streaming more and more content so they need wireless that supports [the 802.11n wireless protocol]and to put that straight into the box.
“Two, people are downloading more and more content so they need a bigger hard drive and we’ve put a 250GB hard drive straight into the box.
"Three, the previous console was a little noisy for some of our customers so let’s make sure that this one is whisper quiet, and it is.
"And four, let’s not have any issues around breakdowns and so we’ve built it from the ground up to make sure that that doesn’t happen again.
"They’re the four things we wanted to get right when we redesigned the console and we’re confident that strategy is right."
McLean is confident enough regarding the new 360's reliability that they've reverted to the original one-year warranty for the console. Previously, Microsoft had extended the warranty to three years for certain hardware failures indicated by the red ring of death.
"Yes, we’ve moved from a three year warranty to a one year warranty," says McLean. "And that’s because we know we’ve built a product where a one year warranty will suffice.
"Microsoft has always been a learning company. We’ve made some mistakes and we’ve learned from them. As a company, we don’t ignore feedback, we listen. We know for a fact that these things were an issue."
We can report that, yes, it is much, much quieter than previous 360 models. And, yes, the 250GB hard drive and, especially, built-in wi-fi are very welcome.
But it's too early to tell whether it's more reliable. Logically, it should be. Although McLean wouldn't be drawn on details of the internal components, it's certain they're using smaller chips which produce less heat and consume less power. In theory, this should mean a more reliable machine.
I'm curious to know who's picking up a new Xbox today. For those who have upgraded from an older Xbox, what are your impressions? Have you noticed any obvious differences?