Return of the Walkman? Sony Thinks ‘YUP!’

Sony’s plans to re-invent the Walkman as a high-end, and very highly-priced, music player could be limited by the fact that people can’t really tell the difference between it and an iPhone.

Playing the same song — the first 30 seconds or so of Michael Jackson’s Thriller — to people in The Independent office through Sony’s Walkman and an iPhone showed that most saw very little difference between the two.

The new audiophile-focused Sony Walkman will retail for around $1,200, and claims to be even better than the first.

Both feature Sony’s “Hi-Res Audio”, which it claims can boost the sound of even existing tracks.

Some said that the details of the sound, such as the sound effects at the beginning of the track, were more clear on Sony’s device. But others said that the sound from the iPhone had more punch, and pointed to the extra bass on the iPhone’s device.

But even factoring that in, is the concept of paying $1,200 for a stand-alone MP3 player a workable one when the average consumer isn’t settled on demanding a higher quality sound than that on their iPhone device? The Sony ZX2 is nearly twice the price of its popular competitor.

The ZX2 was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.