iLounge: Is Apple Going Rotten?

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iLounge has a solid article on some of the decisions that Apple has made that have come to fruition in the last couple of weeks. Primarily, they describe four issues that have been caused by the decisions, what the customer response has been and what Apple can do to remedy the situation.

Apple Breaks Video Add-Ons with New iPods
Past iPod photos and Fifth Generation iPods had the option of outputting video to an external display through the dock connector or headphone port, which doubled as an AV port. With the iPod classic, Apple has completely removed AV functionality from the headphone port and, more importantly, greatly restricted the dock connector’s video out functionality. What does greatly restricted mean? It means not allowing any device that doesn’t have an ‘Apple authentication chip’ to output video.

Honestly, this almost sounds like Microsoft. Not only has Apple turned their back on customers and confused the hell out of them, they’ve also turned their back on their ‘Made for iPod’ partners that PAY THEM A FEE to be apart of the program. The program being entirely dependent on the dock connector port.

iPod Games Don’t Work On New iPods
Last year, Apple introduced iPod Games to the iTunes Store. They cost $4.99 (USD) and would work only with Fifth Generation and Enhanced Fifth Generation iPods. The new iPod classic and the new 3rd Generation iPod nano gain support for the Games. Due to a large amount of stupidity at Apple, none of the games that people bought for their previous iPods will work with the new models. This is pure bullshit, as Apple released the latest batch of iPod games a couple of months ago.

Apple is not willing to support, at least in this instance, old software on newer platforms. Even if the updates to the iPod’s operating system were more than just skin deep (which they very likely are), it’s still an entirely closed system. Only Apple has really been able to develop for that product, with very limited involvement from third parties. Why won’t/can’t Apple, the only company that can delve in to this OS, tweak the games or provide updates to the operating systems on the new iPods in order to support the old games? It’s bad enough that these games don’t work on iPhones and iPod touches, but not working on simple iterations of past products is inexcusable.

iPod touch Owners Get Blamed by Apple Employees
This is probably the easiest problem to remedy. Some iPod touch owners reported that their displays don’t display blacks properly. In really dark areas of the video, a shimmering effect can be seen. The problem only affects a small number of units. However, those who tried to take their iPods that had the faulty display back to the Apple stores that they bought them from, they were faced with employees telling them bullshit; “The shimmering effect is meant to be there.”, “Oh, you’ve encoded your video wrong.”. If Apple maybe had a better idea of what their customers were going through or (what I really consider to be the case) officially acknowledged the problem sooner, then none of these people would be pissed off.

iPhone Ringtones and the Fact That It’s a Shitty Service
This is probably the most disconcerting of the issues. I’ve already talked about it, but I didn’t really explain the situation. Apple has added ringtones support to iTunes. However, you can only use it with music that you bought from the iTunes Store. Furthermore, only a select amount of music from the Store can be used as a ringtone. The real fucker here is that you have to essentially buy the song twice in order to use it as a ringtone: Pay a minimum of $.99 to own the actual song ($1.29 for the iTunes Plus version) and then another $.99 to be able to use it as a ringtone. So, let’s get this straight: you can only use iTunes music, not the music you legally bought on CD and ripped or downloaded from another DRM-free music service, you have to buy them from iTunes, and then you have to pay the price of a song again just to be able to use it as a 30 second clip for when someone calls your phone. Fuck that.

Now, this isn’t as bad as ringtone services from other carriers. Most other services make you pay more than the total price of getting a ringtone from iTunes and most of them expire after several months as well. But, guess what Apple? My little $40 cellphone that I picked up from India lets me use any mp3 that will fit on it as a ringtone. Why can’t your $399 device?

One might think that I consider this a question of functionality. I don’t. This isn’t a question of what a device can or cannot do; it’s a question of user rights. John Gruber of Daring Fireball puts it succinctly in one of his recent posts:

iTunes’s new ringtone feature, though, is the first time Apple has created a feature that is only usable with iTunes Store tracks. Burning to disc, transferring to peripheral devices such as iPods and Apple TV, playing over the air to Airport Express — in all these cases, the features work with all songs in your library, wherever they came from. In fact, prior to ringtones, the only special treatment iTunes granted to iTunes Store files were additional restrictions, such as the “only five authorized computers” rule.

I hope that Apple fixes these glaring issues. I hope that Apple doesn’t start doing this with their Macs. I really hope that Apple doesn’t stop making good products. But most importantly, I hope that Apple doesn’t continue this nonsense.


Written by Kumaran Vijayan

September 21, 2007 at 3:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. … that is fucked up.


    September 23, 2007 at 11:01 am

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