Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why I Will (Likely) Never By an iPod/iPhone (Petty)

This is one of my "petty" posts, if you will (perhaps a refreshing change from the last post dealing with the Henry Louis Gates/Cambridge police department controversy).

Today's post deals with: why I, likely, will never buy an iPod or an iPhone.

Short answer: I hate anything proprietary, any attempts to cripple and/or dumb-down a product just for "coolness," and because better options exist and I don't care how un-hip it makes me look.

Don't get me wrong, I love modern technology toys. For the sake of clarity, for the sake of those that don't know--I do own an MP3 player. I do NOT own an iPod. What many don't realize is that iPod is a brand, it's not the type of product itself. In other words, iPod is to MP3 player as Pepsi is to cola.

I own an MP3 player, but it's not an iPod. It's actually a SanDisk (e280), to be exact. More on that in a bit.

I've owned PDA/Smartphones since January 2008, either a Palm Treo 650, 680, or a Blackberry Curve/8310 (as of this writing I'm using a Palm Treo 680 again after 7 months with the Blackberry). I text-message, email and browse websites everywhere I go with this thing, and it may be the coolest device ever. I embrace such toys.

But, unless something changes, I will never own the iPhone.

Let's revisit the iPod subject matter first.

I did briefly own an actual iPod, late 2008, bought it on eBay on the cheap, and in fact it was an older model (4th generation, circa 2004 if I recall). It barely worked at all, battery life was horrible and the battery needed replacing. I gave it to my best friend shortly after while visiting--I told him, it might work if someone fixes it for you, knock yourself out. (He had an old 4G Nano, this was a 40G model, so if he could get it going, it represented a 10x upgrade for him.)

If you know anything at all about iPods, you know the battery isn't user-replaceable. Also, you can't just "drag & drop" the songs on there, like you can with almost all other MP3 players, you have to use install Apple's iTunes to do so--and it's a huge, computer-hungry program. Not only that, the player goes out of its way to prevent you from restoring songs from the player to the computer again, so if your computer's hard drive goes toast, no dice with simply connecting the device to your fixed (or new) computer and restoring the songs device-to-PC. It won't let you.

Practically no other MP3 player, including the SanDisk e280 I own (and owned at the time, in fact), has any of these limitations. With my SanDisk e280, I can "drag and drop" the songs on there without the need for any bloated, computer-hungry software to be installed. I can backup from player to PC, too, it doesn't try & prevent me from doing this. If the battery stops recharging, I can buy a replacement on eBay for 10 bucks and swap it myself in 5 minutes, without having to do any fancy footwork--something that was not true with my iPod (and that's the case with ALL of them, in fact).

Much of the same goes with the iPhone--sort of a combination smartphone-iPod.

I almost got one back in Jan 2008, when I got my 1st smartphone (the Palm Treo 650). Why didn't I? No copy & paste. This is a glaring omission, only recently since fixed, for any smartphone device. I mean, gee whiz--you're basically talking about a pocket-sized PC (in fact, some of the first such device years ago were called that), and of all things to not have--copy & paste? Totally asinine. How stupid can you get?

Also, just as with the iPod, you can't change the battery yourself. It is, in fact, (as far as I know), the only cellular phone of any type--however fancy--that does not let you change the battery yourself. Any other cellular phone on the market, however cheap or expensive--if the battery stops working, you can buy a replacement on eBay for 5-10 bucks and you're back in business. No having to spend time migrating your contacts to a new phone or, depending on your service plan, having to sign 2 more years to your contract to replace it. Not so with the iPhone--you have to send it to Apple, wait, and pay about 100 bucks for the privelage. (Or, you could buy another one, which--some say--is Apple's thinking as to why the battery is sealed up.)

Am I the only one that finds this practice downright anti-competitive, and even borderline monopolistic in nature? As much as I am for a minimalist government in most cases, I think it perhaps should be required by law that all such devices allow the user to change the battery yourself. (In fact, the NY Consumer Protection Board addressed this sometime ago1). This should apply to all devices--MP3 players, phones, flashlights, watches, remote controls...

But then, have you noticed--all these devices are already that way.

That's my point, really--it amazes me that I can replace the battery in my 5 dollar watch I bought, encased in a cheap-skate blister-pack, at Family Dollar--even though I can't imagine anyone wanting to. I mean, gee whiz, you go buy another one for 5 bucks, spend (maybe) 1-2 minutes setting the time--you're golden.

I guarantee you it takes much more than 1-2 minutes to restore 5,000 songs to your new iPod (or any MP3 player), or migrate your contacts from one phone to another, and it sure costs a lot more to replace one than 5 bucks. But that's what you'd have to do if it was an Apple product & the battery quit on you.

It gets worse. Apple's new MacBook Air, a thin notebook PC (laptop), is a new, highly popular laptop and it is--you guessed it--the only laptop on the market that doesn't let you replace the battery yourself.

And just like with the iPhone and iPod, people are buying it like crazy--because it "looks cool."

No Apple products for me, no thank you. If I can't replace the battery myself, like I can my 5 dollar Family Dollar watch, I am not buying it--I don't care how it looks. I'm not that stupid.

1New York Complains to Apple About Battery Policy, Source:

No comments:

Post a Comment