Dan Ryan from PCWorld on how difficult it is to leave the Big Tent of Apple.
As soon as you start buying stuff from Apple, you’ll find it difficult to move to products made by someone else without losing everything you’ve already paid for.
Absolute bullcrap from a hit piece pseudo journalist, wholly representative of those who create headlines first, then build a story to match.
1. iPod and iTunes:
If you wanted to move the songs you bought at a buck apiece to a cheaper player from a competing manufacturer, you had two options: an onerous process in which you burned your songs to a CD and then reripped them as MP3s, or quasilegal software that essentially did the same thing using your hard drive instead of a disc.
Nearly everyone except unscrupulous journalists knows the real story. Apple’s DRM was a requirement from recording companies. Apple lobbied to remove DRM. Your music on your iTunes is easily moved anywhere. How does Apple’s DRM differ from Microsoft’s DRM?
2. iPhone and the App Store:
If you want a sexy iPhone in the United States, you also have to date its ugly stepsister, AT&T… Locked (though heavily subsidized) phones are an unfortunate fact of life in this country, a situation not unique to the iPhone.
So, why is that a problem? It’s a reality nearly everywhere.
The iPhone’s software shop, on the other hand, is a dictatorship. Apps for the iPhone are available only from the App Store in iTunes.
Yeah, so why can’t I run my Mac software on a Windows PC? Why can’t I get the leather seats from a Porsche into my Camry?
By comparison, things are slightly different for the open-source mobile OS Google Android, whose owners can buy apps from multiple online stores (including AppVee, Handango, and MobiHand).
The buying public seems to have already voted on this. Do all those Android apps work on all those Android phones? No. Dan probably forgot to include that little fact from his shallow reporting.
3. Mac computers and Mac OS:
Ever since the Second Coming (aka the return of Steve Jobs to Apple in 1997), the Mac has been a tightly controlled, closed system. The result? High prices and limits on the options you can get with Mac hardware.
A true journalist would point out the obvious. Windows is also a closed system. Macs run Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (an many flavors of Unix), all at the same time. High prices? Sure. High quality hardware costs more.
For example, you still can’t buy an Apple machine with support for Blu-ray drives.
And Blu-ray penetration into the Windows PC market place remains stagnant at about 3-percent; usually on more expensive machines. Blu-ray is a bag of hurt. Dan then goes on to quote Microsoft shill Rob Enderle, easily the most discredited technology pundit on the planet.
4. Installed software and extra, unwanted apps:
Apple has a history of taking advantage of its iTunes-iPod/iPhone headlock to promote its other products and services.
And this is a crime, how?
5. Shoes and spies:
…the company filed for a patent on technology that would prevent Apple devices from accepting a charge during certain circumstances. This tech would prevent a thief from recharging your iPhone or iPod, but it could also keep you from charging the device if you tried to sync it with an “unauthorized” PC. And last August the company filed for a patent on sensors that would record “customer abuse events” on Apple products; the data from these sensors would presumably be used to deny warranty repair claims by documenting damage that was the customer’s fault.
And this is a crime, how? How does it differ from Microsoft’s requirement to register Windows?
Dan sums up his silly hit piece with the following balance:
The question is, do Apple fans care? (customer Jake) Widman, for one, says, “Choice is overrated. As a consumer, I’m more interested in something that works.” It’s a reasonable argument — but also a costly one. Is it really worth it?
The problems with Dan’s perspective are many and varied, not the least of which is the initial objective to create an inflammatory hit piece which not only does not reflect reality or common sense, but is wholly designed to get readers to click on multiple pages, thereby, viewing multiple ads. Dan is probably paid by PCWorld by the word and page view.
Dan says the reasonable argument that it’s important to users that things work is also a costly one. Yet, he offers no proof that using a Mac or iPod or iPhone is more costly than comparable alternatives. I prefer a car that works well, is somewhat trouble-free, and comes with high resale value. I own a Camry. A Kia or Hyundai might be less expensive but Toyota’s high quality speaks for itself. When you buy a car you’re locked in to the engine provided by the manufacturer. It’s the way it is and it’s not a bad way.
When you buy a PC that runs Microsoft Windows, and buy a Zune media player, and a Windows Mobile cell phone, and Windows software, are you not locked in to Microsoft’s ecosystem? Will my purchase of an Android smart phone that only runs on Verizon’s network, and subsequent purchase of Android software lock me in to the Android and Verizon? Yes. It’s the way it is and it’s not a bad way, assuming I’m comfortable with the end result of the purchase.
If not, I’m free to move anywhere else to determine if the grass is really greener on the other side. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. The choice is always mine and every choice comes with some degree of consequence. The votes are still coming in. Apple’s Mac sales are at record numbers while Windows is losing market share. The iPod is a dominant choice, as is music from the iTunes Store. Apple’s iPhone OS platform now has about 80-million customers in two years. Customers vote with a purchase.
Accusing Apple of creating 5 marketing tactics to lock in a customer and prevent choice (only to have it become obvious that the accusation is McCarthyesque and riddled with holes) is completely disingenuous, and smacks of an attempt to gain page views at the expense of factual reporting and accurate perspective.