Thursday, October 05, 2006

An Open Letter to Apple

Dear Apple,

Your company is cool and hip; well, it's at least as cool and hip as a computer company can be, and you have done a good job of marketing this point. From your commercials that contrast your operating system as a trendy young man versus Windows being portrayed as a stuffy old man to Lieutenant Dan's revelation at the end of Forrest Gump that he had purchased stock in Apple and he has become rich, you do a good job marketing.

In that vein, what I'd like to talk to you today about is the ipod. I have one, and I enjoy it. I too was lured in by the heavy advertising that led me to believe that I needed one. This, again, was good marketing; who would have thought that dancing silhouettes could be so persuasive?

However, the ipod has a dirty little secret, which is, namely, that its battery gradually dies. The normal lifespan of an ipod battery is just about two years. When it dies, it either leaves the purchaser to just lose all the music on his portable hard drive, or he can order a replacement for a generous fee.

With the normal lifespan being two years, and the most heavily marketed period being just about two years ago, I fear that there may be an ipod holocaust soon. Here are the seven steps that I imagine this will take.

1) People will realize that they are going to have to sink more money into the device than their original couple hundred dollar investment, and they are going to be ticked off. They are going to be angry in a way that they are going to want to break things: Apple things.

2) Apple will say, "I'm sorry folks, you should have realized that the battery died. Don't you know that even a two to three hundred dollar device won't work forever, or in this case, no longer than two or three years?"

3) People will respond, "Hmm, though I appreciate their flashy ad campaigns, perhaps Apple, the apparent consumer voice of the anti-establishment by being the anti-Microsoft, isn't so great after all."

4) People will stop buying Apple goods, and your company stock will slowly fall.

5) People, desperate for a change, will flock to Zune, Microsoft's answer to the ipod, despite its unfortunately lame name.

6) Microsoft's stock will rise.

7) Steve Jobs will roll over in his grave.

Apple, I enjoy my ipod, and I think your products work reasonably well, but I think that it's just downright dastardly to pull this over on your customers.

I am ashamed of you.



Anonymous said...

EVERY portable device uses batteries that die eventually. That's what makes them portable. There's no need to buy a brand new ipod, unless you want to. Go to an Apple store, pay for a new battery--all is good. They're about 60 bucks. Or, if you don't want a battery covered under warranty, head over to or something similar where you can get a "generic" battery for less (about 15 bucks). No need to get all bent out of shape or accuse apple of having a dirty little secret. The Zune will use batteries too!

Anonymous said...

Your complaints are common to all devices that use built-in batteries. The manual that Apple includes with ipods (and Macbooks (Pros)) makes no bones about the fact that the batteries eventually die. Its not a problem with Apple, but the fact that batteries haven't been able to keep up with the portable electronics industry. You also forgot to mention that portable hard drives are very prone to failure, which is why NAND flash is about to explode in the market.

superaustin said...

Apparently you have a critic in Mr. Anonymous. Someone who searches out anti-ipod battery blog posts and tries to correct you?
And yeah, portable devices do use batteries that die, Mr. Anonymous. But when my discman ran out of life, I was always able to pick up replacement AAs less than $5.

I support Apple and the iPod. I use both an iPod and a Powerbook every day. My powerbook does have a battery I can replace all by myself and I don't have to pay $80 (according to my research) to send away for a whole new computer that may or may not be refurbished.

There are flaws. I was all ready to post a defense of Apple here, AC, but the lame and all too prepared rebuttles above give me a little bit of the "boos."

And yeah, they do mention the battery loss in the manual; it's a shame that you have to purchase the ipod in order to get the manual.

If you are worried about eventually losing the songs on the ipod, I'd look into the iPod Music Liberator. I've found it to be a very handy program.

And always back everything up on cd, m'man. You never know when any of your stuff (be it pod or computer hard drive) is gonna crash but good. It's something I've learned the hard way.

And I choose not to post anonymously. Except when I'm pretending to be Lerner & Loewe.

Red Riding Hood said...

The first two comments scare me just a little...

Anonymous said...

You're right to be upset. Several years ago, I bought a brand new Volkswagen--and now I'm finding out that I have to spend money on a brand new battery. I'm pissed!

So now, I either go out and buy a new car, or I can order a replacement for a generous fee.

I think that people will realize that they have to eventually replace their batteries in their cars--more than the several thousand initial investment, and they are going to want to break their Volkswagens.

Volkswagen just wont take responsibility for the issue either. They should have told me when I went to buy the car that I would have to replace the battery eventually.

I think everyone will go out and buy a car from a different manufacturer, because the other car manufacturers wont have batteries that customers are forced to replace after several years.

It's just sad, really.

superaustin said...

Do people get paid to stick up for Apple? Or do they really have nothing better to do than wander around anonymously responding to blogs?
I mean, if you're gonna be so ironic and clever, you'd think you'd at least take credit for it.

I suggest an edit to this entry in which the name Apple is replaced with a similar fruit and iPod is replaced with "greatest invention on earth." Then maybe the creeps will find something else to do with their limitless time.

Red Riding Hood said...

It's turned from funny to psycho very quickly. But clever psycho, which is even more frightening.

miss thany said...

I leave for 10 days and the AC is under attack? Here I sit, in St. George, Utah trying not to wake my sleeping children from my laughter. While you commute to work, AC, keep looking over your shoulder for people dressed up as iPods, arms loaded with apples to throw at you.

miss thany said...

I leave for 10 days and the AC is under attack? Here I sit, in St. George, Utah trying not to wake my sleeping children from my laughter. While you commute to work, AC, keep looking over your shoulder for people dressed up as iPods, arms loaded with apples to throw at you.