Thursday, January 17, 2008

iPod touch and false assumptions

This Monday my iPod touch arrived. It's pretty neat, but it's got a couple things that could be improved. First, it cannot be used as a USB disk, and accessing anything on it from Linux requires breaking the silly restrictions by exploiting a security bug in the older firmware. That's not so big, and I half expected that. Second the features on it are still pretty compelling. Missing features like Mail and Notes, already present on the iPhone, would surely be available soon since those applications already existed, and I was content to wait for them since nobody could conceivably charge for two dinky applications that were mysteriously missing. I assumed the delay was just for a little more quality assurance testing, and that may be part of what it was.

However, when Apple announced that the applications obviously missing on the iPod touch would cost $20 for existing users to acquire, I just had to shake my head. This is my first Apple product, and already I know that I cannot expect Apple to "do the right thing" by its early adopters, which would be to provide the missing applications free of charge. Apple sent a marketting email:

On Jan 17, 2008 2:24 PM, Apple wrote:
The multi-touch iPod with Wi-Fi web browsing, music downloading, and stunning video just got even better. Find your location and everything around it with Maps. Get the best email you've ever seen on a handheld device. Check the weather. Pull up stock quotes. Jot down some notes. Make Web Clips from your favorite websites and place them anywhere on the new, customizable Home screen.

I responded, though I doubt anyone there will read it:
Thank you for adding the new features to the iPod Touch.

I am disappointed in the additional $20 cost for "missing" applications such as Mail and Notes for the iPod touch I bought just this week, and I am not planning to pay more for applications that I wrongly assumed were simply being held back for quality assurance testing since they have been provided free to iPhone customers. If you had not kept this information from your customers who were buying iPod touch, I would not feel tricked, but by witholding the fact that there would be a surcharge for applications that seem like they should have been present in the original release, you have shown that your eager customers have to take a back seat to immediate revenue, and keeping your position of power through private knowledge by letting us give you the benefit of the doubt is more important than promoting a community of happy customers. Apple products are very much about feeling a sense of pride of ownership, but that is quashed by making us feel like suckers.

I hope you reconsider the $20 surcharge for the the iPod Touch software update for existing users.

John Paul

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Finding Darwin's God

Ken Miller's book will probably be my next book to read. In the mean time, here's a YouTube video of a talk he gave: Ken Miller on Intelligent Design. He is a Roman Catholic biologist who describes why Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory.