Open Letter To Apple
It has recently become apparent that Apple does not intend to make the features from its new iPod software available to those of us who already have iPods. I hope this is remedied soon, lest Apple's lack of support become as well known as that of its competitors. I submitted the following via Apple's iPod feedback form and wanted to share it with the rest of you:
Dear Sir or Madam,
My wife gave me a custom-engraved 20GB Windows iPod as an anniversary present, and I absolutely love it. I am, however, greatly disappointed in the lack of support Apple has shown for existing iPod owners and in particular for those of us who purchased Windows-format iPods.
At issue, first, is the fact that Apple has put only a small fraction of the new 2.0 firmware's functionality into a "1.3" release for existing units. As a technology professional of course I understand that the hardware is different and the same firmware binaries might not work on both units, but it is irresponsible not to duplicate this functionality for older units. For the considerable cost of an iPod, its owners should receive the full benefits of Apple's software improvements, for several years at least. My iPod was received just six months ago, just a month after it came on the market. Surely I deserve to see oft-requested features like on-the-fly playlist creation implemented for my iPod.
Second is the issue of Apple's subtle and not-so-subtle discrimination against those of us using Windows-formatted iPods, in the form of missing features like Audible bookmarks and track playcounts, not to mention the delayed availability of even the 1.3 firmware update. These are associated with the choice of MusicMatch Jukebox as the bundled software (which is dubious at best; why not choose XPlay or EphPod, tools developed purely out of love for the iPod and a desire to get the most out of it?). There is no technically sound reason for these shortcomings in the Windows firmware - the FAT32 filesystem is well understood and no harder to work with than HFS.
I am glad that Apple has put resources into updating and enhancing the iPod hardware and software, but it would be most shameful if this was done at the expense of current customers. These devices are not cheap tape or CD players, and we aren't going to run out and buy new ones every year. I expect a respected company like Apple to do everything it can to reward those who are already supporting the company. Given the good design of the iPod I'd been thinking seriously about moving to Apple notebook computers, but I've abandoned that idea, and will not reconsider it unless I see some changes.
If Apple thinks that it can encourage me to invest in MacOS systems by crippling what should be a platform-agnostic device when it's used with my computer, it's sadly mistaken. If Apple thinks that it can encourage me to purchase a new iPod with a slap in the face of recent adopters such as myself, it is utterly wrong. This is utterly cavalier treatment of paying customers, and buying additional products from such a company would be throwing good money after bad.
I strongly urge Apple to rectify these situations. I understand that full Audible support for Windows-formatted iPods is on the way. I hope this is so, and that this update comes with track playcount functionality as well. Even more importantly, bring 2.0 to existing iPods. Treat customers new and old with the respect they deserve, or they will cease to be your customers.