Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Some People Get It


My anti-Apple rants have not always made me popular amongst my iPod worshipping, Mac totting compadres-- and with the announcement of the new iPhone, the entire world seems to have turned into drooling, bonobo mac addicts and I felt like the little kid walking through the cafeteria desperately searching for someone to sit next to.

Finally it seems as if the cool kids are asking me to sit at their table.

The NY times wrote an article
on Sunday about apple's new iPhone titled, "Want an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs." It seems as if Randall Stross has touched upon the reasons I have for so long been an anti-apple advocate.

First off, the phone is astronomically expensive. Secondly, Cingular (which is soon to be known solely as AT&T--say goodbye to Cingular you'll never hear that name muttered in profesional media outlets again,) has signed on as the sole provider for the phone (screw that). Lastly after going through great pains to find a phone (that I liked) that played music I ran into a conundrum, nearly the same conundrum which led Melanie Tucker of NorCal to sue Apple this year. Apple's "Fairplay" copyright standards inhibit me to play music -- which I paid for legally -- on my MP3 player because it is in a un-convertable M4A format.

Here is how FairPlay works: When you buy songs at the iTunes Music Store, you can play them on one — and only one — line of portable player, the iPod. And when you buy an iPod, you can play copy-protected songs bought from one — and only one — online music store, the iTunes Music Store.

Imagine how pissed off I became when I realized the album I had just payed for (which is a huge step for someone coming from the Napster generation,) and that I now legally owned was worthless to be because I wouldn't be able to listen to it on my chosen music player. After adding this onto the litany of reasons why I hate apple (faulty battery in brand new iPod, refusal of apple to replace it because I don't have a receipt, overpriced laptops or dare I say 'consoles' since they are nearly impossible to fix yourself), I quickly removed iTunes from my computer and shoved my battered and defective iPod under my bed.

Apple defends itself stating that the DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), is enforced by record companies and not by Apple themselves. I have to agree once more with Mr. Stross when he says

This claim requires willful blindness to the presence of online music stores that eschew copy protection.
Its also interesting to note:

Apple’s statement is a detailed treatise on the subject, compared with what I received when I asked the company last week whether it would offer tracks without copy protection if the publisher did not insist on it: the Apple spokesman took my query and never got back to me.

You'd be kidding yourself if you thought it wasn't all about the money. Apple is creating a Monopoly on music downloads and the portable music playing market by refusing to work towards the best interests of it's consumers-- all consumers, including us PC users.

So if anyone knows a good online music store that doesn't impose totalitarian infringements on their files, let me know.

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