— 16 January 2008 —

Apple Can’t Have My $20

Claimer: I have an iPod Touch. Not an iPhone. When the iPhone gets to 32GB of disk space, I will get one. The only reason I have an iPod Touch is because of the generosity of a couple of friends of mine. Otherwise I’d have trundled on with my 4th Gen iPod.


Yesterday’s announcement of many things Apple-related caused quite a stir, in one way or another, around the web. As it usually does. For the most part, I wasn’t impressed. The MacBook Air is impressive from an engineering standpoint (on the surface) but frankly, I don’t get it. Yes, it’s cool. But I am with others on this: if someone gave it to me I’d be pleased but there’s no way I’d ever buy one. I am tough enough to carry the burden of 2 extra pounds and more on-the-go functionality for $700 less out of my account.

The Air aside, not much else sparked my interest. I was glad to see AppleTV do away with requiring a computer elsewhere in the house in order to work. Was never sure why it required that in the first place. And I’d still get a Mac Mini anyway.

I do like the idea of Time Capsule though. That’s one thing I may go get, but it’s certainly nothing I need right away.

That’s all well and good. But what I was somewhat excited to get was the 1.1.3 upgrade for the iPod Touch. More excited than anything else because that’s what affected me immediately since I have one.

I, like others, looked at the 5 new “apps” listed with the update and thought it all came as one. It wasn’t apparent until I downloaded the new iTunes, found the not-jumping-out-at-me link for “current Touch users” on the Touch page, and wound my way into the iTunes Store, that I found out those 5 apps cost me $20.

Uh. No. Let’s break down my “no.”

Mail. I have mail: gmail.com. And a few days ago, the fine folks at Google updated the UI for iPhone and iPod Touch users. It looks and acts very similar to what Apple released. I still need wifi access to make Mail work, so I am not sure what advantage it has over Gmail for me.

Maps. I have maps: maps.google.com. Biggest advantage I see is the “you are here (roughly)” feature. Right now I say meh to this. Most of the time I know where I am at, it’s where I need to get to that’s the problem. I still need wifi access to make Maps work, so I am not sure what advantage it has over Google Maps for me.

Weather. I have… well, let’s just say that these days you can get the weather from any number of sources online. Plus, “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” I still need wifi access to make Weather work, so I am not sure what advantage it has over even The Weather Channel (and its dancing, animated ads) for me.

Notes. This one I could almost see using. No need for web access with this one. Then again, a pencil and a scrap of paper are usually faster than typing on this interface. And if I am really hard up, I can use the Notes field on a calendar entry.

Stocks. I want the stock market to do well. Beyond that, I don’t really care. Certainly I can wait to find out how AAPL is doing once I get to a “real” computer. I still need wifi access to make Stocks work, so I am not sure what advantage it has over just having some patience to get back to the office.

4 out of 5 of these new apps require wifi and have as good equivalents elsewhere on the web. So why would I pay $20 to get them, when I already have them? Given this was a 1.1.x upgrade, I really expected these extras for free. Isn’t it normal that Apple doesn’t charge for the x.x.x updates, but does charge for the x.x ones? Regardless, I still get the Customizable Home Screen, right?

Uh. No. Apparently this is the 6th app and comes with the $20 bundle.

What did I get with my 1.1.3 upgrade? Some bug fixes. Which is good. One of the main bugs (an issue with Safari) is gone and I am happy about it. Thanks Apple! Seriously.

However, I don’t like the Mac Pro background for the “dock.” Without jailbreaking, can I make it go away? Please? It really doesn’t fit with the styling of the Touch and reduces contrast for the icons and the text beneath them.

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