Does Apple Monitor the Apple Support Forums At All?

Now I have had this hunch for quite a while. I am not sure what experiences other people have had, but despite the “it just works” marketing hoopla, many times our Macs don’t just work. In recent memory I have had problems in OS X, Logic, iTunes and iPhoto just to name a few. These problems aren’t just glossy little I can’t figure it out problems, they are bugs or glitches. So big that searching Google almost always brings up a huge 50+ message thread on the Apple Support Forums.

The one thing that seems to be missing from these support forums is any comment or interaction at all from anyone at Apple. I am not sure what the expectation for product support forums but I am used to seeing a “this isn’t a bug” or “we are researching this” or whatever. But in all my searches on Apple’s support forums I only see hundreds of hapless souls who are suffering from the same problem with no response or resolution from Apple.

Today I got screwed out of $0.99 by Apple. I wanted to add Megadeth’s Sweating Bullets as a ringtone for my iPhone. Now let’s be clear, I not only OWN this song outright, but I also have it on Zune Pass, so I kind of double own it. But I wanted to do it the easy way which costs $1.48.

I bought the song, downloaded it, right clicked and choose “Create Ringtone” and got this little jewel of a message from the iTunes store:

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Excuse me? I bought it. It said I could when I paid for it, now you are saying I can’t after I already repurchased a song I already had? The Apple Forum page I found on it said that lots of other people have had this problem and not a word from Apple.

Make any song a Ringtone

Well, that’s crazy, but as all good geeks do, I found a way around it. Do you have the song you want as an MP3? Drag it into Garageband. Clip it to the length you want and choose “Send to iTunes as Ringtone” from the share menu. Then it doesn’t matter if you ever owned it or not.

Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon of useless support forums at Apple?

Think the new $0.69 iTunes Price is cheap? It’s nothing compared to Zune Pass.

What’s that you say? Subscription sucks because you want to own your music? Here are some numbers for you.

iPod Classic 120GB Zune 120GB
$224 @ Amazon $239 @ Amazon.com
$0.69 DRM $14.99/mo.
16,000 songs 16,000 songs
$11,040 61 years @ 14.99/mo.

What’s that you say? let me explain a little further. I pay $14.99 per month with my Zune Pass subscription. It gives me access to millions of songs to download, and I get to keep 10 songs DRM free per month. At iTunes prices, DRM free is $1.29, so that’s $12.99 worth if iTunes music per month, and I get to download unlimited DRM’d music to listen to for the additional $2 per month.

Basically, if you were to fill up your iPod Classic 120GB device with the cheaper DRM’d music at $0.69 per song, it would cost you roughly $11,000. I can download at will, all I want for $14.99 a month for the same songs at the same quality, also under DRM control. At the monthly rate, I would be 95 years old by the time it because more expensive than buying them from iTunes. That’s 61 years!

I have been a devoted Zune/Zune Pass user for about 3 months now, I have two iPods that I haven’t touched in that time. The device is awesome, great interface, built in FM Radio and Wifi that allows you to sync wirelessly and download new music wirelessly.

Why are you still using an iPod again?

iTunes, let go of my computer please…

itunes2 I am really curious about something. iTunes is a media player, right? QuickTime is a codec and a browser plugin for the most part, correct?

I mean, iTunes plays MP3 and other media files, I can see there being file associations to open iTunes with certain file types. I know that it’s meta-data is all stored in XML.

Can someone please explain to me why I would possibly need to reboot after updating iTunes? What kind of hooks are you installing on my computer Mr. Jobs? I don’t understand….

So when iTunes originally shipped it was a cute little media player with I would say at least 60% of the functionality it has now. That was 2001 and I remember it weighing in at around 20.1MB. It’s 2008 and it’s about 70MB. That’s quite the growth considering that the only big changes have been video playback and iPhone management.

Size doesn’t really bother me that much, it’s good software, it could be 200MB and I wouldn’t really care, I just wonder when I am forced to reboot, what else is Apple trying to force into my system.

We already know that they will stop at nothing to trick you into installing Safari for Windows, and they blackmail you into installing QuickTime, but what is it? Mobile Me support?

I am not sure, but I have to say that I am pretty much in love with my Zune lately and the Zune 3.1 software is a much more complete and interesting experience these days. I can learn about bands, who influenced them, who sounds like them, find other uses that like them and see what else they are listening to, and get a regular stream of new music that the iTunes store is too cumbersome to show you easily.

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I would have balked if you had told me I would be saying this six months ago, but the truth is even with 3 Macs in my setup, I listen to the Zune device all the time and use the Zune software as my music player. Why you might ask? Zune Pass. Today I open it up and it knows me and says, "Hey dude, the new Nickelback is out and you might also like this David Cook fellow…" I pretty much get all you can eat music (even sweeter with the keep 10 addition) and I download the two albums and crank them as we re-arrange the house today. Who could ask for anything more.

Apple has a bad memory, I don’t want Safari or iTunes Damnit…

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I know I have complained about this before, but tell me this isn’t somewhat predatory:

All I have installed on this PC is quicktime.

I got a software update saying there was a new version of Quicktime, I unchecked Safari and Itunes because I don’t want them on my work machine.

I updated Quicktime and the dialog box came back with Safari and Itunes checked again.

I chose quit. This time I opened the dialog for this blog and guess what, Safari and iTunes are checked again.

Does little Stevie really thing Safari has a chance of gaining marketshare?

Does Mr. Jobs thing that it’s his Apple given right to have iTunes on every machine on earth?

Will our heroes escape the trap that the evil Dr. Jobs has set…wait, that’s Batman, nevermind. I don’t want these apps on every PC I own. I do want it at home, to be honest I don’t REALLY even want Quicktime….. Just leave me alone!