01.25.06

Mouse buys pixels, get’s apples

Posted in Society at 16:16 by RjZ

I am a mac user. I have been for years but I avoid the PC vs. Mac platform wars because, well, it just doesn’t matter, although I’ve used a PC for work and constantly surprised that people would actually put up with the dozens of tiny, subtle problems and frustrations that using a PC running Microsoft Windows entails. Oh, sorry, this isn’t about the platform wars. When I started this blog I had intended one of those categories that classifies the posts to be related to Apple news and somehow I’ve not gotten around to it. So now, without further ado, I am posting something people who don’t really care about computers might even be interested in.

Have you heard about “convergence”? It’s a buzz-word in the tech world for the crazy idea that anybody other than a college student would actually replace his TV with a computer. Can you imagine? You turn on “Survivor” and get the blue screen of death? Not good. Convergence hasn’t really been happening so much, although you can now buy “media center PCs” which have complex remote controls and attempt to marry all your digital music and photos with your TV. Media PCs aren’t really selling all that well.

One problem is that the media companies don’t have much to do with the electronics. When Apple first offered just 500 000 tunes on their iTunes music store it was considered a huge success just to get the record labels to sit down and agree on something. Meanwhile, even behemoth Microsoft has not been able to penetrate Hollywood. Sony would seem like a good choice to do this. They make interesting computers, nifty consumer electronics and own quite a bit of content and yet, I am sure there are plenty of Harvard Business School case studies that attempt to explain why they haven’t made this work.

At the same time a small company with a charismatic CEO has made a huge splash doing exactly what Sony should have been doing all the time. Apple has made a digital music player and music distribution ecosystem that dominates the market. Please note, I said ecosystem, not just an iPod. It’s another whole story, but the reason that the iPod remains successful is not because it’s such a great mp3 player, it’s because of the complete product wrapped around it: the interface, the computer software, the ability to put in a CD and get track names from the internet (!), the music store, the accessories, etc.! Make a great mp3 player that plays music and bakes cookies but doesn’t make it easy to get music or put it on your device or buy nifty toys for it and you won’t sell any cookie dough, or players. But back to my point. Apple’s iPod ecosystem is evolving from most successful digital music store on the planet (surpassing even brick and mortar stores such as Tower Records) into a digital video distribution system where one can download episodes of your favorite programs, without commercials, for later viewing.

Apple is concentrating on the content and distribution method and so far done little on the actual convergence side. Other companies seem to hope that if they build it, a perfect media center PC, they, the content folks, will come. Except that being held hostage by several content companies some of whom are so nervous about illegal copying that they’ve taken to suing their own customers, is not exactly a recipe for happy investors.

Now Disney has purchased Pixar and Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple computer, is also the largest shareholder of Disney Corporation and on the board. And suddenly the CEO of a computer company that, unlike Sony, has already demonstrated a hit in the media convergence market with the iPod, is in a highly influential place at a Fortune 100 company. The board may soon be using Apple laptop with middle management following behind (or at least the IT department forced not to forbid them.)Disney’s media can be distributed on the iTunes music (media?) store. (Plenty, such as ABC’s shows already is) Apple’s eventual entrée into the media PC market will actually have something to play on it and even a way to get that material to it. You get the idea.

Essentially, I believe that, provided the straight-laced 50s-influenced culture of Disney can mesh well with the ping-pong tables and frisbee matches at Pixar, this purchase will be good for Disney and thanks to the confluence of events potentially very good for Apple too.

How did Sony miss this?

11 Comments »

  1. Tim Rohrer said,

    January 26, 2006 at 9:31

    Interesting. Of course some us Linux and Wintel types were doing all this long before Apple’s iPod was even introduced… converting our music onto portable harddrive mp3 players or cd-based mp3 players (like the Archos, out years before the iPod–and the first to record mp3s), using mp3 ripping tools that auto downloaded track names from freecddb, getting a flashcard mp3 player years before the nano, had aTV card with a remote long before Tivo showed up, but why has Apple been so successful? Their Itunes software isn’t really any easier to use than others… they hide the real mp3 files on the hard drive and present you only with a list of links to them; their online music store sells encoded songs that require a bit of hacking to convert into normal mp3’s; and so on. In fact I rather despise iTunes because it is very clumsy from a file management perspective, and I don’t really like the iPod much as a player either.

    But the iPod is very clever about one thing, and Apple has a clever licensing and marketing plan to go with it. By selling it as the “easy to manage” hard drive where all your content–first music, but now photos and video–can live or get easily synchonized with some new material that’s only on the bigger hard dirve in your computer, and limiting it to being a minimalistic content player, they’ve encouraged a lot of people to step in and do what the ipod doesn’t do… so Bose makes speakers that the iPod slides into–wow! now you can actually charge your ipod and hear your music without headphones!–as do many car stereo manufacturers now (Ford just designed a car stereo with iPod slot to be optional on its higher end cars). Soon, if not already, video and photo stations will be available for the iPod, playing your visual media out to a TV or HDTV, while simultaneously charging it. Similarly, there are remotes so you don’t have to get up to change the music track playing on your iPod. And Apple rakes in the licensing dollars from all these “designed for iPod” products. Simple, pure genius.

    Moreover, note how it gets around the all-in-one media pc solution. First, by being portable hard-drive based, your media is portable. Two, by slotting into different devices, you can take it out of your iPod-to-HDTV player at home, drop it into your iPod car stereo as you drivbe across town to Ron’s, and then drop it into his iPod compatible stereo in order to Listen to that great new comedy “podcast” you downloaded last night. later maybe you’ll stop at the folks and show them some photos and home video of your new house or baby using their iPod based TV hookup. As for the details of who has what TV format where, or how good the audio speakers need to be when playing medium-quality audio source like mp3’s–well someone else takes care of those compatibility and technical details for Apple and just sends them the royalty checks. Brilliant!

    Except that Apple is already fucking their future up by making multiple incompatible interfaces for different “generations” of the iPods.

    Ever try hooking a first-generation, a fourth-generation, and a nano iPod into the same set of “designed for iPod” Bose speakers with charging station? Aargh! Give up! They’re incompatible! Then there’s the issue of the proprietary battery that only Apple can change. Gee, anyone ever hear of the AA battery standard?

    So, I’ll stick with established standards like flash cards, cd roms, dvd roms, unencrypted mp3s and the like for now. I can take a flash card out of my computer, put it into my tiny mp3 player. I can take a cd out of the computer, put it into my portable mp3 cd player or into my car stereo. There are car stereo, cigarette lighter plug in attachments that will play music off your flash card too–mine already accepts the audio in from my handheld player, though that makes the battery die quickly (stupid in a car that can act as its own generator). And mom already has an HP printer that will print out photos off that flashcard without even turning on the computer. So why would I bother to pay for the hassles of an iPod?

    And as for Sony? They’ll just prove that as bigger and bigger companies get more involved, even less innovation will occur and the devices will get even more clumsy to use. Sony is always much worse about insisting on exerting too much proprietary control, and even more accomplished at making things difficult by building painful incompatibilities and protections into the interface. Long live the BetaMax! Long live the Sony audio cd copy-protection rootkit virus!

    Someday maybe the big companies will realize that making content affordable and universally playable will sell both lots of players and lots of content. The audio and VHS cassettes are the benchmarks of success success in this respect. But in the meantime, I’m not holding my breath.

  2. Tim Rohrer said,

    January 26, 2006 at 9:48

    On reflection, one more thought.

    If I were a car stereo manufacturer I’d be jumping right now to make a mp3 capable car stereo with a flashcard slot. I’d bundle mp3 ripping software, a 2 GB flashcard. Hell, if it still had a CD slot, it could even do the ripping. You might even bundle a handheld player with a mini USB cable and flashcard slot. There you go, convergence and music on the go. And cheap, using mostly open and free standards. (Mp3 encoding patents do have to be licensed…)

    But best of all, as a car stereo manufacturer, I wouldn’t be jumping to pay Apple royalties. I’d be working to make flashcards with mp3s the next audio cassette.

    Plus, for the future, and on the higher end, I could even introduce video playing flashcard car stereo/car entertainment systems to replace DVD players for the kids in the backseat…4 GB flash cards aren’t far away… 8GB flashcards are around the corner… and DVD roms are 4.7 GB and DVDs 9GB… movies, anyone?

  3. RjZ said,

    January 26, 2006 at 10:02

    “Except that Apple is already fucking their future up by making multiple incompatible interfaces for different “generations” of the iPods.

    Ever try hooking a first-generation, a fourth-generation, and a nano iPod into the same set of “designed for iPod” Bose speakers with charging station? Aargh! Give up! They’re incompatible! Then there’s the issue of the proprietary battery that only Apple can change. Gee, anyone ever hear of the AA battery standard?”

    Hmm, the 1st generation iPod was released in 2001 and discontinued in April 2003. The 3rd generation, dock connector iPod was released in 2003 and is compatible, more or less with all the accessories since then. There are some shape and form factor issues and indeed, my iPod won’t fit in the slot designed for a mini or nano, but please, no other manufacturer enables this; time and technology marches on.

    So why not Tim’s flash memory solution? First, it isn’t really big enough. 512 K is nice but 4 to 20 GB is so much better. I like the flash memory idea personally, but my point (and it wasn’t the point of the post, just a side-issue) is what has made the iPod model attractive isn’t the player, it’s the whole picture. Tim may not like iTunes + iTunes music store + iPod + accessories but the market sure does. Coming out with a nifty new way to put music on your car stereo won’t cut it anymore. You’ve got to match that complete product, not just the device.

    The Archos for example fails because people didn’t want to have to manage their music files and deal with the nitty gritty. They wanted easy to make playlists that sync effortlessly with their players. Apparently they wanted and easy way to legally download music too. I don’t use iTunes music store at all. Doesn’t seem worth it to me. But I am not the market entire of myself.

    So come up with nifty players but realize that the ecosystem is what your competing against. Want to see how right this idea is? Boot up Windows! Windows survives, with buggy, virus ridden, proprietary software in spite of all the technologies from Linux to Unix to MacOS that are better because those operating systems aren’t competing on the merit of their code alone. They’re competing with the complete product.

    Should Apple stop using proprietary digital rights management? No, they’ve got 80+% of the market share. They’ll stop being proprietary only if they have a reason to be. (Windows doesn’t stop for the same reasons.)

    No one’s asking you to buy an iPod Tim. But, just because it’s fun to finally say back what I’ve heard 100s of times as a Mac user, if you were doing what the standard was, it would be easier to make you a modern mix tape like I just did for an iTunes using friend. No conversion, just make a playlist, insert a CD, rip and off we go. She had the song names, titles, everything right in iTunes. As long as you’re using some other player and some “proprietary” non-standard system, it’s not so easy.

  4. Tim Rohrer said,

    January 27, 2006 at 11:43

    Ron, I think the essential difference between us is that I am thinking about what I and other people actually want to do with music, and how to find the least hassling way of doing that–which Apple’s iPod and iTunes is not yet. So I’d like to see what Apple could do better, or what a really big company like Sony could do if they ever got a clue. And I think moving toward a universable playable hardware standard with affordable content would be better than what Apple is now up to.

    By contrast, I think you are thinking like an old-school Sony marketing/tecnology executive: we’ve got a niche, we’ve got lotsa market share, how do we protect that using proprietary technology? How exactly can the profit motive to lead us to do exactly the wrong thing, instead of what we (Apple) did right to gain market share? When you start more about thinking about profit and marketing niches and less about what people want actually to do with music, you’ll fail to innovate and fall into protectionism.

    As to the specifics: Flashcards certainly aren’t limited by any 512k size. The 2 Gb SD flash card I bought last week works in the same flashcard slot as does my four year old 64k SD flash card–and seamlessly in all the five devices I own that use them (mp3 player, my very old PDA, my digital camera, two computers and a printer). You might perhaps of been thinking of the size limitations of the iPod shuttle (with no flash card slot) that is memory limited to 512k, 1 GB or whatever is factory installed, and I’d agree any fixed size is too small. But me? If I need more space, I get another flashcard. They’re getting cheaper and larger all the time. Right now, I only use a mp3 CD in my car stereo both because a flashcard model isn’t available and CD blanks are so cheap as to be practically free. But in the future, hopefully, no CDs. Just flashcards all the way across.

    My larger point here is that unlike the iPod, flashcards work on a widely supported open standard with many devices, just as my brand new VHS tape works fine in my 15-year old VCR (standard introduced in 1976). And my old and new audio cassette tapes will work on players from the last 40 years (standard introduced by Philips in 1963). Now those standards are real market “ecosystems” (to use your metaphor). But Apple only has a temporary ecosystem niche. I like Apple and hope they will figure it out how to expand it and make it better, but given their current direction I doubt it.

    Yes, standards do change, times do change. But successful standards continue to work long after the cutting-edge technology has moved on. My point here was that Apple’s continual futzing with their dock connectors is a sign that they aren’t really thinking about creating a stable standard–and they’d be better off doing so. There’s lots that’s good about the iPod line, but manufacturers and consumers are really grumbling about whether they can bring an iPod accessory to market and not have returns because the standard dock connector has changed. Frankly, I think the real place to captialize on the iPod line was not as a “mp3 player” or “vertically integrated music ecosystem” but as the universal content “cassette tape” standard around which all players are designed. Apple doesn’t seem to be going in that direction, especially with the fixed memory iPod shuttle, as well as the Nano/3rd/1st generation docking connector incompatibilities.

    Lastly, as for your modern mix tape, I have nifty software that will read your non-standard iPod indexing db and put the tags into the mp3 ident tags where they belong–in the open standard for music track info. And by the way, readable on the Archos hard drive mp3 player, my mp3 CD player, my car player, my handheld player–all of which do just fine with file management playlists, and have been doing so since long before Apple entered the market. So I look forward to receiving your mmt–if that wasn’t just a hypothetical!

    I also really don’t care what Apple does about digital rights management, but I think it is in their best interest to realize that it will gradually recede in importance. Like Apple, Sony’s BetaMax once had a huge market share too. But universally playable and affordable content eventually won out.

    I do agree that Apple’s iPod and iTunes are no more open standards than Windows ever was. In fact I would compare the iPod/iTunes db to Windows 3.1–a poorly implemented, buggy shell running on top of a disk operating system–certainly not an ecosystem. Then again, I don’t like MusicMatch or any iPod/iTunes music db competitors either. The classic winamp m3u/mp3 player, coupled with a nice ripping/burning program like DBPowerAmp, is all I need to do what iTunes can do–plus winamp has some cool open source visualization plugins like MilkDrop that I’ve never seen for iTunes (though I think you finally got a crippled version of Gforce). But do I agree that I am more technically savvy than many other music listeners (like my wife) who like the iTunes/iPod all in one approach.

    Oh yeah, and as further evidence of how Apple is fucking a good thing up, how about that proprietary iPod battery technology? Pay $100 to Apple every year to change the battery on your iPod. Now I just paid $5 for a proprietary form factor battery for my Razr cellphone (which incidentally also plays mp3s, but can’t store many). Now which company is thinking like a bean counter or a consumer? Maybe the real iPod Achilles heel will be the cellphone/pda mp3 player–at least they have their thinking about battery prices straight.

    Again I wish Apple as a company all the best, as long as their “ecosystem” doesn’t fuck up the digital music playing scene for the rest of us. But I’m not as optimistic as you are about their direction–another PC analogy might be the genuine IBM PC versus the PC clone manfacturers, and we know how that turned out. Yes, personally, I wouldn’t buy an iPod at this stage of the game. But my criticisms all come from experiences I’ve garnered when my friends and family all call me when they need to do something with the music on their iPod that it or iTunes won’t let them do, either due to stupidities in their proprietary design, technical limitations or DRM issues.

  5. RjZ said,

    January 27, 2006 at 12:10

    First. I don’t know why I am responding as this was only a side note on my post in the first place.

    I think that the proof that Apple has it right in what people want with music is that their product and ecosystem is so successful. For example, I thought of a car mp3 player long ago myself, but now think it’s a ridiculous idea when I can play my iPod in the car.

    Flashcards aren’t limited to 512 MB, but they are very expensive still at larger sizes and more importantly, which standard would you like to use on these? I’ve already had to switch once on the card in my camera and there are at least five different formats I can think of off the top of my head. Hardly the universal you’re referring to. I am glad you’ve had success there. Would you like to buy several hundred dollars worth of SmartMedia cards I have that are now orphaned?

    MP3 CDs suck compared to the iPod (or other MP3 models) but you wouldn’t really know. Sure you’ve got 50 or more songs on there, but that’s not the same as 500 or 10,000 (hey, you should hear how similar this White Stripes song is to this Pixies song. Hang on, I’ve got them both right here.) The fun part of the iPod and other players is that we have our entire collections with us! Necessary? No. Fun? Yes. By the way, flashcards have the same problem. (So do small iPods, and there’s a market for them, but there’s a market for bigger players too.)

    So, to your larger point, flashcards are not widely supported because there are too many different kinds. My camera takes two, my phone takes another, etc. At least VHS is a standard. Apple only has a temporary niche, but that means that their control is temporary. If they start to lose control, they simply open their standards to meet the market demand. I don’t know if they’ll be smart enough to do this; all I am saying is that there is no motivation for them to do it now.

    Apple has not futz with their dock connecter except for once. They made an iPod. It was out for three years. They improved the connector to give it more features and create a larger ecosystem and it hasn’t changed in several product iterations. They have made the iPod itself smaller. That seems like a reasonable aspiration. The iPod is the cassette player, not the tape. iTunes is the tape. You could make a good argument that here they should open that up so that it works on all MP3 players. I think they can–if they need to. I hope they will–if they need to. But right now–no point at all.

    If Microsoft or Sony actually makes a competing product then Apple can then open up their standard. What would be the point of doing so before then except that it would make you happy about the direction their going in. Direction doesn’t make shareholders any happier–sales do.

    As far as the mix tape. Apple uses open standards for meta-data so there’s no “putting the mp3 ident tags where they belong” those aren’t stored in in the DB. But Apple does offer a proprietary standard AAC to encode music. I use it because it is slightly better than mp3 for quality vs. compression. I don’t have to use it–Apple freely works with mp3. But since I do, you’ll have to convert from AAC to MP3 and it won’t sound very nice. (From original to MP3 is fine. From one compressed format to another? Not so much) Anyway, if you want a modern mix tape and don’t mind the extra effort, I’ll be glad to give you one. I’ve lived with that for years. The advantage for me of using a mac was worth having to convert files that PC users would give me. That didn’t stop them from saying: if you used a PC in the first place this would be easier.

    Apple’s digital rights management (DRM) by the way isn’t their fault. It’s one of the most flexible in the industry, but let’s face it. It doesn’t do Apple any good at all to make it hard for you to copy your music. They do this because the record companies require it. Please note that no one sells music online without DRM.

    iTunes isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t sound to me like you have a great environment there either. “win amp, coupled with a ripping burning program like Power amp and open source visualization plug-ins? I have all that in one program (including open source plug-ins, although not likely as many) You noticed this advantage for your wife too. No one is forcing you to throw out winamp. (I have a mac copy) but you’ll note it doesn’t sell well either. Could it be because it’s more complex?

    I’ve had my iPod for three years. The battery can be changed by me, although Apple doesn’t advertise that fact. It doesn’t need to be changed though, although it doesn’t have the life it once had. More to the point, in spite of complaints about it, it doesn’t seem to be a big problem for people. Honestly, I wish I could change out the battery more easily as well, but it really hasn’t become an issue. Oh, and I can’t with my TREO phone either so Apple’s hardly alone on this one.

    Apparently I need to write more about the platform wars after all.

  6. Tim Rohrer said,

    January 28, 2006 at 11:38

    As you know, Ron, my wife has a 30 GB iPod so I do know about the differences between the number of songs of mp3’s on it and on a mp3 CD. But of course, I can always pop in a different mp3 CD into the car stereo. I usually carry seven cds in my visor storage–that’s the equivalent of a 6.5 GB hard drive. That’s 70 hours of music at my usual mp3 quality settings, so I don’t think mp3 CDs suck. They’re infinite.

    As for not knowing much about hard drive players: once upon a time, I used to have a 60GB Archos Hard drive player. I eventually sold it a few years back when my music collection got too large for it and I noticed I wasn’t using it, I was managing it. I haven’t been excited enough about any of the HD based mp3 players out there since. I jsut want to listen to a few hours of music here and there, not carry the music world around in my hip pocket. That was cool for a year, but then I wanted slimmer, lighter, infinite. And to just listen to music, not lug it around.

    So Ron, I think I do really know what I am talking about here, and in my opinion interchangeable media formats are way more useful than the iPod. Like you, I’ve been doing the digital thing since it started and have gone through several generations of hardware before arriving at that opinion.

    I do agree, however, about neeeding to sort out the multiple flashcard standards. I’ve been really careful to mostly stick with the MMC/SD standard. I had one smartmedia camera but that was along time ago; smartmedia seems dead while SD, CF and Memory stick are alive. But at $30 for 1GB/15 hours of music, that’s fine–especially for a lightning fast and tiny reuseable media. I do agree about the larger issue though–probably if Sony was ever to do this on a car stereo, they would use their annoyingly expensive MemoryStick proprietary standard rather than the SD standard. I just wish Alpine or somebody would do a SD/CF car stereo.

    But the real point here wasn’t ever that we should switch to flashcard based players. It is about inventing a truly open standard. It is that I think Apple could become a really dominant marketplace player if they ran more with the “cassette tape” metaphor instead of the “stereo” metaphor for the iPod. You ask how would that make Apple more money? If they can figure out a way to turn the iPod line–hard drives, flash storage, into the standard sorts of “cassettes” that every stereo player everywhere has to interface with and play, they’ll make a fortune both selling them and licensing their technology. But they’re going to have to get better about providing a consistent interface that can last 40 years, like the Philips audio cassette. And if they do it as an open standard, they’ll leverage the fact that other people make compatible devices with the standard into greater market share–a win-win. Easier said than done. But fuck, screw the player. Invent the next cassette tape.

    Now, there are at least four different dock connector styles on the iPod line that I am aware of. Old-style and new-style dock connectors, the nano, and none/usb only (the shuttle). That’s not to mention some docks, while physically compatible and can charge/read data, don’t seem to support video out on the new video iPods. Sure, smaller is good, new features are good, but this is just annoying chaos for the consumer. Didn’t anyone at Apple ever hear of backwards compatibility? Oh wait, this is the company that has radically changed the Mac’s underlying processor chip platform twice (68000 to PowerPc to Intel)! Apple strength has always been innovation. They’ve never been good at laying out a standard and leveraging that into market share–though I wish they had been (I liked the Mac OS!). Think ahead, Apple! or someone!

    When it comes to user environments, winamp is very easy to use and comes with everything most people need–and I think my environment is great. Consider what I actually do, not what some marketing and programming geniuses thinks I need to always be able to do. Most of the time I just want a little music playing in the background while I work on the ‘puter. Newer versions of winamp do add integrated ripping and encoding functionality, but I prefer the minimalist old version because it has such a light memory footprint. There are also plenty of other all in one solutions that do everything that iTunes does,e ven online music store links. Again, I just like the light memory footprint/uncomplicated interface of winamp because most of the time I am not bothering to rip or encode–and when I do, DB power amp is just an awesome complement to winamp. So I’d say it is personal preference here. My point was simply that iTunes was neither the first, not the only, nor the best way of doing that. And there are lots of iTunes replacements out there as well that can manage your music.

    Winamp is also free in in its minimalist version. Have you ever considered that that might be “why it doesn’t sell well?” Also, as iTunes is bundled with iPods whereas winamp isn’t, I think your sales figures comparison is bogus anyway. And since when do sales figures establish tat something is less or more complex, better or worse? I like the mac os better than Windows, and NeXTStep more than either, but Windows outsells all of them. Neither one of us thinks that is because it is more complex, or simpler, or better.

    Yup, the recording labels insist on DRM, so they are the real stumbling block there. No argument there. DRM sucks in general and exists in large part to keep people from doing with the music what they want to do with it. I think that’s wrong-headed. A better approach to DRM would be to make sure the artist gets paid when people copy the music, but allow them to do it. ITunes/iStore is sort of a compromise step in that direction with its 4 times encoding privileges, etc–but no one iPod user I know knew that limitation before they ran up against it, and certainly not before they bought the player.

    Yes, the AAC standard is an idiosyncratic proprietary Apple standard, but guess what–win amp can play it, just add a free plug-in. (As for compression standards, I prefer Ogg Vorbis myself, as it is freeware and open source; but I still mostly use mp3 as they are the defacto standard in many non programmable playback devices.)

    Perhaps I’m thinking too outside the box for you when I say I am thinking how people actually use the mp3 players and what they want to do with them, not how to establish and control market share. Yes Apple has done that. But will they keep their heads screwed on straight, or want to try to limit their technology to ensure their gravy term in the short term?

    ps–I think you keep responding because my comments keep provoking you to. I don’t think we’re arguing about platform wars. I think we’re arguing about what the best way to invent the future is, which is of course differnt from what will actually happen or companies are already doing.

  7. Tim Rohrer said,

    January 28, 2006 at 11:47

    Oh yeah, forgot one thing. Yes, it’s true that if you are willing to be a bit of a hacker you can change the iPod’s battery yourself, but you neglected to mention that changing the iPod battery yourself voids the warranty. Not just proprietary and expensive, but they punish you for changing it yourself. Now that’s consumer-friendly!

  8. RjZ said,

    January 28, 2006 at 13:35

    Alright, I’ll stop arguing although, it won’t be easy. I will say you’ll not likely have to replace that battery in one year, the length of the warranty, so that’s a silly argument.

    Thanks

  9. Tim Rohrer said,

    January 28, 2006 at 15:35

    why stop? have I really convinced you that the ipod as cassette tape metaphor is the way to go?

  10. another ner apple connector! said,

    July 23, 2012 at 7:34

    Apple just announced another new connector…

  11. RjZ said,

    July 23, 2012 at 8:11

    Wow, and it only too them six years. They really don’t care about backward compatibility at all, do they?

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