Apple screws the pooch again



Now that the Macworld hysteria has settled we can reflect upon Apple’s announcements this week with unbiased perspective. The purported “leaked keynote” turned out to be as counterfeit as Fake Steve Jobs, and more likely leaked by the real Steve Jobs to ferret out dissidents within the ranks at Apple. Either way, heads will surely roll over that folly. But before we talk about the pooch Apple is trying to mount up doggie style, let’s take a look at the latest revelations from Apple.

The MacBook Air, as it turns out, was not the Apple-Nike-Michael-Jordan basketball shoe mashup, but rather a new ultra-portable, super lightweight laptop so thin you could almost slice tomatoes with it. But at $1,800 for the baseline version, it’s a lot of cabbage to shell out for something that could blow away in a stiff breeze. Maybe they should include a neck laynard for it like the first generation Nanos had so you can wear it like a medal.

Then along came the news about movie rentals in iTunes. This sparked some debate about whether this is the “Netflix killer” even in light of Netflix’s move to give away unlimited video streaming to most of its subscribers. In our opinion, Netflix is easy prey for Apple since their streaming product is PC-only, offers no newer releases, no HD, and has a clunky distribution vehicle that appears primitive when compared to iTunes. In addition, Apple’s movie rental service works with Apple TV enabling integration with your living room, the holy grail of home computing that Microsoft has been hoping to own with the Xbox.

And then, of course, was the announcement of the new firmware update that includes some nifty new features for the iPhone and iPod touch. The home screen and springboard are both customizable now, you can send SMS messages to multiple recipients, and the Map app now displays your current location (surprisingly accurate thanks to cell tower triangulation).

Apple’s stock price indicates that investors were hoping for more iPhone news, but that didn’t bother us at all. No, it wasn’t the lack of iPhone love that got our goat, but rather the announcement about the apps for Mail, Map, Weather, Notes, and Stocks being included in new iPod touches. Existing touch owners will have to fork over $20 bucks to get these apps when the price of new iPod touches remains the same. Say what?

C’mon Apple, these dogs are your early adopters and best customers and your asking them to roll over so you can squeeze them for a few more Milk Bones. This move is reminiscent of the iPhone pricing fiasco last August when Apple decided to drop the price of new iPhones two months after they were released, a move which ticked off the early adopters that had already paid much more for their iPhones. Apple eventually made up for it with a rebate, but they should have considered it before making the announcement and causing anxiety with their most loyal followers. iPod touch owners are feeling the same way now and some have even started an online petition. Do these things actually work? Well, even if it doesn’t work, at least it might send Apple a very clear message. Please don’t screw the pooch. Give existing iPod touch owners the apps for no additional fee.

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