Another Reason I Don’t Like Apple

In Computing, The Pastor's Blog on July 16, 2009 at 12:42 AM

My first and last piece of Apple hardware was purchased a couple of years ago for me at Christmas by my lovely bride. It is a silver iPod Classic 80GB model, and it’s a wonderful gadget. What? How does that sync with the title of your post? I’m glad you asked, and by the time you finish reading this post, you will understand.

Those of you who read my blog regularly know by now my computer operating system of choice is Linux with Simply Mepis being the particular distribution. A quick look through my Computer Category will show you several posts written on the subject. Several of those posts have been published in a various internet computer magazines, for which I’m grateful.

The first time I became upset with Apple was shortly after unwrapping my iPod to populate it with music and videos. I dutifully booted into that vastly inferior OS called Windows XP, fired up iTunes, and loaded music to my heart’s content. I had to register the iPod that way and thought that would be as good a way as any to upload content. What a mistake!

It wasn’t long until I had booted back into the safe confines of Linux. I fired up one of my media applications to continue uploading music, but to my dismay, the music I had spent time uploading didn’t appear on the device. Here we go! Back to Windows again to fix the database, then back to Linux and the same thing happened. Grrrrrr! Come to find out it was the insidious nature of Apple’s proprietary ways that caused all the commotion. They purposely added some code to the database that made sure you could only use iTunes for Apple or Windows; nothing in Linux. It was iTunes or nothing at all.

It wasn’t long until the bright guys from Linux found a solution and began working on getting the fix out to whoever wanted it. I’ll tell you now, my iPod works better now using a couple of Linux apps far better than it ever did with iTunes. Apple refuses to make iTunes available for Linux, which is another reason to steer clear of them.

I would love to have a smart phone and have been looking at several models. Obviously, Apple’s iPhone is out of the question. Apple is not going to get my money; the more I read about them the more I see how much like Microsoft they are, and that’s not a good thing at all. A few phones that appeal to me are the Blackberry 8900 (T-Mobile), Blackberry Tour (Verizon/Sprint) and the Palm Pre (Sprint). Each one has features which are quite appealing.

According to an AP Hi Tech article posted today by Rachel Metz, those good ol’ boys at Apple are up to their old tricks again. Many would say they saw this coming a mile away, and it’s probably true. Apple purposefully broke the Palm Pre’s ability to sync with iTunes. Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the update “disables devices falsely pretending to be iPods, including the Palm Pre.” In another article by Jeff Bertolucci of PC World, information is given to help Pre owners work their way around Apple’s kill switch.

To sum it up nicely, I just don’t like Apple’s business model. Come to think of it, I just don’t like Microsoft’s business model, either. Perhaps they make good equipment (many argue there are far superior media players out there), but the way they are so proprietary is troubling to me. Do the words Microsoft, Internet Explorer and monopoly ring a bell with anyone?

  1. I totally concur with you. Unfortunately for me I have to have an Apple laptop to run the software I need for work because Adobe don’t make a Linux version and CS4 doesn’t run in wine, and Apple is better than MS, as a system.
    I do however run Linux, Sidux and Fedora on my other laptop, looking at Arch and Slackware (now that they do a 64 bit version).
    My audio player of choice is a Cowen iAudio x5 (not made anymore) with Rockbox on it. The sound quality is far superior to an iPod.
    I also don’t like either MS or Apple business policy and I do find it strange that they feel it necessary to alienate potential customers by being so selfish. If is wasn’t for CS4, I’d be MS and Apple free.
    For a phone I use the Nokia E71, updates only with windows, syncs with MS and Apple, not supported on Linux… yet? I hope so soon, but Nokia seem not to be interested, shame really, cos its a good phone.

    • James, first of all, thanks for dropping by this little corner of the blogging universe; it’s a pleasure to have you here. What would it hurt to have CS4 run in WINE? The answer is “nothing.” Just a wild guess here, but are you a web designer by trade?

      I’ve heard many good reports about Apple running better than Windows and I know it’s the preferred system for graphics artists, even music related tools. Actually, there’s some pretty good Linux distros whose function is multimedia; these are powerful resources. A lot of Hollywood graphics are made with Linux, and that’s pretty cool.

      I’ve also heard many good things about the Cowen brand, and Rockbox seems to be the ticket. Another wonderful thing the bad boys at Apple did was cripple the new iPod Classics to the point Linux cannot be installed on them. How petty, IMHO. BTW, do you know if there are current Cowen devices that will support Rockbox?

      One last item, James. Have you ever tried Simply Mepis (SM)? If you run Sidux, which is Debian-based, you might just really go for Mepis. On my journey to find the right distro, I tried Fedora, Mint, PCLinuxOS and a few others before landing on SM. The community forum and packaging team are just the best, and you won’t get hit with what many will tell you “you’re basically dumb and should read to find your answer.” If you browse through my blog, you’ll see several posts written about it.

      Anyway, I’ve got to go for now. Please come again as often as you want; bring friends and visit a while. I’m going to visit your blog again later when I have time to browse a bit. Be blessed, Brother.

      • I hope you enjoy my blog.
        I would like to run CS4 on wine but it isn’t supported, and yes I am a web designer, although I’ve only just started. I would love to do all my design on linux and I do do some. Gimp and Inkscape are good along with Bluefish and quanta. But as I am just starting out, the industry requires experience with dreamweaver and photoshop, so I have to use a Mac until wine can support CS4.
        I have tried SimplyMepis a few years ago and found it very good and the forums where second to none. The reason I moved away from Mepis was that it stopped doing Gnome, my desktop of choice. I know use xfce on Sidux and openbox on everything else. I have found with the amount of graphics and audio I do, kde and gnome use too much and the eye candy is too distracting although very attractive.
        Most of the Cowen audio player I think are supported by Rockbox. If you visit their site, its all there. As far I know, you can still put linux on an iPod and dual boot it too, and use the headphone socket as an audio in socket and record on it for play back later. Yes, recording on an iPod in ogg format too! I know this could be done, not sure now.
        I’ll have a longer look around your site when I have a bit more time. Be bleesed

        • A couple of points: You can easily add Gnome to Simply Mepis. There are a few Mepis-based distros to choose from. One of them, antiX uses icewm and is one hot item. Of course, you can add whatever window manager you want. Secondly, the iPod Classic is not supported by Rockbox or iPodLinux – Apple made sure of that (the scoundrels).

  2. It seems to me that Apple is pulling some of the tricks from Microsoft’s play book. I understand they are in this to make money, but I can not understand why they would deliberately break functionality with an update. You would think it would be in their best interest to work towards increasing the good will a customer would feel towards them. Alienating customers (potential or otherwise) in this way doesn’t appear to be the best way to do that.

    It all comes down to the fact that these large software corporations think they should be able to dictate how the consumer uses their products and I can not stand that. I want to be able to use it according to my needs, not theirs.

  3. I don’t see what is the problem. Why would Apple give to a concurrent the ability to sync with their music player ?
    Palm should have developed its own music manager instead of hacking iTunes.
    iTunes is not a public software. There’s no reason that it should be open to anyone.

    • Robert, I’m so glad you dropped by to give your opinion, even though it differs from many on this blog. It’s kind of like extending good will to those who just want to use their device to play music, videos or look at pictures. I’m not arguing the fact they have every right to do so; my point is Apple, by their very nature (kind of like MS – sad), might just be driving customers away. I will never buy another piece of Apple hardware simply because of the way the broke the ability to populate my iPod with software of my choosing. CHOICE, not being locked in, is the answer. Do you remember my point about MS and all the law suits against it because of Internet Explorer being so intricately woven into the fabric of the OS? Well, here we are again, the same thing, with Apple.

      I’m not saying Apple doesn’t make good stuff; they probably make some things pretty well. After owning my iPod Classic for a couple of years, I am not overly satisfied with the sound quality and am certainly not satisfied with the limited file formats it uses.

      Now, here’s the bottom line – it is my right not to like a company because of the issues raised. Robert, I moved away from MS in part because it was buggy, virus-ridden and limited choice. Please don’t take this comment to mean I’m angry at your comment, because that is absolutely not the case. Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to drop by. You are always welcome here.

  4. I think Apple would be worse than Microsoft if they wielded the same market power. Apple keeps things closed and in their control. You would think they would want their iTunes customers to be able to sync easily with the device of their choice, but you have to remember that iTunes is primarily a service to support their music player hardware business. This is why they go out of their way to diminish the experience on other players, and why they don’t open iTunes up to work better with other players. Apple wants you to buy Apple hardware to enjoy the Apple experience on their terms, and they really don’t care about their own customers as you can see by many of the their decisions, i.e. being locked to AT&T for the iPhone, proprietary phone plugs, your own iPod experience…..

    I wouldn’t buy any of their products myself because I don’t like the corporation and how they behave. They’re yet another large corporation focused on money alone with little moral substance.

    A Christian alternative would be to run your business concentrating on your customers, what they need, great products, and playing fair in the market place. If you do all that well, the money will come. Of course, I only really see this play well in privately held companies, as the corporate shareholder system puts too much emphasis on money alone.

    • Well-said, Bugz. What would it hurt to have iTunes ported to Linux; Apple and Linux do have some similarities.

      I don’t believe most people look at issues like we do; they’re just interested in having a cool toy such as the iPod or iPhone. The iPhone is one hot-selling item and there’s a large customer base already out there. From that perspective, Apple is quite successful. Apple computers are just plain expensive; they might be well-made and offer good features, but they do cost a significant amount of change.

      Yes, money is the bottom line in so many decisions in the market place. Never mind ethics, just make that dollar.

  5. […] Another Reason I Don’t Like Apple Those of you who read my blog regularly know by now my computer operating system of choice is Linux with Simply Mepis being the particular distribution. A quick look through my Computer Category will show you several posts written on the subject. Several of those posts have been published in a various internet computer magazines, for which I’m grateful. […]

  6. Yes, Apple hardware and software seems to be laden with DRM and crippleware the same as MS stuff. Got the teenagers a couple of Ipods 2-3 years ago and iTunes seemed like a massive piece of bloatware, while trying to get their old music off of tapes and some CD’s they had. Fortunately the good hacks who programmed the Linux Player “Rythombox” programmed in native iPod support that was lean and fascicle and I had a couple Linux machines left around for some numerical computing projects. We found a couple other Linux apps that were seemless with the iPod and opened up the hardware (free as in libre) . This is yet one more thing to tip them (the next generation) over towards open source. These corporations may have the current generation hooked but the younger ones (as much more sophisticated and discerning in what they want as users) are not really standing for this, Apple and MS due this at their peril. I know I myself now steer clear of closed source whenever possible.

    • The older iPods can often be used to upgrade their productivity by installing Linux on them. Unfortunately, the iPod Classic I have is crippled to the point where this is not possible. Rhythmbox is a wonderful tool, one of many, that will allow you to populate your iPod quite easily. I use gtkpod, and it is one of the simplest tools around.

      Anyway, thanks for dropping by; you’re always welcome.

  7. As for music players, I can recommend the Sansa Fuze. It has several features that I don’t think the ipod’s have (radio, voice recorder, extendable storage through mini SD card slot) for a fraction of the price. The Sansa Fuze is also one of the few music players I’ve found that natively supports ogg and flac files in its firmware. Sadly, the official firmware update utility that they produce for it only works in Windows, but if I remember correctly, there is an alternate, slightly more manual way to update the firmware that will work in Linux too.

    • Will, thanks for dropping by and leaving your input; it is greatly appreciated. The Sansa Fuze you mention seems to be quite a good alternative to Apple’s iPod. I wonder if the update utility will work through WINE. Supporting ogg and flac is a good thing, in my opinion.

  8. Getting iTunes working properly on Wine is a perennial moving target, as it would obviously be very popular *but* they update it all the time with the very latest Windows APIs …

    • David, I’ve never been successful getting iTunes running under WINE, although I really didn’t try that hard, either. IMHO, there are far better apps one could use to manipulate media than iTunes, and I’m using a couple of them. I’ve also tried to figure out why Apple locks out so many people. You would think they would want more people using iTunes, but that’s just me.

      • Oh yeah. I can’t stand itunes myself. Nevertheless, a lot of people like it, and want to buy music from the iTunes store and so forth. So it’s a perennial target. If it gets working, I wonder if Apple will deliberately break it …

        • I can remember trying to populate my iPod shortly after opening the box. Naturally, I had to put all my CDs on there, but I noticed something peculiar; double entries were the order of the day. I can’t tell you the number of times I cleaned the database and recreated it while in Windows. After finally getting the hack from the smart Linux guys, there was never another double entry. Amazing, don’t you think?

  9. […] of you may know of my disdain for Apple products, and I wasn’t about to put money into their coffers again. Admittedly, the iPhone […]

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