Back when the Pre first released, much was made over its ability to sync non-DRM music with iTunes. Back then Apple made the oh-so-intelligent comment that it could not guarantee that future versions of the software would continue to sync with non-Apple devices (read PRE.) True to that statement, Apple released an update to iTunes today that, among other things, ‘addresses an issue with verification of Apple Devices.’ Huh.
Now, I’m not going to moan about this. We all knew it was coming. Apple’s statement from June pretty much guaranteed that. Frankly, I’m surprised it took them this long. Certainly, they could not have been worried about quality control since iTunes is one of the buggiest and worst behaved application around. I did install it just to try out the sync abilities. I still have that version installed and do not plan to update it since I don’t use an iPod. I will keep my son’s laptop updated with the newest release of iTunes since the Pre won’t be used with that machine anyway.
Now, I totally understand why Apple is acting the way they are in regard to the Pre. It IS competition to the iPhone, no matter what anyone says. That’s not the entire reason they did this, though it is a major reason. No, I’m sure Apple wanted to plug this hole anyway. I know that other devices did the same thing that Pre did and ‘fooled’ iTunes into thinking that they were iPods. Apple does not want this. You might think it is stupid for them to prevent other devices from syncing since it would spur the user into buying more music. Remember, the iTunes Store does not provide as much revenue to Apple as the sale of the hardware would. Apple probably makes more from the sale of the device than they will from the sale of music for that device over its lifetime. Apple’s content providers take a huge chunk of the income from each track, add in the cost of running the store and that, most likely, only leaves a few cents from each track. Collectively, that adds up, but if you only count the sales for each device, it is a really low number. Unless someone just spends hundreds on the store each month, Apple could actually lose money if you use the store and iTunes with a device OTHER THAN an Apple branded device.
So, there we are. The Pre syncing with iTunes was highly publicized. If people started purchasing tracks who did not actually own an iPod (like I will do from time to time,) then Apple COULD potentially lose money. And since they are in the business of making money, they had to close this hole.
Personally, I have begun to buy music from the Amazon MP3 store. The quality seems better, the tracks are mostly .99 cents and I can buy and download directly on the phone. Plus, I can also use those tracks on my Zune and the family iPod.
iTunes was great, about four years ago. It is showing its age now and, because Apple is using it for so many things now, it has become a real pig. It is in dire need of an overhaul.
Yes, this seems like a boneheaded move on Apple’s part. Yes it seems disingenuous, and on many levels, it is. But, they had to do it. There are alternatives out there. Windows Media Player is a good choice for Windows users. For Mac users, there is the Missing Sync for Pre.