iPods are the opposite of Dick Cheney. They just keep dying



photo by Admit One via Flickr

update 12:02pm ET: clarification. the "dying for no reason" is shorthand for an inexplicable hard drive failure which results in the loss of ALL music on the iPod.

For the FIFTH time, my girlfriend's iPod has failed. Five. Different. iPods. This last one we connected to a different computer and used a different FM transmitter in the car to try and isolate the problem. This product sucks.

I'm a big fan of Apple. The machines are pretty. They're like the Priuses of the computer world. Having one of their products makes me feel better than other people. But there is something seriously wrong when you can have FIVE different pieces of hardware all suffer the same fate.

That's the sign of a company getting by on undeserved reputation and not investing enough in quality. We all need to get this through our heads: Apple is no more noble, ethical or "good" than any other major company in existence. They are around to make money. Period. It's about shareholders and value and other buzzwords. If a good product comes out in the process, great.

But, apparently, they are willing to sacrifice truly good products in order to maintain profits and an image. I've watched with interest as several product issues and bugs pop up on the blogosphere, from overheating MacBook Pros, to dead pixels to battery problems and more. The consistent response from Apple is usually no response at all -- no acknowledgement that the all-white, clean room, perfect company might have a smudge or crack.

Instead, they may quietly release a patch or, worse, ignore the situation and let their fanatical base rip apart anyone who dare question the infallibility of His Majesty, Steve Jobs. The Catholic Church claimed infallibility forever, and we know how that turned out right?

I'm not saying Apple is out to rape little boys, but I am saying that for too long, I know I've been blinded by the white. I've endured frustration at the hands of Windows for so long, that I assumed the enemy of my enemy was my friend. Well, Apple, friendship isn't that simple. It needs to be earned.

Where does that leave me? Hopefully, I'm in a more honest situation, at least with myself. I still like Apple products, but they're made by imperfect people with imperfect motives. My own fervor has been severely dampened by this iPod situation.

As much as I love to dis Microsoft's efforts or Real Networks or Creative, I actually want them to do well. Because if they do well, it will force Apple out of its clearly complacent, dominant, untouchable realm. Look at how lax Microsoft got in the browser world when it dominated. Look at the history of the telcos or any other monopoly. Only when forced to compete, do they start to improve.

I'm officially in an abusive relationship with this company. I keep coming back, and they keep failing me. After five times, Apple, you need to seriously rock my world, or I might just leave you for real this time.

afterword.

I don't know what to do about my girlfriend's iPod. I hate to reward the company by purchasing a newer model. I have obsolutely no confidence in the replacement units. And I don't want to switch around the entire music management situation. I'm kind of invested in Audible and iTunes and more Mac computers in the house.

What would you guys do? Leave em in the comments!



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