How Apple ruined My Christmas

I've always been bemused by Apple products -- interesting looking from a distance, sort of a disappointment when you get them in your hands. But my latest run-in has turned me into an Apple hater. They ruined my Christmas. Well, actually, my pre-teens Christmas... Same diff.

For Christmas 2008, I bought an Apple iPod Touch for my kid. This is the one that looks exactly like the iPhone, but doesn't have the phone bits in it -- it's advertised as an MP3 player. What a disaster.

Christmas day. Turn it on, it doesn't work. You must connect to iTunes to boot it. It will not turn on if you don't immediately register it. We don't have a Mac or Windows, so I spend 3-4 unhappy days, including much of Christmas day, trying to hack around this. What a mind-blowing waste of time. Repeated calls to Apple support, and wheedling, begging, pleading, nothing. Message boards, chats, googling all day. About a week later, I get an Apple store genius employee to turn it on. He promises me it will work. Liar liar.

It is impossible to load mp3's on it, unless you use iTunes, or jailbreak it. At the time, Google yielded about the same number of searches for "jailbreak iPhone" as "iPhone" alone. Which means that pretty much everyone who has ever talked about an iPhone has talked about jail-breaking it. What a shit.

While at the mall, (after leaving the Apple store where our new toy was unlocked), we find a wifi zone, and we play with it. Lotta fun, but it becomes obvious in about 1/2 hour that this iPod is not an mp3 player; what it is is a vending machine. Insert credit card, debit $1 or $2 and an app or two drops out. Play with app for a week or two, till you get bored, then pop a few bucks for another app. When I realize this, I suddenly understand what a master-stroke this is for Apple. Absolutely brilliant!

Well, a chrome-n-black-glass vending machine may be a suitable toy for an adult, but, for a pre-teen with no job, income, or savings, its a non-starter. To add injury to insult, it doesn't even play MP3's, which is its overt, advertised function. I mean, maybe it does play MP3's, but if you can't load them on there with anything except iTunes, what's the point?

By mutual agreement, we returned it. Shittiest Christmas present EVER.

Linas 2009