My 3 teenagers have all purchased the iPod Touch from BestBuy. Actually, the youngest one just received his as a birthday gift and that is what is prompting this rant.
There are a variety of gadget sites that talk about the deals available at BestBuy (see here and here). The forums are split as to buying the warranty (here and here) but Apple doesn’t have a great track record on iPods and the BestBuy warranty has replaced 3 separate iPods for my family over the years so we think it is a good deal.
So when my youngest son wanted a new iPod Touch to replace his nano, it was natural for us to go to BestBuy. He was ecstatic when he opened the gift and it was plugged into the family computer within minutes. Imagine his disappointment when his brand new Touch had pre-2.0 software on it and iTunes wanted him to upgrade for only $9.95! This OS upgrade was announced almost a year ago.
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I regularly listen to KCRW’s “Left, Right and Center” on my iPod. While I enjoy the intelligent discussion I think they should rename the program to “Left, Very Left, Ultra Left, and Pretty Far Right”. The show now has a blog so I think it is fair to chastise them a little and condemn them for not being as open as they claim that they are – if they disagree they can say so on their blog.
Tony Blankley does an excellent job of holding down the right. His opinions are typically well thought out and his intellect does a decent job in offsetting the radical left. My biggest complaint is that he always seems to have predicted everything and wrote about it months ago and it is amazing that us mortals have only just now got to where he has been for a long time. It appears that, in his opinion, if we were just smart enough to read his column every week we wouldn’t have any problems in the world.
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So why don’t iPods support WMA and similarly, why don’t other devices support AAC (Apple’s format)?
The why is simple. WMA is the format that many companies (e.g. Yahoo) use in their stores to sell music. WMA is developed by Microsoft and it is a competitor. Is it a better sounding format? For the most part, no it is not – the formats are essentially tied in audio capability for the average listener and the average audio speakers.
So it is a competitive issue. Apple makes the best device on the market with something like 90% market share. They don’t like Microsoft, so they don’t play nice to Microsoft. It definitely is not a revenue issue for selling songs on iTunes since at 99 cents per song, Apple isn’t making a lot of money on the songs. They do make a bunch of money for every iPod that is sold though.
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I will dedicate my first rant to one of my least favorite things to deal with and try to circumvent: music formats.
I spend a lot of time listening to audio. I drive a great deal in my car so I regularly hook up my iPod to my car stereo to listen to music, audible books, and podcasts. I have owned a lot of different portable music devices over the years and the iPod is by far the best designed. At its basic level, it supports AAC, MP3 and WAV format. It doesn’t, however, support WMA. Why?
Why can’t all portable audio devices play all formats? Why can’t my iPod play WMA? Why can’t my daughter’s Creative Zen play AAC?
This makes no sense.
More on this topic later…