Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Rotten Apple, Part II

Okay, back on track to yesterday's cliffhanger. Why does Steve Jobs have my money?

...Drumroll please...

My iPod broke.

"But Andrew, didn't you say you hated Apple with a passion? Why then, would you own an iPod?"

Be quiet, Victor! While it's true that I've never liked Apple, this story goes back to a simpler time. A little under two years ago, to be exact. Y'see, back then I was a bit more ignorant than I am nowadays about MP3 players and the like. Up until the time I graduated from high school, I had seen one iPod. One!

(There's a good reason for that, too, and it's why I don't think high school students should have iPods. In college, when you get finished with a class, you most likely have to walk a distance - alone. And unless you're the type to have a good conversation with yourself, this silence can be disturbing. However, when you're done with a high school class, you're in break. In the quad. You have friends to talk to. No music player needed.)

Now, where was I? Oh, yes! I was hopelessly clueless as to the whole world of digital music. To be blunt, I actually thought that the iPod was the only MP3 player available. After all, it was the one I was hearing about everywhere. Like I said, clueless. So, I bought one. Secretly, of course. I didn't want my parents finding out what I had spent a good chunk of my graduation money on. I then took every CD in my house that looked interesting and stuffed all their songs onto the included version of iTunes that installed on my dad's computer (secretly, of course). Off the top of my head, I'd say it was about 3,000 songs.

(By the way, when I finally did tell my parents. They couldn't be happier. It was a pretty practical purchase, after all. I'm not sure what I was afraid of.)

So, I had this iPod, which I brought to college with me, and it became my saving grace. Music is a very wonderful thing, as it turns out. And it seemed to work fine.

That is, until exactly one year, 3 weeks after I bought it.

I think the best term would be "cascading systems failure." In the 3 weeks preceding its death, my iPod skipped, skipped, and froze. After resetting the item, it would skip, skip, and freeze, doing it in half the time. Every day, it would mess up more and more. At one point, I would turn the damn thing on, choose a song, and within 10 seconds, it's frozen. The day after that, all it would display is a sad iPod with X's for eyes and a URL to their help website.

I logged onto that URL, looking for help. And I was given advice by a lot of other users. None of the advice worked. I thought I was finished. Then someone said, "Apple can replace it, you know."

It was a spark of light. So, I called Apple. I explained my situation. The only thing the woman cared to ask about, though, was "Do you have a warranty?"

"Um, I think so."

"When did you purchase the item in question?"

I frantically searched for a receipt. And I found one. I told her the date.

"I'm sorry, that warranty expired three weeks ago. We'll have to charge you for the repair. For what you described, that would be $249 plus tax!"

"Madam, what do you take me for?!" And I hung up.

My iPod was dead. It died three weeks after the warranty did. And it would cost the same to fix it as it would to buy a new one. I could feel my resentment toward that company grow.

As fate would have it, my father gave me his (he got it as a gift and never actually used it). It had half the memory size of mine (20GB instead of 40), but it gave me a second wind. I stockpiled all my songs onto it and was plum happy.

Until Sunday, that is.

Yes, once again, the exact same sequence of events; exact same cascading systems failure; exact same sad iPod and URL; exact same everything. This one was able to live for about one year, 7 weeks (I attribute the extra month to the fact that my dad hadn't opened the thing in half a year). I didn't even bother to go onto their help website. With the warranty over, the damn thing just became a paperweight.

And that's how I became Steve Jobs' "ideal customer": buying a new iPod every year. How frickin' convenient.

With all these grievances, why don't I just buy a different product, a different MP3 player? Well, my young padawan, remember what I said yesterday. About Apple having exclusive file formats. As it turns out, the iPod isn't an MP3 player at all. It's an M4A player. And all my music files are in the M4A format, a file type that essentially no other device will play.

That's how they get you. That's how they got me.

I currently have 5,289 songs in iTunes. In order to use a different player, I have to convert ALL of them to a different format (easier said than done, considering Apple's encryption policies).

I can't do it. I don't have the will.

And so, I went onto Apple's online store (I refuse to link to it) and got a new 30GB iPod. I didn't want a video version, but I don't really have a choice (I am not buying second-hand merchandise). And I bought the extended warranty. I truly believe that the iPod is the only product in existence where the extended warranty is a good deal, as the damn thing seems to be manufactured to fall apart after the one-year warranty dies.

The new iPod is scheduled to arrive tomorrow.

I hate Apple.


Unknown said...


oh, in high school, we did NOT have recess! recesses ended in 8th grade. in high school, we didn't go to recess. WE WENT ON BREAK! and than WE WENT ON BREAK TO LUNCH. We didn't go to recess; we weren't forced to exercised. NO! WE WENT ON BREAK! NOW GO BACK AND EDIT THAT PART. recess... don't make me vomit up tonight's dinner of under cook beans. did i say vomit? i meant don't make me engage in an involuntary personal protein spill!

well if you know when the warrenty ends. and i assume that the ipod dies after a year. why don't you simply replace it before the year's out? whether's it's broken or not. you get almost double the the time? and you get a brand new one for free. but I assuming that they replace ipods instead of just repairing them.

Andrew Schnorr said...

Fine, edited.

As far as replacements, Apple won't do anything about it if there is no evident problem. And in both cases, there wasn't until it was too late.

Unknown said...

first, thank you for the edit.

second, why do you just break it on purpose? like the screen? than send it in before the warrenty expires.