Earlier today, I jokingly asserted that were Apple to have a slogan, it would be “Buy it again”. Also earlier today, but slightly later than the incident just mentioned, my iPod broke. Again. And you can probably guess what that means, if you didn’t already from the title.
I should pre-empt this by saying that this rant is purely about the side of Apple that I see. Millions of people have positive experiences with Apple products. I’ve had my share as well, in fact I’d go as far to say that I love Apple products. HOWEVER. From where I stand, Apple as a company is an exploitative, money-sucking monstrosity. “The side. . . that I see”, “from where I stand”, what am I referring to? Simply put, I can’t reasonably afford the latest model. I resort to Apple’s number one cardinal sin: I buy used.
About a year ago, as a missionary in Whitechapel, I found myself in a second-hand electronics store. I had my eye on a sixth generation iPod Nano, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. A couple of weeks later, I had all I needed; my iPod Nano, watch strap and speaker. It was an awesome little portable setup, until the iPod broke. The sleep/wake button got stuck. Now looking it up on Google, it’s a incredibly common problem. Also, one of the parts that causes the fault? Double-sided tape. Who would have thought that double-sided tape isn’t a reliable long-term component? All I knew, though, was my sweet setup was ruined and I wanted it fixed. So I took the iPod to an official Apple store, and showed it to one of the “Geniuses” that deal with broken products. Of course, I didn’t have warranty. The solution to my problem? Replace it, or in other words, buy it again. The price was reduced, but it still cost more than I payed for it in the first place.
For some reason, I went along with it. Why on earth did I do that? I’m still not quite sure. Immediately afterwards I regretted it severely. I knew the risks when I bought a used product, so I really don’t have anyone to blame but myself. I wanted to make sure I was covered in case this should happen again, so I asked if I could get a warranty. Guess what? I couldn’t. I was completely unable to, because the model was no longer supported. There was only a 3-month return policy. So, I asked, what could I do if the iPod broke after those three months? Well, I could bring it back to the Apple store and get it replaced. I could buy it again. So let me get this straight. If this faulty product should manifest its faults at any time past this three-month period, I should subsequently reward its creators by turning in my faulty product and seventy-five quid in exchange for an exact copy. Well, guess what? I’m six months on and that very same fault has just reared its ugly head. Am I in a mood to buy it again, again? I am NOT. The alternative, buying the latest model, is a complete non-starter because the latest model is a flipping rectangle.
Are the Geniuses there for any actual repairs? I was in an Apple store in Birmingham two weeks ago to fix my second-hand iPad mini. Everyone around me seemed to be getting replacements rather than repairs. That was the solution to my problem too, because of course it was. Buy it again. I finally turned the iPad to a computer shop yesterday. They’re fixing it, and it’s not going to cost a whole lot. A happy end only possible by going around Apple. The “Buy it again” philosophy doesn’t only apply to broken hardware either. Did you buy a bit of music while you were on holiday overseas? Tough luck pal, iTunes does NOT LIKE that. Buy it again when you get back home. Did you buy a couple of seasons of Chuck through the iTunes store? First off, that’s super expensive, past me, why did you do that. Also, there’s a chance that it’ll all disappear from your library. Don’t worry though, the iTunes store remembers that you bought it before, and it’ll say as much when you go back there. You can’t simply re-download it though! You have to buy it again! Ohhh, don’t even get me started on iTunes. I hate everything it stands for. Saddling otherwise decent hardware with a bunch of deliberate roadblocks to make it incapable of dealing with files an the user-friendly manner that every other MP3 player allows? That’s the WORST, and I’ll leave it at that.
If you can afford to give Apple a sizable chunk of your income, you don’t usually run into the kind of problems I’ve whined about here. But if you can’t afford it, they’ll squeeze it out of you anyway. That’s my big problem. Now would someone please direct me towards a decent MP3 player I can wear on my wrist? I like to do my running with empty hands and empty pockets [Insert another dig at Apple’s money-grubbing tendencies here].