Apple are useless

by Chris Hawkins @

After being annoyed with many, many aspects of Apple and continually wondering how on Earth they keep their reputation of being better than Microsoft, and the saviour of good user experience, I finally got sick enough to ask them to answer me a single question today. As if to prove my point, their support website doesn't work.

Not only doesn't it work, but it's made worse by appearing to work up until the point you hit send. The button does nothing. So after typing out a long diatribe to the poor support monkey who has to answer I couldn't even send it on.

Since I've typed it, I thought it may as well go somewhere, so let the rant begin:

I'm sick to death of Apple continuing to refuse to provide an MP3 option for bought media, and making it as awkward and inconvenient as possible to create your own.

I've used iTunes Store for many hundreds of pounds worth of purchases, which in this day and age I almost regard as being a hero to the music industry. Despite the fact you've finally got rid of DRM (huzzah!), I still cannot play a single one of these purchases in my car without going through a long and convoluted process of converting the files to MP3s. Generally, this involves ripping a CD with the songs I want converted on it, and them ripping them back onto my own computer, manually selecting MP3 as the required codec. And why? Because my car stereo, despite having iPod connectivity (and recognising my iPod as an iPod), refuses to play .m4a files.

When choosing which music to stick on my iPod - in so far as I can tell - there is no way to filter songs based on file type. While I accept my car stereo manufacturer bears some of the responsibility for this failure, just as much rests on you in my opinion.

If I do convert a purchased song to MP3 and add it to my music library, these days I'm constantly inundated with attempts to re-download the originally purchased file. This results in duplicate entries in my library (doubling the disk space used, making playlists a nightmare, and ruining your play counts functionality). All seemingly superbly designed as being as annoying as possible. And all the design of a company that built a reputation around superb user experience.

At this point in time I have only one question to ask of you (although I would appreciate a more in-depth answer to the qualms raised in this e-mail): why should I continue to buy music through iTunes, when Amazon - usually the cheaper option by a sizeable percentage - offers me the MP3 equivalent?