Apple screws its community

My son is mad and has a right to be. If he and other Apple fans knew the video iPod was coming in only a few weeks, they might have bought it instead. They should have had a choice. Jobs is gaming his community for no good reason.

  • williamP

    Calm down, Jeff. They’re very different products. And you seem a lot angrier than your son is.

  • I bought an iPod a few weeks ago as well, but I really only have myself to blame. It has been known for quite a while that a new iPod was coming out.

  • Actually, what you should be more upset with is that Apple yet again released a crippled product that is all Web 1.0.

    When will Apple release a portable music device that isn’t just about buying other people’s music or videos?

    More on why I’ll never buy an iPod.

  • PXLated

    Apple didn’t screw anybody. New products get introduced all the time without warning.

  • Andrew

    Yea, introduce it and endure 3 weeks of ZERO sales just to satisfy someone too lazy to read a Mac rumors site?

    Tell your son about Google….it’s this thing where you can search for information.

  • Isn’t this kind of like crabbing that Santa Claus didn’t show up before Halloween? You don’t announce what you’re going to be announcing before the actual announcement.

    And if Jobs had announced what he was going to be announcing, the people who got iPods before *that* would be mad.

  • Skate

    Puhleeezee, I sympathize but all electronics are obsolete when you buy them. Perhaps you would prefer the vaporware promises of other companies?

    If your son wants to complain, how about complaining about the new video DRM, or the fact that the Video iPod can’t playback Divx, OGM or WMVs.

    Oh, and the pricing. $2 for a super low rez TV show? Ridiculous, especially when your soon to be legislated out of existence DVR can record it for free. Apple should have made a DVR that could load up a video iPod with the content you have already paid for buy getting cable–not having to pay for the content twice! Paying extra for a low rez version is insulting.

  • Tim Windsor

    Jeff, your complaint is essentially “How DARE Apple innovate so quickly!!!!”

    Yeah, I own a nano, which doesn’t play video. Sucks for me, right? Except I bought it to play podcasts and songs while I work out, so there. Do I want (do I WANT) the video iPod? Nah. I’ll wait a generation on that.

    Which means in another 6 months I’ll be selling on eBay and buying on

  • Be nice.
    Of course, we saw the rumors. But Apple sues people who print rumors.
    And there were equal rumors denying the existence.
    Forget Google: It was on blogs and Digg.
    The point is very simple: Apple should have presented its customers with a choice. People like to buy the latest from Apple; they did; and many of them might have preferred the video iPod. Shouldn’t they have had the choice?
    They didn’t innovate quickly (what, they designed it and came out with it in three weeks?). They held back the second product in a cynical move to push the first.

  • b

    I think Jeff’s point is that Apple (and other companies) should be more open with their upcoming products. It’s the same idea that Jeff has been advocating: customers have control, companies should stop trying to deny or prevent this.

    Whether that is a viable view is up for debate.

  • Tim

    Same applies to the G5 that just got refreshed, rather dramatically too. In either case, it’s long been a rule in the tech business that buyer beware — what you buy today may be obsolete tomorrow. And Apple has every right to play its cards close to its vest (or should I say black turtleneck?)

  • Customers have a choice either way. Whether an October 12th launch is announced on October 12th, or August 1st, customers have a choice as of the announcement. Now, instead of “screwing” the people who ordered on October 1st, you screw the people who ordered on July 21st.

  • b: Right on both counts.
    Mark: So they are “screwing” their most passionate customers.

  • tony

    “They held back the second product in a cynical move to push the first.”

    Prove it.

  • Mike G

    Apple screwed your son by innovating new products constantly? What a pity they can’t be more like GM, I guess, then.

    You know, it’s not like anybody’s created a giant auction site where he could get almost his purchase price for his Nano, if he really wants to get rid of it.

    “I think Jeff’s point is that Apple (and other companies) should be more open with their upcoming products.”

    How? Maybe by… holding a big announcement event?

    No matter how early you announce it, there will be someone who bought something else yesterday. Apple did announce it, as early as they had it. You want them to alert the competition ahead of time while things are still being designed? That’d be real smart.

    The comments about the rumor sites are just as inane. Whatever the rumors might be, the one thing you did know 2 weeks ago was that Steve Jobs was making some kind of presentation today. So you could have held off to see. But no, you ran out and bought a Nano, showed it off, petted it and thought you were cool, and now there’s something else and you’re not as in love with it as you were yesterday. I think we need a government program to punish Apple for that, and protect you from it in the future. Maybe something that forces them to make ugly shit like everyone else so no one will ever feel the shame of their Apple thing not being the latest coolest one ever again.

  • james

    Jeff, the curmudgeon.

    It’s funny, cause I thought you were a bit more sophistiacted about the tech industry.

    Cynical move?


    Dell’s calling you back to its fold, with a nice blog retainer fee too.

  • Mike G

    One more note. No, Apple didn’t invent the Video iPod from scratch in the last three weeks. But they didn’t have them to ship three weeks ago, either. I feel quite sure that they were announced today because only now are they acceptably close to being ready to ship.

    By the same token, new G5 towers– which is what I want, maybe even need– were supposed to be announced today, per the rumor sites. They weren’t. Because Steve wants to screw me? No, because, I would bet, they can’t get the dual core chips from IBM yet. In two or three weeks, they’ll announce them, not because of duplicity, but because they’re ready.

  • Oh (respectfully), rubbish. The video iPod had been rumored for a long time, and it stood to reason that major updates across the iPod line were due between now and the holidays. Waiting, instead of jumping the gun with a nano purchase, was the wise course. I’ve done likewise before settling on my option — an iPod mini.

  • Why not buy both? Just kidding.

    Have your son return his nano to wherever he bought it. Does he still have his receipt?

  • Apple has done a brilliant job of creating a reactive customer base, and Steve Jobs is not to “blame” for anything. He didn’t “screw” anyone.

    I’ve been anti-iPod for a while now because I can see past the fuss. It’s a little machine. Other companies make them just as good.

    When the Nano came out I thought “wow! I want to get one of those!” It had glowing reviews from everyone. But I didn’t let it happen. “The holiday’s are coming up, something better will be out soon, i’ve lived without one for now…” So, I sat on my wallet. A week later, the scratch horror stories came out.

    “Oh dear, not the infallible iPod!” Yes, the infallible iPod.

    When I make a $200 purchase, it’s going to be for a proven, market tested product. The nano hasn’t reached that status, yet it’s still flying off of the shelves.

    If anyone’s to blame here, it’s your son who was reactive when he bought into the hype of the nano. Steve Jobs and his shareholders are smiling all the way to the bank, as well they should.

  • I doubt they purposefully delayed the release. That doesn’t make any sense, especially considering that they couldn’t meet iPod nano demand.

    Announcing products in advance is a lame thing to do, anyways. Microsoft is rightly criticized for the practice of “Longhorn will be ready in 2004… make that 2005… make that 2006… and some parts will have to wait.” Also there may be issues with supplier contracts, if competitors got advance warning they could disrupt negotiations.

    In the end, your son bought a good product; Apple releasing the video iPod doesn’t make the nano any worse. I suspect your anger at Apple is more an expression of your unsatisfied curiosity than a legitimate analysis that Apple is making a business mistake.

    I’d be interested to know, is there a company that sucessfully announces its products in advance in a way that you approve of? I.e., not Microsoft doing it to spread fear about competing products.

  • Lynn

    I can certainly understand the frustration.

    But, it is a little out there to say “Jobs is gaming his community for no good reason. ”

    No matter WHAT the timeline, inevitably someone(s) will be the last to unknowingly buy the older version.

    It hurts to be that one, but it is not a “fault” of the maker.

  • This is the nature of competition, even capitalism. Sure you could install webcams in the R&D labs so none of your customers would feel burned and that’d be open and honest, but you’d quickly find that competitors would run you out of business, leaving behind only a fat shareholder lawsuit.

    Dell I get, they’re in a race to the bottom(though I like the prices), service sucks, etc. but Apple is a true innovator and we’re probably better off with them in the industry. You’re not suggesting that just because they’re big, and a corporation that they deserve abuse?

  • any apple shareholders here?
    any one heard of marketing and publicity?

    ** dreaming of profits **

    disclaimer: I am not shareholder or employee!

  • Berry

    For the record: people who order an Apple product while or just days before it is upgraded, do get the new version (if the price remains the same) or get to choose between the ordered product and the new one.

    That, in fact, is a way of giving customers a choice, without (!) giving away the details of the upgrade even before the official announcement. Say, if you bought your iMac only a week before the upgrade, your order is put on hold (for no apparent reason), and you get a brand new one. Isn’t that nice? It is.

    Reasons why Apple behaves the way it does do make sense. Perhaps, Jarvis could think of a better way to deal with customers who bought soon-to-be upgraded products? Extending the period for purchases that are made just before an upgrade would be an option. Should that period be extended to, say, three weeks? In that case, word gets out that a certain type of product is out of stock in Apple stores all around the globe. Apple can’t sell that product for an extended period. People who just really need a replacement for their broke down Apple computer quickly and don’t care about a minor upgrade to the processing core, will be disappointed – and don’t underestimate the number of people who just buy something, knowing that Apple sells you quality products, and who don’t read tech blogs because they, again, don’t care – so I don’t see how Apple could behave otherwise?

    Perhaps, Jeff or someone else could think of some way to improve this policy. I’d just like to add that Apple has a good policy that makes sense.

  • Brandon B

    What if, when people went to buy a product, the company told them “Hey, we’re working on an improved model, due ou in about 4 weeeks. Would you like to withold your purchase and see what the improved product it?”

    What kind of loyalty would you have to that company, one that’s clearly looking out for benefit and offering you simple, tangible benefits?

    Jeff’s point, while written like a screaming tabloid headline, is one worth thinking about. The larger issue is that the tech companies have been around for a while and we’ve all grown accustomed to their products being in our lives. Are this companies taking us, their customers, for granted and milking us for their own good like good used car salesmen? Or are they going to offer us products AND RELATIONSHIPS that really improve/benefit our lives as opposed to just adding more technobabble?

  • Brandon B

    It’s also interesting to note that Jake Jarvis does NOT sound mad, nor does it sound like he thinks “Apple screws it’s community”. He fairly gushes over the video iPod and adds this note at the end:

    “P.S. – I am now officially kicking myself for buying my iPod nano.”

    Hardly sour grapes, thought his dad might be aware of deeper thoughts on the subject.

    Jeff, are you poking us with a stick for your amusement? :)

    NEVER doubt the power of writing, ya’ll.

  • I love the BuzzMachine but the suggestion that Apple should run its business decisions on your son’s buying habits is a little Jarviscentric, don’t you think? Should I not read today’s BuzzMachine because tomorrow’s will be more up-to-date? How would that help either of us?

  • It’s all about profit, Jeff! Apple has to make back the money they spent in the R & D for the new iPod so that they can pay back their investors. What better way than to get the 18-34’s to buy not just *one* iPod, but two!

    Now, with the video thing, people will be able to read less than they already do!

  • Robert

    Hey, I know how Jake’s feeling. I bought a mini way back when ’cause the 3rd Generation iPods had such lousy battery life (not to mention that stupid interface, with the buttons under the screen — blah), and then not two months later, the 4th Gen came out, much improved. I thought it through and figure, “Why not” and picked one up. Great decision. To this day, I still use both iPods — one gets a cozy spot in my car, so I’m never musicless there, the other fits comfortably in my bag for other times. Unnecessary? Perhaps. But then again, it probably won’t stop me from considering one of these new fangled ones… though I’m wary with the first version of anything iPod…

    In any case, my point is that the Nano is the Nano — it has its own unique qualities and reasons for owning. Sure, if you want to boil it down to just a space vs. cost issue, then the iPod wins out — but it always did, even before Apple brought out the video iPods. With the Nano you’re not paying for storage size, but actual physical size, or rather the lack of it.

    Besides, the Nano is slick, I don’t care what you iPod naysayers say out there.

  • I know the feeling that you guys are feeling – it’s happened to me before too.

    Having said that – there will always be someone who misses out – even if they let us all know a month ago that there was a video ipod coming – the people who bought them the day before that announcement would have been put out.

    I guess Apple needs to keep secrets due to the competitive nature of the industry they are in.

  • Ray

    He doesn’t sound mad.

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  • Joe Schmo

    This post makes me think you Dell complaints were overly whiny too.

  • Tim Luke

    Hooray for innovation!

    Think back to the advent of PDA’s – how often did US Robotics/Palm release new models? Did you see the back-page news item, that they unveiled new products the same day as the video iPod came out? I didn’t either. Apple should be congratulated and celebrated for what they are doing with iPods, and what the constant stream of new products means for digital entertainment.

    I bought an iPod Mini as a gift for my wife about 1 week before the nano came out. As soon as I saw the announcement, I took the Mini back, and picked up one of the last remaining nanos in the store. My wife was THRILLED – and finally gave me back my U2-edition iPod she had been hogging.

    My point is this – Apple has spectacular customer service, especially in-store. Their employees (and customers) are genuinely excited about their products, services, and the company in general. If there is any “buyer’s remorse” over the nano, people should TAKE THEM BACK, and get the video iPod. Based on how everyone gushed about the nano (including BOTH Jarvises), I don’t see that happening.

    Jeff – save your money up and buy the Apple iPod cellphone….

  • al


    I really wonder how many people will buy into the video aspect…nice to have but really useful…yet.

    In a year or two watching last nite’s TV on a 320×320 screen may be the norm but i don’t think so. Ipods are great for audio and tying into other computers and sound systems. Portable Video may be a niche market but not for all.

    But hey 30 gig $299 I like it


  • They’ll want proprietary hookups for video in your car so the kids in the backseat can view it–which is fine in the short run (which is what apple is great at). If you can keep innovating enough, grab a little cash and leave the rest to someone else.

  • al

    Good point Stephen


  • If you ask me this just sounds like a dad who’s feeling his son’s pain and probably shouldn’t have been posted on the net…

  • Hard to believe that with a Dad as tech savvy as Jeff Jarvis that nobody knew that new IPods would be coming before the Chistmas holiday.

    People bought the Nano right away not because they wanted something that would be around for 10 years. They bought it beacuse it was cool and new. It was a fashion statement. As Seth Godin has said and still says.. Apple is a Fashion Company. Buy from them from that mentality. Otherwise, shop at the LL Bean of Tech…DELL.

  • h0mi

    They bought it beacuse it was cool and new.

    Stress on “new” because the Nano is barely a month old. It seems weird to have buyers remorse on a device that just a week ago you were loving.

    It seems to me that the biggest issue is that apple, rather than announcing all of their ipods at the same time, has decided to stagger them. Why release the nano a month ago and keep this ipod under wraps? Why not release the Nano & 5G ipod at the same time, so people don’t “feel screwed” when they rush out to buy a nano, only to later learn that a new ipod is coming out & would’ve been something they bought instead of the Nano.

    I could see people buying a 4G ipod being angry but the nano is not really in the same market. It’s smaller, flash based, holds a lot less and $50-100 cheaper (and I don’t think it supports the “photo” features that the 4G and 5G do) If I ordered a 30 gig ipod before this announcement, I’d be pretty unhappy unless I got a really great deal.

  • Rob

    Let’s see…the video iPod costs several times more than the nano, is many times larger in storage capacity, boasts different features and is physically much larger.

    If you just bought a Toyota Corolla, would you be mad to learn next month that they came out with a full sized pick-up called the Tundra for about twice the price?

    Or do you just like to whine about Apple?

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  • kl

    “They held back the second product in a cynical move to push the first.”

    Prove it.

    Your usual M.O. is to ask someone to prove a negative, so: Prove they didn’t.

  • Hugh

    I bought an Imac G5 just days before the latest one came out – with the remote, updated graphics card, slimmer design e.t.c. I like my mac, but I’m really pissed that I paid about 500 bucks more for a computer that is now worth that much less. I feel that Apple should credit me for some of their other products or something. They should cater to their customers by mitigating the negative cost effects of their secret upgrade announcements. If you work hard for your money (not much in the film industry), then you shouldn’t have it taken away from you by a company that’s supposed to be working for you.

    I’m going to harass customer service until they give me an ipod.