Why does Apple hate iPod Touch owners?

iPod Touch

iPod Touch

commentary At the keynote of the Macworld conference in San Francisco this week, Steve Jobs announced that a number of new and existing features present in the iPhone would be made available to owners of the very similar iPod Touch.

Specifically, the Mail, Maps, Stocks, Notes and Weather applications will be available to Aussies as a software download for the iPod Touch from tomorrow, according to Apple Australia representatives.

Predictably -- and as happens often at Macworld keynotes -- the crowd went wild. Then he announced the price point -- US$20 (AU$24.99 according to Apple Australia representatives) ... and the crowd went mild. Nobody was quite brave enough to boo outright, but it was pretty clear that a thousand or so brains were all thinking the same thing -- "they want HOW much"?

Of the new features -- and especially for a market like Australia, where the iPhone is yet to make an official appearance -- Mail is definitely the killer application, turning what was a rather nifty music player/Web browser into more of a productivity tool, especially if you live in a Wi-Fi saturated world.

As an aside, while I've not been able to grab a hacked iPhone to test it, it's a pretty safe bet that the new update for iPhone users will once again lead to bricked iPhones if you've opted to unlock the firmware previously.

Now, it's not unusual for a company to charge for software -- in fact, there's a whole economy based around it -- but the iPod Touch software "upgrade" leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, the features are nice, and desirable, and the cost isn't excessively high; it's not as thought they're charging Adobe-level prices for the new applications.

Where it sticks in the craw, however, is in the fact that the new features that have come across from the iPhone can be had, here and now, by iPhone users for the grand price of free.

Why, then, are they free for iPhone but not iPod Touch? Sure, the iPhone users have paid a little more for their device -- and once the contract period is factored in, that figure becomes "a lot more" -- but at the same time, they've also got a much more capable device, which is exactly what more money should buy you.

At the lower end, Apple's already got your money for the Touch, and at least for Australian users, you can't legitimately buy the iPhone to get the "free" features. I doubt that the cost will deter many users from upgrading -- it's not at onerous levels, really -- but at the same time, it's such a nominal fee that one has to wonder if the goodwill lost by charging for it is equal to the revenue generated. My gut feel is that the answer to that question is "no".

Alex Kidman travelled to Macworld as a guest of Apple.

What do you think? Should Apple give the update to all users or charge all users? Have your say below!

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barnyard67 posted a comment   

SCAM ALERT!!! My boy bought an iPod Touch today and it did not come with the latest 3.0 software. Apple then forces you to pay $10 to buy the upgraded software. What a scam by the lovely Apple “geniuses”.


donut152 posted a comment   

dec540 mate do u really expect people to except that statement ,,, ummm how much memory does irivers really hold against a 160gb video classic??


d1nonly posted a comment   

all companies jsut want money, cant complain i gues......


charlie4444 posted a comment   

Stop whining people! It's $25 bucks for software that not EVERY user will need, because, after-all, it is still an ipod and many use it purely for entertainment purposes, and therefore wont need this update! iPods are the best music players, the consumers have clearly spoken. I myself have had trouble with ipods, but it still didnt stop me from buying the touch. It was $550 well spent, and it will remain that way with or without a free software pack.


glenn posted a comment   

Apple has to charge for this by law. Because the revenue from the Touch is not accounted for the same way as the iPhone, updates to the Touch you already own must be charged for to satisfy US Govt requirements. This information has been reported widely - if you Google it, you'll probably find it.


james posted a comment   

Meh, tipicle apple - they are round and bloated (just like an apple) :P.
Get a Zune :)
trust me... they are actually pritty good, but the main thing it the updates are FREE!!!


commoner posted a comment   

they should have called this article "Why does Apple hate EXISTING iPod Touch owners?


commoner posted a comment   

I Just Had a look on the apple online store and the prices for the ipod touch have gone done by $20 or so (8GB now $399 and 16GB now $499). and didnt steve jobs say that all the itouch manufactured from now will have the new apps built in (FOR FREE) how unfair is that.


Raven posted a comment   

Talk about getting greedy!!! I mean you've already paid for the device itself, why shouldn't you get the support for it!!! I certainly hope that people say NO to this and boycott apple on this one.


marsblakmon posted a comment   

l love my itouch but when you've forked out 420 big ones you don't want to hand over any more......especially when it comes to w-fi apps. wi-fi sounds great but it's useless in brisbane and im not going to pay any more subscription fee's to wi-fi through another provider as i'm already paying to use australia's overpriced internet. why in a global market does business say we have to pay soooooo much more than the rest of the world for our consumer goods.....

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