Apple products are full of planned obsolescence

“Planned obsolescence” is a term from the 1960’s, it means that a product will have a finite amount of time before it breaks down or stops working.  And this will occur at the worst possible time.  Because it does.  It just does.

Case in point.

I have my iPod Classic connected to my 2013 Chevrolet Cruze “Dracourage” and it’s great.  I can listen to my music for hours and hours while driving for hours and hours.

Recently, I added a new track to my iTunes account, and wanted to put it in my iPod Classic.  So after purchasing the song, I took my iPod Classic out of the car, and plugged it into my tower computer.

The iPod Classic wouldn’t connect to the iTunes account.  It’s almost as if the connection was blocked or something.

I tried several options.  I rebooted the system.  I plugged the iPod into a different port.  I uninstalled and reinstalled iTunes.

No dice.

Uh-oh.  I have a bad feeling about this.  The iPod works just as well as it had previously, so there shouldn’t be any issues.

O,kay … let’s take a trip to the Apple Store in Crossgates Mall, maybe one of their Apple techs have some answers.

I arrived at about 4:45 p.m. on Saturday.  The place had a decent-sized crowd.  There were plenty of blackshirts (Apple employees) assisting customers.

I tried to flag one down.

He walked past me.

I signaled for another salesperson.

She walked away.

Okay, maybe they have other customers and I would be next.  So I sat down at one of their little IKEA-like tables and waited patiently.

And waited.

And waited.

And tweeted about waiting.

This is nuts.  I mean, at one point I watched as this one Apple employee was having an eye-to-bosom conversation with a young lady, and I swear he was  taking his sweet time helping her out because it meant he had more time to contemplate her cleavage.

It took FORTY-FIVE MINUTES before an Apple employee actually came over to talk to me.  Wow.

She took my name and e-mail account, and then went to look up the answer to my question about iPod connectivity on her little palm computer.

Fifteen minutes later, another Apple employee came over to help me diagnose the issue.

“Did you change your connection cables?”

“Yes I did.”

“Did you use another USB port on your computer?”

“Yes I did.”

“Did you try to update the iPod Classic’s operating system?”

“Yes I did.”

“Did you uninstall and reinstall iTunes?”

“Yes I did.”

“Okay, I can’t help you.  But I can have an Apple tech give you a call when you get home.”

Fine.  Whatever.  Nothing like spending an hour at the mall and essentially being told to go home and wait for a phone call.

As I got in the house, my cell phone rang.  It was Apple.

The Apple tech went through the same questions as did I.

And eventually, she told me the solution.

“You need to buy a new iPod.  Your current iPod is too old for iTunes.”

“But I bought it only a few years ago.”

“Well, unfortunately we can’t install a new driver in your iPod Classic to recognize the current version of iTunes.”

And I’m wondering if one day,when I upgraded my iTunes as was often asked to do by Apple … did the latest update eliminate the connection between my iPod Classic and iTunes, out of age or necessity?

This is not unusual for Apple.  If you bought an original iPhone when they were first issued, you can’t use it today due to it being a 2G phone and not supported on AT&T’s network any more.  Planned obsolescence.

Essentially, after much discussion (and further discussion with a supervisor, which I know just means I got transferred to another customer service rep who called herself a “supervisor”), the results were the same.  My iPod Classic – which still had 4,000 songs on it, many of them from previous computers – was no longer considered a functional, operating product as far as Apple was concerned.

It’s not so much the whole “planned obsolescence” of Apple products that pisses me off.

It’s this whole idea that if you buy Apple products, you have to use them in a specific way.  The Apple way.  You have to upgrade when Apple says so.  You have to discard your old product when Apple says so.  You have to buy expensive products that in two years may or may not be compatible with whatever Apple has up their sleeve at the next tech showcase.

Just to be aware – I’m not some computer-using Luddite who would be happy with a Remington typewriter, although at least their tech support services are more tangible – a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, some replacement ribbons – but come on, Apple, you have to give those who buy your product a break.  Stop making your products obsolete or inoperable just to force us to buy new Apple products.

And here’s another rub.  I asked the tech support supervisor if there might be any sort of donation discount or credit for an upgrade to a new iPod, seeing as I wasn’t originally planning to throw away money for a new iPod right out of the blue.

“No, but if you bring in your iPod it will be humanely recycled.”

Humanely recycled?  Seriously?  What does that even mean, are you going to read from the Gospel of Steve Jobs before you toss the iPod in the trash can?

Well, you know what – if Apple’s going to pull a stunt like this…

Then I’m going to go back to my old portable music tricks.

And by “portable music tricks,” I mean that I will now use iTunes to burn compact discs, and use those compact discs in my car.  Seeing as Apple doesn’t really care about its legacy customers, I guess that’s my only option.

Thanks for nothing, Apple.

Maybe i can find a used Zune or an old RCA Lyra and use THAT as my mobile audio player.

Ugh.