The $20 iPod Touch Fee: Why I won’t be buying Apple products as Christmas presents ever again.

I’m mad. But I find that blogging about it can be cathartic. So here’s the deal: Jobs just gave his Macworld 2008 keynote and while I have to say the MacBook Air was very neat and would prefer to be blogging about that right now (and its expensive SSD option), I noticed this little tidbit:


9:35am – “All the same stuff we just heard about on the iPhone — on the iPod touch. Starting today we’re going to build it into every new iPod touch, for existing iPod touch users it’s going to be just a $20 upgrade.” EXCUSE me?! You have to PAY for this? This is SO weak.

Apple is now allowing iPod touch users to install these five applications for the low, low price of $20. The keynote crowd’s reaction to this announcement was unmistakably negative; a unified gasp was let up as well as a rowdy round of jeering.

Funny that the negative audio wasn’t in Apple’s online version of the Keynote…

Anyway, I sent a note to Apple’s iPod Touch Feedback:


My wife is a recent Mac user and wanted an iPod Touch in the worst way for Christmas; I saved and bought her one and now I find that the software that iPhone users are getting for *free* will cost $20 for the Touch?!?

This teaches me a couple lessons; first, that Apple products shouldn’t be considered for Christmas presents. I got it for her LESS THAN A MONTH AGO and now I’m expected to pay a 6% fee [based on Canadian price of the Touch] just to keep it up to date with a minor software update, otherwise get a ‘crippleware‘ update? Even Microsoft isn’t usually that money-grubbing. Second, that Apple products are a phenomenal money pit: they are the gift that keeps on taking.

The $20 fee is absolutely short-sighted; for the meager amount of money that will likely be raised, Apple has now alienated me a a customer and likely lost thousands of dollars in future sales.

Apple can justify it any way it wants, but it really boils down to trying to squeeze money out of those trapped in their vendor lock-in. Microsoft won’t be getting any more of my money and now neither will Apple.

Update: I think this sums it up fairly nicely:

I find it interesting that Apple chose to charge $20 for the new iPod Touch software. I think it should be free, especially when you consider that new iPod Touch models will come with the software pre-installed. I have never been a fan of penalizing the folks who have been using the device since day 1 and I think this does that. When I think of folks who got a new iPod Touch for Christmas who have to shell out $20 to keep up with the joneses, I think it’s a little unfair. While I don’t think we’ll have a $100 iPhone credit rebate firestorm on our hands, I think there will be some questioning by the iPod Touch faithful.

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9 Responses to “The $20 iPod Touch Fee: Why I won’t be buying Apple products as Christmas presents ever again.”

  1. Justin V Says:

    While i agree charging 20 bucks for the update is insane, but it’s really not that big of an issue. Unless you really want those then don’t buy them. You access to 100’s of apps now before the update that will only give you 5 more. Seriously. If you REALLY need them then, perhaps the iPhone would have been a better option.

  2. Limulus Says:

    Justin V: The iPhone is not available here (in Canada). Also, I’m not interested in getting locked into a service contract.

    I feel that its something to get upset about now, rather than later when they pull a stunt like this again. Right now upgrading from Mac OS 10.5.0 to 10.5.1 is free. Imagine if the upgrade from 10.5.1 to 10.5.2 was free EXCEPT for a few extra programs which get installed on your HD but you’d have to pay $50 to get unlocked. Would howls of outrage follow?

    I don’t much care to feel like a consumer cash cow that Jobs can come by and milk whenever he pleases.

  3. How to buy from Apple without getting screwed (too badly) « Limulus Says:

    […] Limulus Eclectic Musings from an Eccentric Person :) « The $20 iPod Touch Fee: Why I won’t be buying Apple products as Christmas presents ever a… […]

  4. Manish Bansal Says:

    This $20 fee has to do with an accounting practice of not charging for something which has not been delivered. This was the same reason behind charging $2 for wi-fi N software. Since Apple spreads out iPhone revenue over a period of 24 months, this rule does not apply to iPhone.

  5. Limulus Says:

    It was $4.99 BTW, but regardless, I don’t buy the ‘Sarbanes-Oxley Act made us do it’ excuse; see http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/16/2127204 for discussion. Why $20? Why not $10? $5? $1? Seriously, why NOT just a dollar if they had to do it for accounting reasons? I’d grouse about the principle of the matter @ $1, but I’d still pay for it. $20 for what are basically five widgets is highly unreasonable. And if they wanted to be super nice, it could be ONE CENT with the purchase of an iTunes audio track, so $1 total, song included. That would make sense from an accounting practice standpoint of having to charge *something*.

    (oh and Justin V, when you said “access to 100’s of apps now before the update” is that using Jailbreak? (http://www.tuaw.com/2007/10/29/instant-jailbreak-for-iphone-and-ipod-touch/) If so, I should like to point out that my wife does not want to risk bricking her precious iPod Touch :)

  6. Limulus Says:

    Whoops, sorry; the /. article referenced an incorrect source about the cost; it was rumored to be $5 but when it was released it was only $2.
    http://www.news.com/Apple-wants-two-bucks-for-Wi-Fi/2100-1044_3-6151281.html

  7. Manish Bansal Says:

    Your point about charging $1 vs. $20 makes sense. But I really do not have enough knowledge about how these things work internally so may be there is a logic behind this price point? I am not defending Apple here; just thinking out loud.

  8. Limulus Says:

    Compounding the price issue is that “new iPod Touch models will come with the software pre-installed” and those iPods WON’T cost $20 more.

    I almost get the feeling that its like those infomercials where they tell you such-and-such has a value of $199.99 but if you act now it can be yours for only five easy payments of $19.99!

    IOW I am highly dubious.

    Software has a fixed cost for the development, sure, but if you divide it up among the numerous copies, its usually very small (this is how Micro$oft makes all their profits).

    The fact that Apple is extremely secretive and opaque does not help them smell like roses in this matter.

  9. iPod Touch Applications, Where Have You Gone? : Smarfy Says:

    […] Apple removed the purchase option for the iPod Touch applications. I think that the voices around the web were heard and Apple wisely stopped selling the apps while they work out the kinks in their […]

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