Santa Steve has been mighty good to us this year… a new iPod, the G5, iTunes Music Store, Safari 1.0, Panther, XCode… the list goes on.
But there are a couple of items that the pundits and the rumor sites say we might see in 2004, and if it’s all the same to y’all in Cupertino, don’t bother with these:
- The Video iPod - Oh it seems so obvious: iPods are cool, QuickTime is cool. Why not put put MPEG-4 on your iPod and take your movies with you? Um, because:
- You can’t rip DVD’s, at least not practically or legally
- You can’t really do anything else while watching video, whereas the iPod is all about doing other things while taking your CD collection with you
- A 2″x2″ screen? What is this, QuickTime 1.0 on a Centris? Get real.
- Tablet Mac - Again, the pundits think it’s obvious: handwriting recognition is cool, WiFi is cool. But if this is such a cool idea, then why is the Tablet PC such a flop? Can you say “solution in search of a problem”? I wonder if these stupid things will ever sell even as well as the Newton.
- Apple flat-screen TV - Well, why not? It seems like every other computer manufacturer is selling TV’s. And the iPod is a consumer electronics smash hit, right? Eh. For one, Steve is known to loathe television. Moreover, I don’t think Apple’s core competencies come to bear here - “it just works” may be shocking in the computer world, but it’s a basic assumption in consumer electronics. In fact, I’d be afraid to buy a TV from the big PC vendors… unless the box says it’s certified Microsoft-free.
- Anything “Extreme” - “Quartz Extreme”… “AirPort Extreme”… Final Cut Pro’s “RT Extreme”… please give it an “extreme” break already. Nobody wants “Apple Works Extreme”.
- The continued existence of a US-only iTunes Music Store - OK first off, let’s note our high esteem for Apple, that we’re asking even more from a company that has (as people smarter than me have noted) basically reinvented the music industry for the sake of selling more iPods.
But in the next 400,000 songs that get added, could we have a few that don’t suck?
Seriously, my music store experience is usually something along the lines of “Can’t find ‘Thelonious Monk’. Did you mean ‘Monkees’?”
I admit my tastes are atypical - I don’t think I’ve bought a CD from an American act in at least a year. It’s all been Canadian, British, and especially Japanese. Every year at Anime Weekend Atlanta, I typically blow at least $200 at my favorite legit CD vendor, and it would have been more this year had they not been sold out of Sakura Taisen (”Best. Videogame-inspired musical theatre steam-punk anime. Ever.”). As for American music, we’ve got the no-talents from American Idol (a TV show in which people who can’t sing are gradually eliminated from the contestant pool, crowning the least bad singer as the “winner”), inane hip-hoppers with tedious beats and straining-to-be-pornographic lyrics, and even worse rockers replacing bad guitar solos with bad raps.
So I import CD’s of music I can stand, because the CD format works everywhere in the world. Regionally-controlled online music distribution takes away that benefit, reducing my choices to a big bag of suck. Granted, a very big bag, with a nice interface, but still a bag of suck. Y’know, the internet was supposed to give us more choices, not less.
This is really the music empires’ fault, and maybe they’ll catch up with the 21st century at some point and work out world-wide licensing schemes. In the meantime, Reuben and Clay are not getting any blocks on my iPod, thank you very much.
What else belongs on our anti-wish list?