Opinion: Apple proves once again that early adoption doesn’t pay

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On the day of launch, the iPhone cost $599 – a few weeks later, it was $399. That was upsetting for iPhone early adopters.

Now iPod Touch early adopters have something to be upset about as well. Applications for Mail, Weather, Stocks, and Notes are all now available for your iPod Touch. If you haven’t bought an iPod Touch they’ll come included with your purchase. If, however, you bought your iPod Touch in the last few months since its debut, Apple wants to charge you $20 for the upgrade.

Here’s the really insulting part, in my view, though – there is no excuse for this $20 charge. One might be able to make the argument that there is cost on Apple’s part from servers and what not with users having to download the new Apps – but that isn’t the case. When you pay your twenty dollars you’re only a 30 second sync away from them working! So that means they’ve been sitting on your iPod Touch the ENTIRE TIME YOU’VE HAD IT.

I’m not an iPod Touch user, but I know some of you are, and from the emails and comments I’ve seen – I don’t think anyone is happy about this. Personally I think it’s a direct screwjob from Apple straight to you – and it’s this kind of nickel and diming that could eventually sway public opinion in a negative direction.

This is the second time in the last 6 months that Apple has done something like this to early adopters. Now, I understand new features shouldn’t always be free, and upgrades can cost money – but when you’re talking about a device people have only owned for a few months at BEST, and for a few weeks more likely, it’s very hard for me to justify sticking them for another $20.

This is bad Apple. Stop it. Not every iPod Touch and iPhone user is a member of the “Cult of Mac” and if you keep jabbing them like this, they may go find themselves another touchscreen to play with.

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

29 thoughts on “Opinion: Apple proves once again that early adoption doesn’t pay

  1. And this is the exact reason why NO ONE has the right to pitch a fit when they knock $500 off of the MacBook Air by April. The signs are there…you know it’s coming…

  2. If they had dropped the price of the iPod Touch by $20 and added the new features for free would it have been as catastrophically awful?

    Would it have been any different?

  3. It doesn’t matter WHAT the reason is Apple has decided to charge for this update. The fact is they ARE charging for it, so shut up and stop your whining already. It’s either worth it to you to upgrade, in which case you will pay for the upgrade, or it isn’t, and you won’t pay for the upgrade. Nobody is holding a damn gun to your head. So would you all please, grow up, and stop acting like a bunch of f@%$ing, spoiled children? If the Touch was worth it to you to buy in the form it was in when you bought it, why do you now feel entitled to get something more for free? Because you bought it a few weeks or months ago? Because new iPod Touch’s are going to have these apps? How far can you extend this flawed logic? So, what? The next time you upgrade OS X, and then the new computers come with it already installed? WHAT?!? I SHOULD GET THAT FOR FREE!!!!! Damn, get over yourselves already!

  4. @Bill

    Yeah, I think that would have been different. The problem I have with it is that they’re charging people an additional fee for something that is already on their device, and only – at best – a few months after the initial purchase.


    Did you really just tell people to stop acting like children by throwing a tantrum in a comment?

    Do you see the irony here?


  5. Paying $20 for more applications and functionality does not bother me that much. After all iPod touch users knew what they were buying and Apple made no promise of free apps.

    The iPod games – That is a real screw to Apple customers. Charging you to download basically the exact same games that are simply just coded for the newer iPod that have no new features at all was ridiculous. I saw no where from Apple that we were merely “renting” the games! I will NEVER EVER buy another iPod game from Apple after this. So how did that help Apple?

  6. I will admit that i was pretty angry as im sure most people still are, however that 28.99 NZD was worth it, i am glad to have the piece of mind that i dont have to hack my touch to get the apps on there. i also feel that though they could have given these to us for free, i feel they were testing out what we are willing to pay for apps for when the SDK arrives, we technically paid 5.50 US for the apps and 2.99 for the widgets, if the apps have variable pricing around those marks i will still buy them. it would have been better had apple let us pick the apps and widgets we wanted, but hey, life is never perfect and neither is apple, though we want them to be 😉

  7. When you pay your twenty dollars “your” only a 30 second sync away from them working!

    Sorry .. this has nothing to do with the original topic. I’m just a stickler for correct grammar and spelling, especially from a “journalist”. The first “your” is fine. the second “your” is not – it’s a contraction of “you are” and should be spelled “you’re”.

  8. Mea Culpa … The “t’ in “the” (2nd line / second paragraph) should be capitalized. The shift keys on my Macbook don’t respond as fast as I’d like.

  9. The main problem I have with this is the fact that the entire keynote Steve talked about how great and how Apple was delivering free software updates that were making their hardware better. The AppleTV is a perfect example, it had a major overhaul and its a free upgrade, why? Because the original sucked (I know you like yours Mike, but lets be honest it wasn’t very advanced)

    My biggest issue is the fact that some of these apps should have been on the iPod from day one, all gen iPod can store notes, yet they removed this ability from the touch when they had a fantastic notes application already made. Then we have Google Maps, you literally can’t view Google Maps on the iPod without it, the website doesn’t play nice with the multi touch. I can see if they had to tweak it to work properly and had spent time on it, but they didn’t I’m a jailbreaker and I specifically did it for the reasons above, I wanted the apps that should have been there in the first place. Installing the iPhone apps on the iPod worked perfectly and another programs even responded and added additional buttons that interacted with the new programs. Apple really screwed the pooch on this one and really disrespected their customers, hence why when he said it would cost $20 there was dead silence until he changed the topic.

  10. Apple should have just offered the update for free, just as they updated the I-Phone.
    I noticed they did give us the option to purchase from the I-Tunes store directly to our I-Phones; that upgrade was free…, well, free for us , but financially lucrative for Apple.

  11. @Juan

    I’ve been updating from an iPhone at airports all day. Gimme a friggin’ break…and no one here is claiming to be a “journalist”. You came up with that on your own.


  12. so how many of us drove apples 4th quarter with Christmas purchases of iPod touch as gifts and less than a month later apple is acting like microsoft, bad karma. the typos are mine Juan and not my keyboards and Chris is obviously a republican without a touch. bad apples all.

  13. I’m even willing to close my eyes on such injustice, but hey – even if i want to pay the stupid fee i have to have an iTunes account – and that narrows the world to … what… few countries ? So i’m stuck with this miserable Touch without mail only because for some reason apple doesn’t think there is more to the world than america.

    I’m right here – standing with load of money in my hand, ready to pay – even more – i’d buy all kinds of products, but NO (!) i’m forced to torrent. ABSURD !

  14. @dave livingston

    LOL… a republican. Nice of you to bear your ignorance. You know nothing at all about me, and somehow by my statements, you’ve pigeon-holed me into some political category. I happen to follow NO political party, because I believe our political system is a sham, and doesn’t work at all (or at best, is certainly not concerned with the well-being of our society). Our current political system is designed to make people believe that they still have a choice, when in fact they do not. The goal of the system we have in place today, is to maintain the status-quo. Period. I remember hearing once that, “If voting actually evoked change… it would be made illegal.” THAT you can take to the bank.

    How does Apple charging money for anything make them like Microsoft? They are a company (like thousands of others) in the business of making a profit. I have loved Apple and it’s many products for years, but it is silly to put them on some pedestal as if they are SO different, they no longer need to turn a profit in order to stay in business. Certainly, as a consumer, you can be unhappy that a company is charging for something you think should be free, but to make out like you have some RIGHT to have it for free, because you did business with them in the past, or to try and compare Apple to Microsoft because of their decision to charge for something, is absolutely ludicrous.

    So Mr. Livingston, simply because you CHOSE to consume a product, or products, that Apple sold during the Christmas quarter… this does NOT entitle you to any free product or software Apple makes available at a later time, regardless of how recent your purchase was. Your statements have proven my point regarding customers acting like spoiled children.

  15. It doesn’t matter what Apple does, there will always be a group of people to compalin. If they came out with 16 gig iPhones next week, all the people that bought a phone this week would complain. I bet all the people that bought a MacBook last week are complaining about the MacBook Air this week. It’s the famous “If only I had known” syndrome that is the way of Apple.

  16. as an early adopter I think that is one of the risks you know you are taking. Anything you buy is going to sell for less later.

    Why must we have this debate everytime??? On the flip side of things, you could hold off buying anything because you are paranoid the price will go down or something better will come out. Guess what? that happens…

  17. This is tehnology sucker!

    It’s always bad deal to buy any kind of consumer electronics. New one is always coming.

  18. I don’t own an iTouch, so for me…no big deal. But this situation reminds me of having to buy a new iLife suite every year or so. Most of the improvements to that product could be handled in a simple software update.

  19. sucks but the whole thing doesn’t really upset me anymore. It’s been pretty clear for quite a long time that Apple is the new Micro$oft. But at least Apple knows how to make stuff look nice and trendy…unlike that brown mp3 player thing from MS

  20. What a bunch of whiners… I do own an iPod Touch (since Xmas) and the $20 upgrade is very reasonable in my opinion! They have increased the usefulness of the device threefold with this updates (at least for me).

    Also the update to 1.1.3 was 161MB (if I remember correctly) then the activation was a 30 second sync. So I think the phrase “So that means they’ve been sitting on your iPod Touch the ENTIRE TIME YOU’VE HAD IT.” is incorrect! It was on there for the 5minutes from the completion of the upgrade until I clicked on buy!

    There seem to be a lot of whiners about the burdens of early adopting!…
    I still can’t believe the way that people bitched about the iPhone price drop! -“Hey they dropped the iPhone price so more people will be able to afford it and I won’t be the only one with the cool advanced technology for as long!”- … Christ!

    One of the things I love about Apple is that they don’t wait for the competition to catch up before they update (and obsolete) their products! The have their own schedule that is not dictated by others! This means that they regularly have advanced products AND they change very rapidly! Much quicker then their competition!

    Let me ask the whiners this… Would you rather Apple slowed down their development cycle so they did not upgrade and reduce their process so quickly? That is after all what I think your asking for! (or at least the consequences your whining woud have if Apple actually listened to it).

    truly amazing!


  21. Michael,

    I thought that bloggers were fighting to be accepted as “real” journalists.

    A status which I personally disagree with.


  22. Well, Michael. As upsetting as it might seem, you still have missed something. Throughout the history of Apple. They never ever offered new features through software upgrade to previous ipod owners. Like my first generation nano is never gonna get what the second gen. nano had.

    I know that it’s the same ipod touch. And I know it wouldn’t kill them to add those for free but, that’s Apple. They always leave their users and early adopters out in the cold.

    A question here, does your mac mini have front row? I know you can get Leopard but that’s $130. See the point?

    In that regard. Apple Sucks Big time. They haven’t done it twice as you said. They are doing it ALL the God Damn Time.

    They have only been generous with the iphone because they hope it will shift their market share and the Apple TV because they are trying to save its ass.

    That’s it.

  23. Hi,

    It leaves a bad taste because the iPhone and Tv get free software upgrades, which SJ is very quick to trumpet, yet poor old touch folks have to pay. Yeah ok it’s not a great deal of money and if you don’t want the apps don’t pay, but actually you’ve put down a fair whack to buy the hardware and to ask people to pay a little more for apps which I bet can be added by jailbreaking methods is a bit much.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if  do a u turn and issue a free upgrade for the touch.

  24. I have downloaded and paid for the update.
    It is terrific whether or not they charge for it or not.
    It’s certainly worth the $20. Apple is charging, and this is a nominal charge for the value provided. If they charged $50. or $100., it would be a different matter. But, for 20 bucks, it’s well worth it.

  25. Your indignation is misplaced – blame the accountants, analysts and law-makers. Apple is forced to charge for this upgrade because if they didn’t they would be in trouble for taking 100% credit for selling the all of the iPod Touch’s they did over the last few months. This same thing keeps happening to Apple because it is under such scrutiny as a company – and probably because the only part of Apple that is as powerful as Steve is Bob from Accountemps. Also – please don’t flame me for my feeble understanding of ridiculous Accounting practices – I am only a lowly sales rep that has to live under your tyranny. Man – you accountants are worse than those Scientology a$$h0l3s!!!

  26. I love my Apple iTouch!
    It stays next to me while I sleep and is there in the morning, nestled in it’s little dock ready to provide me with hours of endless news, information, entertainment, and communication with friends, family, and clients…
    I was happy to pay the upgrade fee of 20 measly dollars, barely what it costs most consumers their Starbucks fix for a week, barely what it costs us for one half tank of gasoline, barely the cost of a decent lunch out with co-workers these days? Inherently, now and forever, humans just love to whine, bitch, cry and moan about anything and everything…
    I love my Apple iTouch!

    Kevin in Sacramento

  27. I have a pre/xmas itouch. Very nice: I will pay for the itouch, but my purchase of new thin laptop as a TOY gone forever. Things like this is how the 3 big auto makes lost the war. Bleeding the loyal consumer.

  28. ok mike, game on.
    i pick out many things to say a lot about your article, but i’ll save you the hassle and focus on the fact you said the apps were already on there.

    the ipod touch did not originally have the new apps on them.
    it had the operating system to support them, but did not have them on it.
    If you think a 30 second sync is enough proof that these apps were already on the ipod, then you shouldn’t have children.

    If you’re a mac user, then you should be well accustomed to things that only take 30 seconds. Downloading and installing widgets on the dashboard for example. This process is exactly the same for downloading the new apps on an ipod touch.

    This is bad Michael. Stop it.

    sync your ipod with a usb 2.0 port for 30 seconds and tell me how many megabytes of information you get on your ipod.

    That’s right.
    now tell me,

    Were those songs already on your ipod?

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