Merry Christmas from Apple

My sister is fuming because she got an iPod Nano for Christmas, and apparently it won’t work with her 3 year old PowerPC MacBook, which runs MacOSX 10.3. Sure enough, the Nano specs say it needs 10.4.8 or higher. She’s got no real interest in paying and installing for an OS upgrade to get around the problem, so she’ll ask a friend to load her iPod for her.

Basically it means that Apple is saying you can’t have a new iPod if you run a version of OSX from before April 2005 (with the appropriate free updates).

Whereas it does run happily on Windows XP (SP2) or Windows Vista. So you need to have a version of Windows from no earlier than before October 2001 (with the appropriate free updates).

How does Apple get away with treating its customers like that?

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9 thoughts on “Merry Christmas from Apple

  1. Chris Till

    Even though it seems as though OSX is OSX, the reality is 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, etc are entirely different versions of the operating system.

    Best comparison I can give would be 10.3 = NT4, 10.4 = W2K, and 10.5 = WinXP. That said, not exactly a fair comparison I’m simply doing it for examples sake… I would consider WinVista to have caught up to around 10.2

    To that end what your sister is actually doing is asking for the latest version of iTunes to work on Windows NT4… ain’t going to happen nothing is developed for that anymore. Sure, in OSX world that’s only 2.5 years old and Windows something like 11 years old, but the fact that Windows took 7 odd years to bring out a new OS compared to 1-1.5 years for OSX is Microsoft’s problem.

    The fact that she’s using a PowerPC based Mac doesn’t make any differen (other than it would make it an iBook rather than a MacBook), everything will work on both platforms. The issue is simply that she’s two operating systems behind the times unfortunately. Now, one could argue that usability wise the OS isn’t that different, but let me tell you – from a programmers point of view the operating systems are totally and utterly different beasts…. the frameworks have undergone phenomenal overhauls, hell some of them such as CoreData (built in database system which even includes automatic undo capabilities, didn’t even exist back in 10.3). If applications have taken advantage of all these advancements, it simply is not possible for such an application to work on 10.3 – whether it be Apple or even Microsoft. Heck I would be in total shock if Microsoft Office 2008 supported 10.3, it simply doesn’t make sense to write tens of thousands of lines of code to manually implement something that outdated operating systems didn’t provide when bugger all users would be using it anyway…

    Hope that makes sense?! Don’t forget OSX is UNIX based and like any UNIX developers Apple constantly overhauls every line of code, even daemon, and every framekwork and application to tweak out every little bit of performance… to that end if your sister upgraded to 10.5 or even 10.4 she will find her old iBook will run FASTER on that same hardware than it did the day she purchased it. It’s simply an entirely different world to Windows – Windows you need a whole new PC to run their new OS, Macintosh even my 6 year old PowerBook runs quicker and better with the latest OS than the day I purchased her… but that aside, some of the features in the latest OS are simply must haves… I’ve already turned to Time Machine several times to look at how my e-mail application appeared a month ago to drag a message back, to look at iPhoto how it was a month ago to re-order something the way I previously had it, or even simply looked at a folder how it was a couple of days prior to recover a file I had stuffed up… it’s incredible how seamless and integrated Apple has done it, given I deal with simple “file restores” on a daily basis at the office and am absolutely anal about disaster recovery yet until OSX 10.5 I had never bothered at home… now it’s automated, implemented in such an innovative and user friendly way, and has already paid off several times for me!

  2. daniel Post author

    Interesting points. While upgrading would obviously bring benefits, it’s not much consolation for someone who wasn’t interested in doing so. Also interesting to note that the latest iTunes 7.5 requires only OSX 10.3.9; this appears to be an additional restriction for this particular iPod model, which doesn’t make much sense to me.

  3. Chris Till

    iTunes needs 10.4 – I’m not sure why the download page lists “10.3 or 10.4 required for iTunes”, that sentence is plain stupid… how can something require 10.3 but also require 10.4?!?

    A friend of mine was using 10.3 and there was simply no way to install the latest iTunes. She was in exactly the same situation – purchased a new iPod nano but didn’t want to upgrade OSX (yet – she intended to buy a new Mac soon). The catch was the latest version of iTunes was needed to talk to the latest iPod releases, however that latest version of iTunes had recently been updated to be 10.4 onward only.

    I believe she ended up accidentally downloading the latest OSX via BitTorrent until she purchased her new Mac…

  4. daniel Post author

    I assumed it meant that if you had 10.3, it had to be 10.3.9, otherwise if you had 10.4, it had to be 10.4.7. A bit like saying it’s XP SP2 or Vista.

  5. Randall Swain

    I use Windows but won’t TOUCH iTunes because it is a piece of crap. Surely there are alternatives (as there are alternatives for windows) to load up your iPod on an Mac? I use Winamp because it doesn’t try to re-organise my media file every frigging time I turn it on and doesn’t move my files around for me. And it doesn’t lose it’s library file every so often for no apparent reason….

    Having said that, I love my new ProductRed Nano…

  6. daniel Post author

    I suspect on both Windows and Mac there are other ways of loading files onto an iPod, but not of buying songs from the iTunes store.

  7. Chris Till

    >> because it doesn’t try to re-organise my media file every frigging time I turn it on and doesn’t move my files around for me

    Randall turn off the “Keep iTunes Music folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library” options – they’ll be under Edit/Preferences/Advanced/General on the Windows version

    That said, while iTunes IS quite a horridly unstable and huge application on Windows the OSX version is an absolute dream… plus the automatic organisation of your files is a natural thing on the Mac so that’s not a problem either.

  8. Randall Swain

    Chris – have tried that and yes, it does work to an extent. However my biggest bugbear (and I haven’t tried it again to see if this has been fixed) was the way that it would not save my library after a certain number of songs were added (and the number was a variable, not fixed!).

    And yes Daniel, I agree – I would love to use the iTunes store… Maybe I should soften my hardline and see what improvements have occurred – using Chris’ tips!

    Cheers

  9. Randall Swain

    I’m sorry – tried iTunes and it STILL sux bigtime.

    Now my problem is that it sees the ipod, it doesn’t rearrange all my files – but I can’t ACTUALLY use it to sync files. It comes up with an error saying the iPod can’t be accessed.

    Open Winamp, hoping like h*ll that my brand new iPod has not died – and winamp copies across all my files, no problem.

    iTunes just SUX. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. And therefore I won’t be using their store….

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