the ramblings of a music journalist and nearly-published author.

An open letter to Apple.

with 3 comments

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve been a user and purveyor of Apple products. From computing to my music player and phone, it’s been Apple for the better part of ten years. It spelled quality, and products that wouldn’t falter. Recently, I’ve had several issues, all coinciding with the release of iTunes 9 and the fact that my products don’t function the way that they should anymore. Tonight, I e-mailed a letter to Apple expressing my disappointment and my story. This isn’t entirely music-oriented, I know, but something I thought deserved speaking out on since through Googling, I know I’m not the only one.

To Whom It May Concern:

When I was sixteen, I made my first big purchase: an iPod. 20 GB, monochrome screen, white body. An iPod seemed like a better idea than carrying 50-60 CDs in my car with me at any given time, and would help my changing music taste from one minute to the next. When I got the box from the FedEx office, I couldn’t wait to rip it open and dive right in. The original iPod packaging was stunning – a large cube with fluorescent photos of people dancing, which took a few minutes to open in and of itself. From that point, I was sold. Beginning to freelance as a sometime music journalist, this was my launching pad.

My first iPod lasted three years until it wouldn’t run anymore. From there, I graduated onto a black 30 GB iPod video, which lasted another two. Since my first iPod purchase, I have also become a MacBook and iPhone user, constantly telling my friends and family how great the products were and how I couldn’t see my life without them. Everything was so much easier – plug and play! No headaches! A technological Shangri-La.

When my iPod Video started to show signs of failure, I bought myself an early Christmas gift in December 2008, in the form of a 120 GB iPod Classic. This was perfect! Finally enough space to hold all of my music, photos, contacts, games, and anything else I could get my hands on media-wise.

The release of iTunes 9 changed everything. A month out of warranty, I attempted to sync my just-over-a-year-old iPod Classic, and was met by an error which read, “disk cannot be read from or written to” before being forced to restore the iPod by iTunes. Since that day in early January, I have been unable to garner a sync of more than 1 GB of files, and my $250 investment? Now useless. Little more than a happy, shiny paperweight. Just last night, after no previous problems, iTunes 9 nor my computer will recognize my iPhone when connected. This means no more backups, and no more syncs. I have tried everything from reverting back to old software to using four or five different USB cords. Nothing works.

I know that I am just one person, and that opinions are a dime a dozen. I can’t help but think that something is terribly wrong when a company that I have spent the better part of my adult life supporting starts producing products that are sub-par. An iPod lasting just over warranty when my previous models all lasted 2-3 years without problems? A mysterious glitch that means I can no longer keep up my ‘iLife’ with successful syncs and products that just work? I consider that sub-par. I know that I could go into a Genius Bar tomorrow and purchase a refurbished iPod, but that isn’t the point. After spending thousands of dollars on Apple products over the past ten years, I feel slighted by the sheer lack of quality I have found in my most recent purchases of your products. Why should I have to spend more money to keep items I already purchased afloat for more than a year at a time? And the packaging from my first-ever iPod purchase? Finally tossed after years of moving it from place to place. The box was empty, but the memory remained.

Thank you, Apple, for showing me that yes, there is better out there and that ‘thinking differently’ might not be so bad. Ten years in, however, and I wonder where my time and money have gone – certainly not to improving the development, quality, or stability of your products. At current, I am a user of a MacBook purchased in October of 2006 and an iPhone purchased in September of 2009. My MacBook is on its’ last legs. With this set of circumstances, I can’t promise my continued faith in or purchase of your products. I know that I may be one person and not a large conglomerate, but I am certain my opinion is represented by many others at this point.

Thank you for reading.


Liz Van Pay
Music Journalist/Live Photographer, Milwaukee, WI

I know that I am just one person in a large world, but my hope is that for the sake of myself and others in the same situation that my voice will not go unheard.


Written by Liz Van Pay

February 11, 2010 at 2:13 am

3 Responses

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  1. maybe you shud send it via email, in order to get their attention


    February 11, 2010 at 5:04 am

    • I did! Thanks.

      Liz Van Pay

      February 11, 2010 at 5:13 am

  2. I don’t mean to be “in your face” with this, but let’s just say I definitely have a different view on this. Great post though…

    Critique Direct

    February 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm

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