The Orange View (on hiatus) Because Apple is great but it isn't perfect

6Jun/11Off

Early complaints and troubles with Apple’s Lion and iOS 5

Plenty of people are singing Apple's praises today after the company unveiled new details about its upcoming operating systems for computers, Mac OS X Lion, and mobile devices, iOS 5. And the much hyped iCloud arrived in vapor form, as well. The opposite view got short shrift, as usual. But that's what The Orange View is all about.

1. Peeved about MobileMe renewal

About two months, Apple triggered the automatic one-year renewal of my MobileMe subscription for $99. Now, all those services and more are about to be offered free. Will I get some kind of credit? An email from Apple says my MobileMe subscription, that's the service that just became obsoleted by a free service, "will be automatically extended through June 30, 2012, at no additional charge. After that date, MobileMe will no longer be available." Huh? You took my $99 and instead of a refund or a credit towards another service you're extending my subscription to a dead, outmoded service for an extra two months? Yuck. I wonder how many other people feel the same way.

2. Not purchased here

The best new service in iCloud is the music locker but it's limited in some frustrating ways. For all music you have ever bought from iTunes or buy in the future, Apple will begin letting you re-download it onto as many as 10 devices and computers for free. It's not exactly clear to me how the device limit will work -- what if you download a bunch of songs to a phone and then de-select it from your iCloud plan -- but it is still pretty cool and way, way, way overdue. Among other things, this means you don't have to backup music files purchased from iTunes as they can be re-downloaded if lost.

But what about music you didn't buy from iTunes? Apple says for $25 a year, you can include non-purchased music in the iCloud as long as the songs match songs currently for sale in the iTunes store. This is a huge and annoying limit. For example, a bunch of my favorite Prince music is no longer in the store. A bunch more was ripped from old indy label CDs for small bands that never made it to the digital era. Sounds like these will be excluded. Yes, the service is more convenient than Amazon's or Google's in the sense that no uploading is required. But that benefit is more than offset by the limits on what can be included (and with our fast Verizon FiOS Internet connection, uploading is not such a big deal). UPDATE: Non-matching songs can be uploaded, so, as Emily Litella used to say, never mind.

3. Hello, video, can you see me now?

The iCloud service only applies to music. Video is excluded. But the files I really want stored in the cloud are the much larger video files I own, particularly of television shows. That's the way Amazon's video download service works. I bought a season of "Mad Man" and I can download the episodes to my Tivo or watch them on my laptop whenever I'd like. After I'm done, I delete the files so most of the time I don't have to carry them around. That's also the way Amazon Kindle books work. I need that for my iTunes video, too. With AppleTV in particular, it seems so obvious that you should be able to stream from Apple's servers any movie that you previously purchased. But no.

4. Lock in is bad

The new Apple messaging service that can replace SMS seems okay. I think it is as much aimed at Google Voice as Blackberry Messaging, unlike many commentators, but whatever. The more annoying facet is that the iMessage service only works among iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, iPods). The world is not made up solely of Apple customers. Seems crazy that the service can't interact with regular SMS users, Mac users or anyone else not carrying an iDevice (even with the fallback setting mentioned by a commenter, which just changes how the message travels not who can be addressed). Facetime suffers from a similar limit although at least it works with Macs.

5. Good bye OS disks

The Lion upgrade will be available only as a download from the Mac app store. It will not be available on disk. Aside from the inconvenience of having to download a huge, multi-gigabyte file onto multiple computers, doesn't it seem like operating system upgrades are too important to require an active Internet connection? I want to be able to revive a dead laptop or fix a malfunctioning desktop even when I'm not online -- or can't get online. Perhaps there will be some way to do this after you download the update once, I hope.

6. Cupertino, start your Xerox machines

An awful lot of today's Apple features seemed like knock offs from the last few versions of Android devices. Jeffrey Talajic has quite the rundown on his blog. Should be interesting to hear what Apple fans will say now after they spent the last few years deriding Android's excellent notification system and claiming "Post PC" somehow didn't mean "Post PC."

Posted by Aaron Pressman

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  1. What’s also incredibly irritating is that, in order to have the Mac app store, you have to have Snow Leopard. Which costs $129. So for those of us still with Leopard, in order to upgrade to Tiger it will actually cost us $158.99, since we’ll have to buy Snow Leopard first. Major hiccough.

    • Snow Leopard only costs $29. Always has. Also, if you are running Tiger, you don’t need to purchase Leopard to install Snow.

  2. Your assertion “the iMessage service only works among iOS devices” is mitigated a bit.

    In iMessage’s settings, there’s a “Send as SMS” option which will “Send as SMS when iMessage unavailable. Carrier messaging rates may apply.”

    So optionally, my messages can still fallback on SMS allowing Android and RIM users to not miss out on my pearls of wisdom (at least no more expensively than today).

  3. Wow lots of incomplete info:
    1 Apple said it would issue credit for those moving over to icloud from Mobile Me.
    2 You already figured that one out…. 25 bucks to legitimize all you music / great deal.
    3 Apple left off everything regarding movies. They have a plan that they are working on but a few of the studios were not on board. Apple wisely will let it successful launch of icloud put pressure on the studios. Expect it to work something like tune matching or streaming…. Video Coming Soon.
    4 There is nothing stopping you from SMSing.
    5 I am sure there will be a work around. Burn a Disk Image etc.
    6 I think it is funny that people only think companies are only working on “features” when they release them. Apple works on may features but only releases them when they feel that they are bullet prof …. So just because you see a feature on another system does not mean apple wasn’t working on it independently ..

    ALEX Upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard 29.00. Just look in the apple store
    so Leopard to Lion 58.99

  4. Apple will most likely offer a mailed installer DVD of Lion as an option, when it is ordered on the Mac App Store.

    This option would be necessary for people who might not have a high-speed Internet connection. There are still many people in this situation who use slow Internet or dial-up for email and Web browsing only.

  5. Someone has already posted instructions of how to burn an installer DVD from your downloaded Lion installer:
    http://forkbombr.net/need-a-burn-a-lion-boot-disc/

  6. You really don’t know if one will be able to burn an installer DVD from the July retail version of Lion. All these talks of making a Lion DVD all have been done with a Developer copy of Lion, not a retail release.

  7. I have a slow internet connection which is still the fastest available in my area and it will take forever to download an installation of 4 GIGS.I always have a problem downloading any file over a GIG as it frequently fails to mount because it has been corrupted during the long download.I also live at least 41/2 hours away from an Apple store and I am not going to be transporting my desktop Mac Pro for this Lion upgrade any time soon.
    So….what the heck is Apple thinking with this bizarre download only idea? Well they can save a lot of money by not producing CDs and they no longer care a shit about Mac users like me.I can go to hell as far as they are concerned because Apple is no longer about quality it is about the mass production and enormous profits from all of their various “toys”.Pro users do not come into the picture any more as the new operating systems are always full of bugs and one constantly has download updates in order to deal with them.Well screw you Apple if you are now adopting unfriendly methods of installing operating systems I guess I don’t have to be friendly either.You are losing your luster Apple and going the way all successful companies go consumed by arrogance, greed and indifference to your your once loyal customers.


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