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Sunday, December 25, 2005


Apple's poor planning

I'm not too thrilled with Apple's accessory planning.

I buy an iPod with video. It costs me $400 after tax and student discount. Turns out that it comes with no accessories save for a USB2 cable. I must admit I was pretty pissed off. Here I am spending all this money, and there is no dock, no power adapter, no video cable, no nothing. And Apple charges ridiculous fees for said devices ($40 for a video cable when you can buy generic ones for $2).

Well, I got over it. The iPod charged off my laptop's USB2 port, and while slow (slower than a power adapter would be since the adapter charges at half the amperage), it worked. It was fine.

Well, today is Christmas. And my parents decided to buy me some iPod accessories. I got a dock and power adapter along with an stereo 3.5mm to stereo RCA cable. Unfortunately, I can't use the dock's S-VIDEO out, since my TV only has one S-VIDEO plug that is already in use by the satellite, but it allows me to set up a permanent installation with the existing composite video cable I made. I might eventually buy an S-VIDEO/Audio switch to allow the use of S-VIDEO, but the minor gain in quality over composite may not be worth the cost.

Now, here's where the problem occurs. See, Apple's power adapter is braindead. I open the packaging, and it doesn't come with a cable. It requires the use of my existing USB2 cable to charge the iPod. So I will constantly have to remove the wire from the dock/charger and plug it in to my iPod.

Of course, since I have a laptop, plugging the dock in to my laptop doesn't really make sense. But if somebody had a desktop, they'd run in to another problem: there is no way to hook up a power adapter and computer to the dock or iPod at the same time. To charge the iPod you would have to unplug your desktop from the dock and plug in the charger, and then reverse the process when you want to sync again. This, of course, totally defeats the purpose of a dock (simplicity and lack of cable-swapping).

I think that with only one cable, the best solution to my problem is to leave the iPod in the dock (next to the TV) normally, and hold my laptop next to the dock while syncing so as to only have to unplug the cable from the power adapter. Syncing doesn't take THAT long. Still, this is all a big hassle. DAMN YOU APPLE!

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