I really like my iPhone, but in some ways it’s souring my relationship with Apple. Yesterday I watched Apple’s video introducing new iPhone features. Most of the new features are yawners, but I can’t help but notice that it seems like all of the big features in this release are just ways to make it easier for Apple to get customers to give them more money. I’d like an IM client, what I get instead is the opportunity to buy DRM-infested music tracks on my iPhone. Great.
What I really wanted to post about was the new ringtone feature. First, let me say that the interface to select and edit ringtones is seriously cool. Pick a song, pick a snippet of the song you want to use as your ringtone, and then add fade effects if you like. I’m not a ringtone person, but the elegance of the interface is impressive. The catch is that if you want to use a song as a ringtone, you have to buy it from the iTunes Music Store and then you have to pay an additional 99 cents to convert it into a ringtone. I already knew Apple was going to charge for ringtones, but seeing how nifty the tool is and then being reminded again that if I want to play a song on my phone when someone calls I have to pay Apple for it twice just makes me want to punch somebody in the face.
The fact that the ringtone industry is pure exploitation is not news. John Gruber wrote a great post criticizing Apple for participating in this farce a couple of weeks ago. What shocked me was my visceral negative reaction to the video. I like Apple’s products, but I don’t like the way they’re doing business.