How Apple can appease the fanboys FOREVAH

I just placed an order for my third Mac ever, this time a new iMac. I realized my 2.5 year old powerbook wasn’t worth upgrading if they’ll go to intel someday, and I was just using it as a desktop 99% of the time so I might as well get something designed to sit on my desk instead of my lap. Another odd tidbit is that four years ago, I used to build computers from whatever motherboard was on sale at Frys, and now I buy pre-built non-upgradeable computers. Funny how that works.

Anyway, my point is iTunes and the “renting” problem with their music. They went from allowing three machines to five after Cory at BoingBoing complained, but I think I have a better solution.

Now that I’m on my third bit of hardware, and I’ve had a hard drive crash on the first powerbook, and I’ve given my wife copies of some songs, I’m pretty sure I’ve exhausted five machines for some tracks. But when I get my new machine and I register it, Apple will know it’s me. They own the hardware, software, and servers that both the new computer registrations and music store purchases go through. Why not connect the two? The solution to the number of machines problem is an easy one.

Instead of allowing three machines or five machines to unlock a iTunes song DRM, make it n+1 where n equals the number of Macs you have purchased and registered. It does two things for you that are both good for Apple and good for customers. One, it lets people know their iTunes music has a future. If I buy a song today, and I buy a new mac each year or two, I’ll know that ten years down the line the file will still play (and this isn’t a total stretch — I have mp3s from 1997 saved somewhere). The other thing it will do is remove any hesitation to buy a new Mac on the part of your customers. Imagine if I had purchased hundreds of songs (I’m probably somewhere close to that). If you could ensure that my purchased music collection can follow me from mac to mac to mac, I’d be a happier customer of both your hardware and music services.

Think about it, (n+1) is all I’m asking for here.

12 Comments

  • I forgot to add that yes, I know about the de-authorize command. But if I can buy a CD and share it with my family, if I have a family of four plus an entertainment PC or two, I can’t share a $10 album I bought on iTunes with everyone in the house.
    Apple lets you connect to an unlimited number of ipods, and I’ve already gone through four of those, why not include all the apple hardware you buy?
    I still say n+1 is a better alternative.

  • I’d still go through the process of de-DRMing all the files though, I don’t trust the DRM folks today, and I won’t trust them in 10 years time…

  • My PowerBook is currently using 3 of my 5 authorisations (it’s a bit hard to de-authorize when the logic board is dead). What about people who (like me) play their purchased music (off an iPod) using not-owned-by-them machines? In my case I guess it’s only one. Perhaps I’m taking the +1 too literally.
    Perhaps n+(some number greater than 1).

  • Apologies for the slight derailing Matt, but: “They went from allowing three machines to five after Cory at BoingBoing complained…”
    I’m curious; is this pure speculation or do you have an inside source on this?

  • Unfortunately there are quite a few ipod+itunes users that don’t own any macs. It could be used as an incentive to buy a mac though. I’m uncertain if they could get away with making Macs exempt from the quota with the studios.

  • so how much would you part with your powerbook for?

  • konstantinos, I didn’t mean to make it sound like the events were linked, I just recall Cory complaining loudly about machine limits and a few months later they were increased, but no, I’m not saying one is linked to the other, I’m just repeating some blogosphere chronology.

  • Patrick, you can get Apple to reset your authorizations back to zero, then reauthorize the machine :)

  • I’m in a similar position WRT deauths – had a powerbook pismo g3/400, upgraded to g3/900 cpu by buying a spare 400 boardand sending it to newertech for them to solder a new chip on. Now that upgrade board is dead and I’m on a new iBook, but have since copied all of my mp3s to a mini. As far as Apple is concerned, I’ve used my five cpus, even though I only have access to three and only use two of them, and only use one for actually updating my ipod. Stupid policy.

  • Anyone can unilaterally void all existing authorizations without asking Apple for mercy, but only once a year. Instructions are here:
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93014
    n+1 sounds handy but it seems impractical unless Apple’s willing to require that all the covered computers were purchased by the same person, or at least registered with the same Apple ID, both of which strike me as too restrictive to be useful.
    The alternative puts Apple in the hilarious position of determining whose computers qualify case-by-case. “That’s the laptop that work bought for me. Oh, and that’s the iBook that my ex-wife bought through her academic discount, but we’re still on good terms. And this is the iMac that my stepson bought at a police auction a year before I started shagging his mom.” That’ll scale poorly, to say nothing of any PCs involved.

  • Yep, I’m aware of the ability to self de-authorize my machines, but it seems rather drastic to have to do that because my logic board was replaced (twice! in two weeks!). I suppose I should do it sooner rather than later, just in case I kill another logic board within too short a time frame.

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