Apple, Bad usability, iPod

How to get video out of your iPod

Apple AV Cable

Update:
Having a blog with a bit of readers is a wonderful thing. You can post articles about stuff that makes you angry. And then realize that you are completely wrong!

Have a look at the comments. Thanks, Magnus and Tor Erik.

Apple should still consider their strategy concerning FairPlay and a couple of other things. Regarding their AV cable they did the right thing.

The original post:
Apple is a company that makes wonderful software and hardware. Still, sometimes they do their best to make their products difficult to use and annoying for the consumer.

The connector on top of the new video iPod can also be used to deliver video to a television set. Video cameras and other equipment use standard AV cables to deliver stereo sound and composite video out of a mini jack like the one on top of your iPod.

However, Apple has decided to make it difficult for their users by making the connector on top of the iPod non standard. They say that you have to buy Apple’s own cable if you want to connect your iPod to a television set.

For starters, that’s a lie. You can buy a standard AV cable. You just have to connect it in a very stupid and non logic way. Someone at some point made some thinking and managed to make some kind of standard out of the typical RCA connectors you use for audio and video. White and red for left and right audio. Yellow for video. Great.

If you buy a standard AV cable for your iPod you have to connect it like this:
* Plug the red RCA plug into your TV’s yellow RCA jack
* Plug the yellow RCA plug into your TV’s white RCA jack
* Plug the white RCA plug into your TV’s red RCA jack

Detailed description here.

How stupid is that? Yes I know, Apple think they’re going to rule the world and get stinking rich by selling the special AV cable where the connectors have been messed up to match the iPod.

Well, this is amazingly stupid thinking:
1. It gives great room for confusion
2. It is a classic example of bad usability
3. Last but not least:
Apple, please start trusting yourself. I bought your expensive and special cable. Not because I was unable to connect the red to the yellow, using a cheap standard cable. I knew that already. I did it because Apple’s original cable is one of the best built, wonderfully designed and sexy AV cables ever made. I would buy another one for my video camera as well if it had been built using the standards.

The reason why I bought this cable is the exact same as the reason for buying an iPod in the first place. It is more expensive than the competitors, but it is also better built, in a league of its own when it comes to looks and in general a pleasure to use.

This is a tiny issue and not a very important example on its own. Still it illustrates an unintelligent strategy from Apple.

Apple, I love your products. Now please, open your FairPlay DRM. Open the Firmware in the iPod. Open your Front Row Experience for third party content providers…