I speak from experience. Because I buy a new PowerBook every
ten months, and because I always order the new models the day
they’re announced, I get a lot of lemons from Apple. That means
that I hit Apple’s three-iTunes-authorized-computers limit pretty
early on and found myself unable to play the hundreds of dollars’
worth of iTunes songs I’d bought because one of my authorized
machines was a lemon that Apple had broken up for parts, one
was in the shop getting fixed by Apple, and one was my mom’s
computer, 3,000 miles away in Toronto.
If I had been a less good customer for Apple’s hardware, I
would have been fine. If I had been a less enthusiastic evange-
list for Apple’s products — if I hadn’t shown my mom how iTunes
Music Store worked — I would have been fine. If I hadn’t bought
so much iTunes music that burning it to CD and re-ripping it and
re-keying all my metadata was too daunting a task to consider, I
would have been fine.
As it was Apple rewarded my trust, evangelism, and out-of-
control spending by treating me like a crook and locking me out
of my own music, at a time when my PowerBook was in the shop
— i.e., at a time when I was hardly disposed to feel charitable to
I’m an edge case here, but I’m a leading edge case. If Apple suc-
ceeds in its business plans, it will only be a matter of time until
even average customers have upgraded enough hardware and
bought enough music to end up where I am.