Bending Apple's ear

by Giles Turnbull

So shortly after a wave of protest, mostly by angry webloggers, Apple has seen fit to change the way the new iTunes MiniStore works.

The simple MiniStore alert

On being activated today, the MiniStore presented all users with a simple explanation of what it is and what it does, and a promise that "Apple does not keep any information related to the contents of your music Library."

Which is a nice thing for Apple to tell us, indeed a wise thing for them to do considering the vehemence of the protests.

But what I find most interesting about it is the fact that Apple responded at all. After all, Apple does not usually care to comment on anything, even sensible articles in reputable newspapers; not unless it has initiated the article first. As far as rants and rumors on random weblogs, Apple does not normally indicate that it has even noticed them.

What does this demonstrate? The unequalled connections and impressive audience reach of boingboing? Or is Apple deliberately being more responsive, more open? Perhaps a little bit of both.

Personally, I don't find the MiniStore terribly intrusive nor compelling. If I want to buy music, I'd much rather have the (in my opinion) more useful UI of the full-blown iTMS. The MiniStore looks to me like yet another bit of cross-selling by Apple, something that was very noticeable during the Macworld presentation last week. Increasingly, Apple wants to maximize the income it can get from every Mac owner, by offering little extras and add-ons. The MiniStore is another one of these.

I'm just pleased that you can switch it off and forget about it. That's what I've done.


2006-01-18 17:18:36
I've never quite got it
I do like the switch to opt-in rather than opt-out; but really (as others have said) - how is Apple's ministore substantively different than how Google Ads work, or the way Tivo makes suggestions?

I think it's yet another tempest in a teapot. But then, most of what people blog about seems to be mostly irrelevant.

2006-01-18 22:07:11
The mini store knows what song you have sleeted (not what u are listening to)
joseph p.muscara
2006-01-19 05:21:04
Apple does respond
... to security issues, and perhaps the reason they responded is that this was seen as a security issue by some.
2006-01-19 11:38:12
They responded pretty quick on the auto-installing widgets too.
It's just the hardware problems they like to deny!

I think the reaction has been a little excessive - reminds me of an article in the UK's Daily Mail about invasion of privacy; it turned out it wasn't CCTV or the secret services - after all if you're not a criminal, why would you be worried about that - and it wasn't compulsory ID cards (something they're also for) - no, it was supermarket loyalty cards. Talk about getting it the wrong way round.