Yes, Virginia, there is an iPod touch upgrade fee.

I hear a lot of iPod touch owners unhappy about Apple charging for software updates for their devices, and since the iPhone/iPod touch 2.0 update is close at hand, I thought I’d try to bring a little clarity to the situation.

When the 1.1.3 update was first unveiled, it introduced new features that people had been asking for: customizable homescreens (bookmark icons and paging), WiFi & cellular triangulation (in lieu of full GPS), and a bunch of other features throughout.

Then the bombshell: The update would be free for iPhone owners, but would cost $20 for iPod touch owners. The result? Outrage, of course. How DARE Apple charge iPod touch owners when iPhone owners got the same update for free?! And so soon after the whole iPhone price-drop debacle. Message boards accused Apple of profiteering and online petitions were circulated and dugg, but the $20 charge stood, no matter how rampant the whining.

Soon, clearer heads prevailed, and an explanation was offered that, due to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Apple had to charge for the update, due to accounting procedures. This explanation is close, but it’s not exactly right. After doing a little research, I came across a brief paragraph on this summary of the “Statement of Position” (SOP) 97-2 from one of my favorite sources of captivating reading material, the Journal of Accountancy:

Apple has disclosed in quarterly filings that it recognizes revenue from its new iPhone as well as the iPod and Macintosh computers under software revenue recognition rules. Apple will record all revenue and related costs of sales from the iPhone on a straight-line basis over the two-year estimated life of this product. Historically, many hardware companies might have recognized revenue upfront, at the time of the sale, from a product similar to an iPhone. However, Apple intends to provide iPhone users with free software upgrades, necessitating the deferral of revenue under SOP 97-2.

What that means is, since the revenue generated by the iPhone is accounted for over the life of the product, Apple can provide software updates at no charge. The iPod touch, however, is accounted for upfront, as a one-time sale of the device. To comply with standard accounting practices, Apple must charge for the upgrade when it adds significant new features that did not exist when the device was originally sold. This also explains why early iPod touch owners had to pay to add the new applications, and new owners do not, because those applications that were added with the 1.1.3 update now come pre-installed on the device. And furthermore, this is why there was not a charge for the previous updates to the iPod touch, nor was there a charge for the current 1.1.4 software, because it did not add significant new features and abilities to the device.

I’m posting this to my site in an attempt to spread the word, and hopefully, make one part of my job just a little bit easier.

Still Kickin’

I guess now is as good a time as any to post. Hi folks, remember me? Yep, I’m still alive. I’m going to use a little trick I learned from Nathan to keep track of what I want to say in this post:

1. Interviews
2. Freelance
3. Car Repairs
4. Har-B-Que

1. Interviews

Yes, I am still without full-time salaried employment, but I have found that I am loving it. In fact, I’ve been busier over the past month than I was in the four months prior, so it turns out, getting laid off was a huge boon to my productivity.

But I have interviewed at a couple places, some more desirable than others, but the more interviews I do, the better I get at them. I haven’t been officially “turned down” yet, so I’m kind of in “waiting-to-hear-back limbo.” There’s one job that I’d really like to get, one that I’ll be okay if I don’t get, and one that, while not my ideal position, is with a good company any would be a great foot-in-the-door there.

Why am I so busy? Well, I’ve still got the part-time job, but in addition to that, I’ve been …

2. Freelancing

Yep, I’m now an “Independent Professional” (according to my LinkedIn profile). I’ve got a couple projects going on right now that are keeping me pretty busy. One that allows me to work at home, and another that takes me back to my previous, previous job, which is a lot more surreal than I expected. Will this trend continue? No one can really say for sure, which is one reason I’m still interviewing. I’m trying to make it work, because, as it turns out, working from home is really nice.

3. Car Repairs

In my last, rather ambiguous post, I posted a picture of my lovely car with some not-so-lovely damage that I inflicted on it myself. So, here’s the story in a nutshell:

Late one Thursday about three weeks ago, I was leaving the part-time job, where I have to park on the top floor of a four-story parking garage on the Country Club Plaza. Since it was late, the roof of the garage was mostly empty, and my car was the last one in its row. So, instead of backing straight out of my parking spot like an intelligent person, I turned my wheels and backed out at an angle. This would have worked anywhere else, but I forgot that I had parked next to a three-foot-tall cement pillar, and here it is:


I was parked where that Escort Wagon is. When I checked over my right shoulder before backing out, I, of course, didn’t see anything, because as you can tell, the damn pillar is three feet tall. After I started moving, something in my subconscious reminded me the pillar was there, and I whipped my head around mere micro-seconds before hitting it, so I got to see the whole thing. Except there was nothing to actually see, because the damn pillar is three feet tall! All I saw was the movement of the car stop abruptly while an expensive-sounding crunch filled my ears.

I got out to survey the damage, which you see in the previous post. You can tell by the crease in the front fender exactly how tall the pillar is, and you might also be able to tell that if the pillar had been just one inch taller, it would have completely taken off my passenger-side mirror.

So, that’s that. I was mad at myself at first, and also embarrassed because the tire was loudly rubbing on the inner fender for the drive home. Then I realized, hey, it’s just a car. Even if it’s a car that I love like a member of the family (which i do), it’s still just a car, and it will be fixed. It could have been a lot worse, and I’d rather that it was me that caused the damage than someone else, like a friend or relative (or wife).

Sonja and I dropped it off last Monday night (Memorial Day evening) at the bodyshop with the promise that it would be done by Friday. Well, auto repair being what it is, and my history with cars being what it is, I knew fully well that it would not be done when promised. Part of that is because the replacement door skin was damaged upon arrival at the shop, and another part is that the holiday pushed everything back a little bit (parts’ arrivals, the queue at the bodyshop, etc.). Another small part is that auto repair, like weather forecasting, is not an exact science, and all timelines and dates are merely suggestions. Again, because I was anticipating this, I wasn’t surprised when I learned that it would not be ready on Friday. It is, however, supposed to be done today (Monday, June 2nd), but I have no way to get to the body shop before they close, and likely won’t until Wednesday morning, but that’s okay. Sonja has been a real champ letting me share her car for the past week, and it has allowed us to spend quality time together as I drop her off and pick her up at work.

4. Har-B-Que

Finally, Sunday, May 30th, was the Seventh Annual Har-B-Que, hosted by Kyle’s brother, Brian Harbaugh. This year’s was the biggest turnout so far (I think). It was so hot, though, that by the end of the day I was so sunburned and tired that I could only manage to finish a few babyback ribs and call it a day. We didn’t win any trophys, but we did have fun. Maybe next year we could do the grilling inside.

Well, it’s 2am and I have to work at the store tomorrow. I took the past 8 days off to get my freelancing stuff in order, but that ended up getting backed up anyway when one of my external hard drives crapped out. That’s what I get for trying to render to a USB2.0 drive, and it’s why I’m getting a couple 1TB FW800 drives in a couple weeks. Hooray for nerdery!