The Uselessness of (Apple) Tech Pundits

We’re having another round of rumors of iTunes offering a subscription service.  This round of rumors is based on one e-mail’s hypothetical postulation of how it might work and how it might be a cool option for them.  There’s no word of mouth from inside Apple happening here.  There’s no leaked memo.  There’s no overseas production receipts.  (Not that there would be.)  There’s no hidden variable inside an SDK or an API.


But people are speculating on it, whipping themselves up into a furor that can only end when said product is not revealed in September, and they blast Apple for not following through on a product Apple never promised in the first place.

It’s a vicious cycle.  Sometimes, some Apple fanboys make me nuts.

You know who else make me nuts?  Technology pundits who talk about how great a gadget or a piece of software will be for when you’re flying.  How often does the average person fly, you think? Technology pundits must be doing it all the time, whether they’re giving a speech, or attending a conference, or a product unveiling, or meeting with an advertiser.  That lifestyle directly impacts their recommendations.  Sadly, it’s a lifestyle most of us don’t lead.  So many tech pundits are full of hot air to the average consumer.  Sadly, many consumers don’t take this to heart.

Let’s hear about products that are good for people who work 40 – 50 hours a week, have precious little free time at home, and can’t afford to spend $500 on the gadget of the week.  Let’s talk about gadgets that WILL change our lives, not incremental upgrades of products we’ve already decided we don’t need.

Let’s hear about a product that’s good for those of us who can’t spend all day on a Mac — those of us who are stuck on a locked-down PC all day, with extremely limited web options.  I don’t  need to hear about how you synch your half dozen Macs with your iPhone and your iPod Touch, all without leaving the comfort of your house and open wi-fi connection.  Cloud computing is meaningless when the cloud is as inaccessible to you as your home computer.

Let’s get back to that music subscription model that the pundits all seem to think is The Future.  I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I’m sick and tired of paying monthly fees for everything.  I’ve got enough of those bills coming in every month, thanks.  I’ll pay as I go for my music.  I agree — $100 doesn’t seem like much for a year’s worth of music.  But right now, I don’t pay anything to listen to music.  I already paid for it months or years ago.  I buy the few albums a year I might want, but I don’t honestly think I’ve spent $100 on music downloads and CDs in the last year, or 18 months.  Sure, I’d like to sample some new music, but I don’t need to.  I don’t have the time.  And I’m not paying for the pleasure.  I’ll follow the couple dozen bands and musicians I like as they release new stuff.  I’ll be happy with my six albums a year, tops, and that’ll leave me with plenty of time to listen to podcasts for free.

Those podcasts, in many cases, feature technology pundits who fly around the world and own seven Macs and listen to ten audible books a month.

I kid you not: I went back to listening to the latest Mac Break Weekly after writing this (admitted) rant, only to have Andy Ihnatko recommending a piece of software because it’s a great way to store your Travelocity information when you hop a plane to go somewhere.  I should start a website like to track the constant need of tech pundits to recommend or not recommend things mostly based on how well they fare on airplane trips.