A lot of folks were understandably upset when Apple released five new applications for the iPod Touch that currently exist on the iPhone (Mail, Stocks, Notes, Weather, and Maps), and then proceeded to charge $20 for the package. Now, they're even more upset. Apparently, Apple's insistence on selling Touch owners the $20 upgrade is sending some of them into an unending loop of refusal and redirection.
We've been discussing this a lot lately on the Buzz Out Loud podcast. It started when a caller told us that he plugged in his iPod Touch shortly after the new applications were announced, and was presented with a nag screen about upgrading, with no way to say "No, thanks." A few other people reported that they were nagged several times before a "No, thanks" button finally appeared (I guess they got out of the screen by clicking Cancel or something similar). Then people started e-mailing us tales such as this one from a guy named Matt:
"You click 'No, Thanks' and the program brings you back to the upgrade screen with only an 'OK' button. Click the 'OK' button and you're routed to the iTunes store to purchase the apps that should have been on the iPod Touch to begin with. Click back to your iPod, and you're at the upgrade screen with 'OK' again."
Users on the Apple forums (as well as some BOL listeners) report one worse--instead of the infinite loop, they actually get an error when they try to decline the $20 upgrade:
"I click "No Thanks" and an the following message keeps coming up: 'an error occurred, the iTunes store could not process your request.' "
People are unable to sync at all, because they're trapped in the "No, thanks" loop or getting the error--workarounds range from choosing Sync from the File menu to actually unplugging the computer from the Internet so you can sync (apparently the latter was a suggestion from Apple support).
Perhaps cruelest of all, the problem is plaguing users in countries, such as Brazil and Singapore, who can't even purchase the software from the iTunes store. Ouch. So far, there are at least two active threads on Apple's forums about the issue, but no indication of a fix coming anytime soon.
Technical flubs with iTunes are nothing new, but this one does seem particularly cruel to the people who are already feeling a bit shafted by the $20 price tag for, as Matt puts it, applications that should have been on the Touch in the first place. Here's hoping Apple quits kicking sand in their faces long enough to fix this glitch.