With all the hoopla over the new iPods subsiding, a question occurred to me about a service Apple offers, seemingly out of the goodness of its shiny white heart. Namely, why is engraving free?
You can get messages nicely scratched into the back of iPods for free when bought from the online Apple Store. At first I thought this was a nice little bonus to iPod customers who want to get a more personalised music player, maybe as a meaningful gift. But I've realised something: this could all be an attempt to vanquish the perfectly legal art of second-hand trading.
Someone with the message "I love you, my saucy sex bunny" engraved into the back of their iPod is going to have a hella hard time shifting it on eBay 12 months down the line. Instead, they'll probably just keep it as a backup player and simply buy a new one direct from Apple.
What's happened here? Apple has, by way of a free 'bonus', curbed the trading of an old iPod and generated a sale of a brand new one.
Why would Apple go to the trouble of engraving a free personalised message into a product it has already taken money for, simply out of the goodness of its corporate heart? Remember, this is the same company that asks you to pay to use a portion of a song you've already bought from it as a ringtone on your.
I have plenty of respect for the company, I love its products and I buy them. But I have this horrible feeling in my gut that this apparently generous free engraving offer is nothing but a subtle way of ensuring unsuspecting fans keep shelling out. Remember that when you're buying this year's iPod -- what are you going to do when the next generation of iPod comes out?