Apple's ability to mix good ideas with head-scratching obliqueness continues. The iPod was at launch and remains today an absolutely smashing product, especially now it's grown a few extra gig and some more fab software becoming its status as a pocket device of choice. But Apple still hasn't produced any Windows software for it. Nobody else has felt so restrained: there's Xpod, Ephpod, MacOpener and others, and no shortage of other people poking away at the iPod internals.
So... where's the Apple? "They don't want to have anything less than the best available", say some Apple-ogists: well, yes, laudable stuff but can anyone place their hands on their favourite internal organ and say that Apple has an unblemished history of not releasing software before it was perfect? Aren't Apple and Microsoft good friends? The latest version of Windows Media Player has many faults, but it copes with managing collections of files pretty well; an iPod-aware version of that would have held off the third parties from building alternative software, given Apple the breathing space to build their own top-notch Windows app and, as a side effect, shifted a good few iPods into the bargain.
Clearly, Apple didn't want this. I'm not complaining -- a healthy market in third party software is a good thing -- but I wish I understood what goes through the mind of Apple's marketing department. Hell, I wish I understood quantum chromodynamics -- and quite possibly, have a better chance there.