Responding to the iPhone revelation in the New York Times today, Randall Stross launches a harsh — but familiar — excoriation of Apple's FairPlay DRM system. He argues, among other things that:
Even if you are ready to pledge a lifetime commitment to the iPod as your only brand of portable music player or to the iPhone as your only cellphone once it is released, you may find that FairPlay copy protection will, sooner or later, cause you grief. You are always going to have to buy Apple stuff. Forever and ever. Because your iTunes will not play on anyone else's hardware.
I'm not sure most people think of continuing to buy Apple products as "grief." While it may be a closed system, it's also what makes the system work as well as it does.
iTunes only has to work with the iPod and vice versa, and together they provide a pretty seamless experience. Besides, if FairPlay really caused the average person that much of a problem, they could (and probably would) just load regular MP3s onto their iPod.
So where do I sign that lifetime commitment? Will it get me an iPhone early?