AAPL Stock: 111.19 ( -1.57 )

Printed from

Apple gadgets more difficult for PC users

updated 07:25 pm EST, Thu December 13, 2007

PC users, Apple gadgets

Thousands of consumers hoping to enjoy music, photos, and movies with Apple gadgets they receive this holiday season may need to learn some basic skills before diving right into the devices. Dave Taylor, a SupportSpace Committee member specializing in Mac as well as handheld technologies says the jump is even more difficult for most PC users. "Apple's iPhone and the latest generation of iPods have delivered enormous power and simplicity to the average consumer, but the technology is still complicated and usability is not 100% intuitive, especially for Windows users," he said.

"The key for holiday shoppers who want to avoid holiday frustration is to gain key bits of knowledge so they can enjoy their fabulous new tech toys."

SupportSpace CEO Yair Grindlinger says consumers need to quickly get the right answers to their questions, and that speedy aid is especially important during the holiday season when people would rather enjoy the technology than becoming frustrated by it.

The company is offering a list of tips for Windows users hoping to receive an Apple iPhone or iPod to help soften the learning curve, focusing specifically on the unseen obstacles most users will face:

  • Audio files are in different formats: Apple iPods prefer MP3 formatted music, but Windows systems default to Windows Media Audio (WMA) format. Windows users who have a library of music will need to convert the files from WMA to MP3.
  • Windows Media Player and Apple's iTunes compete for digital files: Users manage all content through Apple's Windows software application iTunes. Without it, copying music on to an iPod or iPhone is not possible, and if iTunes and Windows Media player "compete" for the data, users are in for hours of frustration. Once users learn to use iTunes, which they must install on their computer to get the iPod or iPhone to work properly, they can then manage audio and video content on their computer and have it automatically sync with their handheld device.
  • Adding movie files is complicated by digital rights management and different formats: The constraining digital rights management policy of iTunes software and different video file formats can be difficult to work around and understand.
  • Loading photos is not Plug and Play: For Windows users, managing photos can be difficult because there is no default photo application for Windows that is tightly integrated into iTunes. For Mac OS X users, iPhoto and iMovie functionality is seamlessly integrated into iTunes.

SupportSpace is also offering general tips for iPhone and iPod Windows users:
  • Be sure to download the latest iTunes software from Apple: Particularly for Windows Vista users, it is critical to install the latest version of iTunes (Version 7.2 or later).
  • Rip audio CDs in the proper format: Use iTunes to burn audio CD's, or if users want to use Windows Media Player, they must change its settings to create MP3 files, not WMA files.
  • Understand issues about copying DVD movies to iPods and iPhones: Going to the iTunes Store to repurchase and download movies already owned on DVD is the legal way of getting the content onto iPods and iPhones. Copying DVD movies onto the iPod or iPhone is not legal, but can be done easily by purchasing third-party software that circumvents DVD encoding systems. Users should understand the associated copyright issues and proceed thoughtfully.
  • Carefully manage content between multiple computers: iPods and iPhones "pair" to a single computer and will not allow users to copy digital content purchased at the iTunes store between multiple computers. It is important users carefully think through which of their computers should be paired with the device and "de-authorize" computers that won't be used any longer.

by MacNN Staff





  1. howiethemacguy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If Windows users are this stupid, they don't deserve Apple's fabulous products.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969



    WMP files are automatically converted into an open standard by iTunes. Protected WMP files ARE NOT even supported by MS themselves for zzzune, why do you expect iTunes to support it?

    iTunes is the most popular music player on the market, even when MS try to bundle and shove media player down consumers' throats. There is nothing to learn, because it's the MOST POPULAR PLAYER and people can actually figure it out easily. MANY DJS use iTunes to catalog their library because in addition to its speed, ease of use, it's actually really powerful!

    Can movie files with DRM be added via other programs as easily than iTunes? No it's not possible.

    Photos not plug and play? That's because the default MS program for photos and graphics is JUNK. A MS shortcoming is in no way a fault of iTunes.

  1. ctt1wbw

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I have OS X, Vista, XP, and Linux at home. I can figure this out, is it really that hard for a Windows user to get how to plug in a freakin iPod into a freakin port?

  1. dashiel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    here's what i tell...

    ... switchers. the mac way is so simple the setting/feature you are looking for is usually in the exact place you'd expect it to be (not always)... so think of how you would do it on windows, then do the exact opposite.

    in all seriousness though watching a windows user on their first mac (i've supported dozens of people over the past 10 years) is funny, they actually go to great lengths when the simplest solution is necessary.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Libel / slander

    iPod is the most popular music player on the market due to its quality, ease of use, and ability to be useful even for power users.

    So these people either have really low IQ or they are in for it by making false statements.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: libel / slander

    I vote low IQ :)

  1. MiMiC

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Jobs, don't listen

    If you dumb down the Mac for PC users i will freak!

    I rather pay more and have a smaller market then placate to the stupidity of those unable to do what is simple.

    Although i think the Mac is by far easier to use then a PC and i support both at the office.

    For some reason, people are afraid of the unknown.

  1. McDave

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Where DO you start?

    Almost everything above is false! AAC (MP3s successor) is the default format. iTunes automatically seeks out WMAs and manages them in a seperate library! DRM is designed to be difficult & is non-standard from anyone! You mean those industry standard video file formats! Point iTunes to your default photos folder! No - don't rip to MP3 it's defunct! Yes, iPods are extensions of iTunes - not 'just hard-drives that play music'

    Consumers really need to stop listening to geeks! Both before & after purchase.


  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What research?!?!

    I do freelance in-home computer support work. Many windows users have trouble with a myriad of "simple" tasks on their machines. The ONE thing they all seem to understand is how to get their iPod working. This article is absurd.

  1. robttwo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let me get this straight

    Apple devices are harder for people to operate who have experience with Windows, than for people who have no computer experience at all?

    Think about that for a second. And you will understand the MS philosophy - "Let them think they are geeks, but actually keep them stupid, and they will stay a loyal customer." Just look at our own testudo.


Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Blue Yeti Studio

Despite being very familiar with Blue Microphones' lower-end products -- we've long recommended the company's Snowball line of mics ...

ZTE Spro 2 Smart Projector

Home theaters are becoming more and more accessible these days, but maybe you've been a bit wary about buying a home projector. And h ...

MSI Geforce GTX 970 100ME

When Nvidia announced a new line of video cards in September 2014, many people thought things would continue to be business as usual i ...


Most Commented