Apple’s 4GB Problem

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Apple's 4GB Problem

Last night I was greeted with yet another iOS update when I hooked up my iPod Touch, so as usual I let iTunes go ahead and update. It was also updating some of my apps, so I checked the progress. As usual, the update was > 600MB.

Later I hooked up my iPad 2 … same thing – another 600+ MB download. Then this morning I went to sync up my original iPad. That’s right – another 600+ MB download!

So now I have downloaded nearly 2GB of data for my three iOS devices – must be some pretty important stuff, right? Well, here are what the release notes tell us:

This update contains improvements and other bug fixes including:

– Fixes an issue that occasionally caused blank or frozen video during a FaceTime call
– Fixes an issue that prevented some international users from connecting to 3G networks on iPad Wi-Fi + 3G
– Contains the latest security updates

Hmmm … not really all that much. Worse still, it has only been a few weeks since the last update, which accomplished the following:

This update contains improvements and other bug fixes including:

– Fixes an occasional graphics glitch on iPod touch (4th generation)
– Resolves bugs related to activating and connecting to some cellular networks
– Fixes image flicker when using Apple Digital AV Adapter with some TVs
– Resolves an issue authenticating with some enterprise web services

And once again each update was ~655 MB, but I actually saw the glitching on my iPod Touch so that one felt like it was doing something.

But my point is that over the last three weeks I have downloaded 4GB of iOS updates which accomplish 7 lines of (public) fixes. I am sure there is more stuff going on, but that is beside the point.

Having to download 650MB to perform a simple x.x.# OS patch is completely ridiculous and unacceptable. Having to download what is essentially the SAME PATCH individually for every device I own is even WORSE! In countries such as Australia where everyone has metered internet, this could literally cost someone money. The attitude of assuming free and easy bandwidth for everyone is … well, arrogant.

So what am I going to DO about it? Since I just bought an iPad 2, I think I already voted with my wallet – and I will keep updating as needed. But it just highlights the post-PC problem Apple has – my new Android phone (Droid Pro) had an update recently and it downloaded and updated without hassle. I didn’t even need to plug in my charger! Same for the Palm Pixi – massive OS update, done OTA with no hassle. But for Apple, the tiniest update needs to be 600+MB and require you to tether to your PC. Unacceptable.

What do you think?

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!