Apple has built a dedicated tool for deleting its recent ‘gift’ of U2’s Songs of Innocence. The album, which became available for free on iTunes after the iPhone 6 launch event, has since reportedly been downloaded to over 2 million devices.
The problem is that, whether you have chosen to download it or not, it still appears in your music collection on your device and cannot be fully removed. Articles have even cropped up about how to hide the album from your library, but that’s not enough. People, it seems, want to feel like they have control over their own content.
The move is one of the most poorly-received in Apple’s history, inviting mockery in both the public and celebrity community from users and non-users alike. U2 is certainly still a popular band, but they’re not the definition of cutting-edge pop that they once were. This is a comparison that Apple might have been best to avoid.
The Cupertino company is already dealing with claims that it is somehow “catching up” to the competition; an attitude that can only by fuelled by this fundamental misunderstanding of how people want to control their content, and of what music is actually considered relevant by the younger generation.
More pertinently, if there’s one thing Apple doesn’t want to be reinforcing right now it’s the lack of control people have over their devices and their information. After the recent iPhone leaks personal security is obviously at the forefront of people’s minds. If Apple can decide to download things to your device at a whim, what else can it do?
Eventually the controversy will die down and this will all be remembered as another PR misstep in Apple’s history and, with any luck, is not an indication that Apple’s hierarchy is lagging behind the times.
U2 preferences aside, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are still shoe-ins to be hugely popular devices, although the Apple Watch could be a different matter.