Speaking of U2, as specified in the press invite, half of the band (the half with funny names) appeared onstage with His Steveness to talk up both the iPod Special Edition and Apple in general, and truth be told, both Bono and The Edge were appreciably eloquent in their praise for iPods, iTunes, and their related technologies. There's nothing like an Irish brogue to lend a touch o' class to a marketing event, is there? Well, except maybe a big, heaping scoop of irony dumped right over the top. Mmmmmm, drippy!
See, it was at the very same event that, as expected, Apple announced a further expansion of Euro iTMS-- to nine more European Union countries: "Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain." After you toss in the original UK, France, and Germany stores, the fact that Apple's calling it the EU iTunes Music Store doesn't seem so wacky... unless you happen to live in an EU country that still isn't supported. Yes, there are still several, including all ten of the "second tier" members like Estonia and Poland. (What, no iTMS Malta?) Apple's got the original EU15 nations pretty well covered, but a few have still been left out in the cold, namely Denmark (undskyld), Sweden (ursäkta), and-- ready for the irony?-- Ireland.
Get it? World's most famous Irish rock band going all gooey onstage about the wonders of digital music distribution and Apple's role therein? Band's own country one of the very few original EU member nations that still can't use the EU iTMS to buy U2 songs? Any of this tickling your irony bone?
Well, we thought it was noteworthy, anyway. Maybe if Apple had invited Abba and... uh... some Danish supergroup onstage as well. (The Raveonettes, perhaps?) So anyway, when can Irishmen, Swedes, and Danes expect to chuck their Euros down the pipe in exchange for iTMSy goodness? Unfortunately, Apple isn't saying, but we're betting it'll be over a month. See, the Canada store wasn't launched at the event, either, but Canadians are still dancing their culture's traditional Merry Jig of Giddy Anticipation (we're told it's sorta like the Bunny Hop, only in the snow and drunk on Molson) because Apple has committed to launching the iTMS in the Great White North sometime next month. And since there was no mention of iTMS Sweden, iTMS Denmark, or even the iTMS of U2's countrymen, we figure those are at least over a month away.
By the way, reports that the iTMS would also make it as far as Japan and Australia at this event were obviously overoptimistic as well, and as far as official Apple word goes, those countries are barely on the radar. But if anything, Japanese and Australians have less of a legitimate gripe than the Irishmen, Danes, and Swedes, since Apple's promise of an October "pan-EU" store obviously still hasn't come to pass. Heck, the UK doesn't even use the Euro, and it's had an iTMS of its own for ages, now.
Not that any of this is Apple's fault, of course-- obviously the more coverage the iTMS has, the better, and Apple's growth is being stalled by licensing hassles from the record companies. Still, Apple said pan-EU in October, and the company will probably bear the brunt of the disgruntlement for not having delivered. Do we sense imminent public rioting in the offing?