Ed Bott gets all picky on Apple

apple_strudel I want to be clear here – I have the utmost respect for Ed Bott and I consider him to be one of the best authors around writing about Microsoft Windows. I have his great book for Vista and will be getting his soon to be published tome on Windows 7. However sometimes I think he gets just a little too picky over some of the things Apple does.

Case in point is his post today about Apple’s Software Update and how he thinks that they are using it to push their software on to people without permission. Now as he tells it the only reason he even see the program is because he installed Bootcamp on his Mac Mini so he could use Windows 7 on it. So when he launched Windows 7 this morning he was faced with the Apple Software Update dialog telling him that there is new software available from Apple – just as you see here:


Ed points out in his post:

Under the Updates heading, Apple says I need the iPhone Configuration Utility. Oh really? Why, for heaven’s sake? I’ve never plugged an iPhone (or an iPod or any other Apple-branded hardware) into this computer. I have absolutely no need for this program. It will do nothing except take up disk space and memory and potentially represent a vector for security issues.

And yet Apple is telling me, for some reason, that I need to install this “update.”

They’ve also conveniently selected some additional software for me in the form of QuickTime and iTunes, which is 137.5 MB of compressed installers that expands to well over 200MB of disk space when installed. If I click the Install button, all of a sudden I have a pile of software I don’t want or need, including the Bonjour network service.

Granted in the past Apple got a lot of flack for automatically enabling all the items in the update dialog (and it looks like they haven’t learned anything from that little firestorm) but other than the auto enabled items in the list I’m sorry Ed but I think you’re getting a little carried away here.

I have no problem with any software maker – operating system or otherwise – letting me know that updates are available. In the case of companies like Microsoft, even though they would get smacked hard if they did something like this, or Apple letting me know that they have new products available.

Where they went wrong in my opinion was by auto-enabling things like the iPhone Configuration Utility, Quicktime, and iTunes. Given the typical habit of computer users to just click okay this could see unwanted software being installed. I can understand what Ed is suggesting when he says

A program called Apple Software Update should do what it says andupdate Apple software. It shouldn’t push new programs on users. Not without getting their consent first.

However how is the utility suppose to get your consent if it doesn’t run in the first place. Perhaps the problem here is really one of wording. Would it make a difference Ed if it was called “Software Notification Service”?

Perhaps Ed it’s time for a coffee break and maybe an apple strudel?


  1. Name
    27/09/09 at 17:41

    Then have the update UNCHECKED.

    It's that simple.

  2. Name
    27/09/09 at 18:07
  3. 27/09/09 at 18:49

    Actually, no it is not that simple. I DON'T own an iPhone, therefore they should even be offering in their 'update' app or whatever you wish to call it. I DON'T want Bonjour either. I use Safari for Windows and iTunes and NOTHING else. Don't tell me 'its that simple'. Ed is 100% correct on this.

  4. Name
    27/09/09 at 21:20

    Geez… just go to System Preferneces/Software Update and uncheck “Check For Updates”.

    Its that simple… but then again you're a windohs idiot.

  5. Name
    27/09/09 at 21:23


  6. 27/09/09 at 21:24

    hey! .. no need to get insulting. If you can't express your opinion intelligently and at least some modicum (if you know that that means anyway) of quality sarcasm then save the effort for one of your Apple message boards where they might enjoy that kind of thing.

  7. 27/09/09 at 21:32

    Who let the loose screw loose in the comments ?

  8. geogray
    27/09/09 at 22:31

    Sorry, Mr. Hodson, I should have refrained from posting my comment. The public forums on pretty much all sites have degenerated to the point that intelligent conversation is a thing of the past. And when it comes to certain subjects, such as anything that might be perceived as negative toward Apple, gets reactions such as those from the person who could not spell Windows correctly…and they called me an idiot. For the record, you cannot simply 'uncheck' anything where he was suggesting since the software update does not show up in the Windows control panel. And disabling the application would defeat its purpose.
    Anyway, my apologies to you for stirring the pot.

  9. 27/09/09 at 22:41

    Hang on :) don't apologize for posting a valid comment that is expressed in a calm and reasonable way. I appreciate that people can get a little heated – hell I'm guilty of that but that doesn't mean that blatant insulting of other commenter's is tolerated – if only here. I like it when people stir the pot but with the knowledge to back up what they are saying which you obviously can. I look forward to any comments you wish to make here ….

  10. Sean
    28/09/09 at 6:35

    Good grief. Just hit “quite” and move on with your day.

    How trivial can this be? If this is the best Ed can come up with, he desperately needs a life. At least I don't have to install security updates daily like Windoze.