Believe it or not, Apple has decided not to accept cash from people buying an iPhone. That's right, your money's no good at an Apple store.Just when I think Apple has finally seen the light, they go and do something so bizarrely anti-user that I'm forced to once again reconsider who's side they're on. Apple won't comment, but apparently the move to accept only credit cards and debit cards comes as a quarter million people have bought iPhones and then not hooked them up to AT&T's service, which costs Apple some $18/month in lost payments from the carrier. (According to Wired, you may still be able to sneak around the ban with a gift card, however!) Customers are also restricted to buying just two iPhones at a time, down from a limit of five.
The idea behind banning folding money is that Apple wants to know who is buying iPhones, so they can make sure the phones aren't unlocked and used on other services.
After writing of Apple's Epic Internal Battle Between Good and Evil, I had been encouraged when the company seemed to relax its iron grip on users and announced it was creating a software development kit to allow third parties to create new applications for the iPhone.
But this latest news is a clear step back toward Big-Brotherhood. Fotunately, it's not universal. According to InformationWeek, it doesn't apply to AT&T stores or to Apple's own Web store -- though it's kinda hard to pay with cash online anyway.
Still, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Heck, I'm not even sure if it's legal, as the dollar bill I'm holding clearly states that it is, "Legal tender for all debts, public and private." Maybe I should add a note: "Except for Apple."