By Harry McCracken | Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:03 am
Over at ZDNet, Ed Bott writes about discovering that Apple’s “Software Update” utility recommended he install a piece of software that wasn’t an update, for a product (the iPhone) which he doesn’t own:
So why do I have Apple Software Update running in the first place? Because, when I installed Boot Camp, Apple recommended it to me. Indeed, if there’s an important update to the Apple-provided software I actually chose to install – the Boot Camp services and assorted drivers for Apple’s hardware – I would like to know about it. But there is no scenario under which any of these programs could be considered updates to software I installed, and Apple never asked my permission to offer additional software to me.
I’m willing to accept the possibility that sloppiness rather than sneakiness is at fault here–unlike Apple’s earlier overzealous distribution of Safari to iTunes users, I can’t imagine what benefit the company is deriving from getting a geeky iPhone update onto the machines of folks who don’t own iPhones. But the end result sounds like it’s the same: It’s way too easy to end up with Apple software you don’t want.
If Apple intends to use Apple Software Update as a distribution channel for all-new software, it would behoove it to give the app a new name. And even then, it should be darn careful about pre-selecting checkboxes during the install routine.