Apple is a great company with excellent products, and I am a loyal customer. One main criticism would be the lucrative monopoly Apple has in changing specialized video outputs of new products every few years.
iPod Video Out: Earlier versions of the video iPod allowed for many brands of adapter cables to connect and watch videos on a TV. In 2007, Apple locked the TV Out feature of video-capable iPods, preventing users from outputting iPod content to their TV sets with former adapter cables. Customers are now limited to 2 iPod video adapter cables for $50.00 thru Apple which carry the necessary computer chip. In 2008, Apple locked the charging function of new iPod models, preventing users from being able to charge without an Apple brand cable or docking station.
MacBook Video Out: Apple laptops formerly provided several video output options. As of 2009, all new MacBooks provide only the Mini DisplayPort video output. This is profitable for Apple as most folks will purchase adapters directly thru the company. Unfortunately, Apple only provides 2 video adapters for MacBooks at this point (VGA or DVI). The TV adapter cable only works with HDTV and will not work with older technology. This will encourage most folks to eventually upgrade to HDTV.
I contacted Apple Customer care to see if the company will provide any other video adapter options for the Mini DisplayPort in the future, but there is no news at this point. As for blogs and online forums concerning Apple video outputs, there seems to be some disagreement on what’s going on out there. It usually takes time for 3rd party companies to catch up with new technology.
I explored online and came upon some great options. The sites below offer more options than Apple currently for adapters/cables and at lower prices.
As for charging newer iPods, check out: http://www.handhelditems.com/ipod-touch-apple-ipod-touch-chargers-c-4_5289_5314.html
For Mini DisplayPort Video Output to an older TV (RCA inputs), you will need the following 2 items:
Mini DisplayPort to VGA Female Adapter Cable for $12.12.
VideoSecu PC Laptop Mac Computor to TV Presentation Converter, VGA to Video VGA2TV 1L7 for $18.89 (unit requires a USB Power Adapter).
For Mini DisplayPort Video Output to HDTV, you will need the following 2 items:
PTC Premium Mini-DisplayPort Male to DVI Female Adapter Cable for $6.95.
DVI to HDMI Cable 6ft Male-Male for $1.99.
I hope this is helpful to you. Best regards.