Patrick Wilbert, believed to be the last person in the world who understands how iTunes works, passed away yesterday, aged 39, after a stress-related illness. Wilbert had dedicated the last 14 years of his life working out how to get music on and off his iPod via iTunes. He was successful with nearly every version of the app, and there is evidence that he was even able to use iTunes with the Windows operating system.
Wilbert’s knowledge was legendary. He would know, at the drop of a hat, whether a ‘song’ purchased on iTunes would turn up on an iPad connected via Wi-Fi but not plugged into a charger, owned by someone in the same household but registered with a different Apple ID to the person who purchased the ‘song’, and whether it would be able to be played by the Apple TV in the living room as well as on the PC upstairs, whether or not the PC was among the five authorised by the song downloader.
It’s thought he even knew the difference between synching and backing up, but was never able to put it into words.
Wilbert kept himself up to date with changes to DRM law and the iTunes Agreement by employing a team of lawyers at considerable personal cost. But the effort paid off and towards the end of his life, his online iTunes Consultancy started to bring in a steady stream of revenue. Had his life not been snatched from him, he could have looked forward to substantial earnings and a peerage.
A post mortem will reveal the cause of death but it is widely thought that the burden of stress from answering a constant barrage of requests for iTunes support from friends and his young family could have been a contributory factor. The burden was exacerbated when they started to ask him questions about iPhoto, which, with its similarity to iTunes, Wilbert thought he should be able to grasp. But it proved to be an app too far.
He leaves an iPhone 5C, an iPad third generation and approximately 16 iPods.
Boutros (hat-tip Philip Kendall)