Eulogy to my Apple days
|This will be my feeble attempt to blog in English because i want to be one of the voices that probably will never be heard, but at least i will know i did what i could. |
First let me tell you about my history with Apple. In the September of 2005 i was fed up with Windows, and sold my IBM Thinkpad R41 just to buy a mac - 14" iBook to be precise. I had to wait for it to be delivered because you couldn't buy macintosh in a store around these parts of the world back then. It cost me astronomical 920 lats which was probably over a 1400 dollars. It was a big gamble since nobody around had them. All we knew about macs were that they are expensive and shiny. Switching wasn't easy. I was on my own. So... i created a local mac users forum (macforums.lv) in hope that it will atract some local users for exchange of know how. It worked. We exchanged instructions, ideas, troubleshooting and so on and so forth. I grew to love everything Apple immensely. Not only i loved the platform, but i also evangelized to the right and left. And in time i converted at least a hundred of people (i lost count), and they converted even more. And with the help of my close friend who also happened to be the owner of one of the biggest local internet stores, we created a local online store for Apple products (aboluveikals.lv). I was zealous about Apple because of "IT JUST WORKS!". Of course there were limitations and some problems, but usually it was maybe 0.5% of the time, and we knew just the exact remedies for everything. It was the beauty with Apple - you didn't have to guess, you could be bold and say "THIS WILL WORK!". And if you bought into Apple's ecosystem like i did (MacbookPro, Airport Extreme, Airport Express, AppleTV, iPhone, iPad) you knew you could focus on doing your work not fiddling with gear to make it work. I used to say that it is a pure pleasure to see how all my Apple gear sings in unison. IT JUST FREAKIN' WORKED!
And then in the beginning of this year my wife changed jobs and she was forced to use MS Office at her new place which made her Macbook Air 11", 2GB RAM, Core 2 Duo unusable. I had 15", matte, i7 quad core, 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD + 1TB HDD beast of a machine for myself. So i thought i should upgrade her to a newer macbook. I started analyzing the new macbooks and i soon discovered that everything upgradable is soldered to the motherboard and i have to pick the top model if i want it to last. Soooo... I lingered on two models of Macbook Air 13", 4GB, 128GB and 256GB SSD respectively. The difference for the 128GB of SSD was 200euros... Say WHAAAT ? Just recently before that i upgraded my brothers 2009 Macbook Pro 13" with 240GB SSD for like 80euros. No. No. No. No. Apple ! Are you freakin' nuts ? Have you no money ? Are you THAT greedy ? Back in the day we knew Macintosh costs more, but "IT JUST WORKS!". Now i had this gut wrenching realization that it is not the case anymore !
(I ended up giving her my beast of a machine. I just couldn't get over the unfair price. A few months later i sold the 11"MBAir and bought my current 2011 MBAir13" used for mere 350euros.)
So i started to rethink my relationship with Apple.
I can't remember exact point in time when it started, but i know it was after Jobs died. We all pondered the thought "will apple make it without him ? How long will they last on Job's legacy ?"
From this point on i will describe my personal gripes with Apple randomly, because i couldn't be bothered doing research in what order they appeared.
Airport Express and Airport Utility.
One of the first "WTFace?" came with Apple abandoning perfectly working device called Airport Express when they dropped support from Airport Utility. I get it - you move on and leave old devices behind, but not like this - no interface for configuration. Whaaat ? How ? Why ?
The gripe: they just push you to buy new only for profit - no gain for you if your old and trusty AExp still works.
Aperture and other Pro software.
I paid for Aperture. They killed it. That's it.
The gripe: You get what you paid for... wait... no, Apple decides if you get what you paid for.
iTunes to iPhone sync.
With every new iTunes iteration the simple sync between iTunes and iPhone via cable or wifi became more and more unreliable.
The gripe: they push you to iCloud - i love to keep things as simple as i can - i tried the iCloud, it messed up my contacts, photos and that was enough - i do not need it nor want it - leave me alone with my simple wifi sync.
AppleTV and YouTube.
I bought AppleTV (2nd) may years ago and one of the reasons was because i could conveniently watch my YouTube channels from the comfort of my couch. And then all of a sudden - pooofff - it was gone. QUE ?!? How ? Where ? Why ? I don't care ! Give it back !
The gripe: Things can just disappear from Apple connected devices.
Airplay and iOS9.
I did jailbreak my AppleTV, to play videos from a network share - it is more convenient and simple that way. But to my surprise when i caved in and upgraded my old iPhone5 to iOS9 my video Airplay from my phone to my TV was broken. That was one of the few features i loved about my AppleTV - i could stream YouTube (which they took away from AppleTV direct access), i could stream photos, videos and stuff to my big screen with zero configuration. I tried upgrading AppleTV to newer firmware and live without the jailbreak. But the new Airplay protocol (which was supposed to be more stable and such) was totally unreliable. I thought it was my network so i bought used Airport Extreme to make sure i had the best possible scenario (Macbook or iPhone to AppleTV via almighty EXTREME). Kukish! I even connected my AppleTV via long long long long network cable to my Extreme. To no avail.
The gripe: They just change the way things work without a real gain.
These are like POP3 or IMAP for mail only for Calendar and Contacts. Try configuring them. I wish you luck. (I hear somewhere over my OSX10.9 they were broken altogether).
The gripe: They don't give a rat's ass about anything that is outside their ecosystem.
For a few weeks now i am on a cheap and shitty android phone (Coolpad Torino S). I put a Retune app on it (i even donated money to developer before i bought this android phone) - it works with my iTunes instantly ! I don't have to wait on every startup for my connected devices to appear.
The gripe: They think about adding new features more than about improving the existing ones.
Where do i start? Try switching apple devices and you will see. And then try android - you enter your password once on each device and you are all set. And i will not mention how many times i have gotten error message about my password being incorrect while i know it is perfectly correct. (Try on one device - works, try on another - f u, little man, no connecting for you today!)
The gripe: Apple's password request system is chaotic at best.
I don't use it, but a friend of mine regularly gripes about how icloud uploads his ~4000 pictures to icloud... AGAIN!
Forced OSX updates/upgrades.
I have been ios user for a long time. And you know what - every time they boast about how many users have upgraded to their new iOS or OSX i cringe, because they really do force those updates on users. It takes a lot of conscious thought not to upgrade. The updates are constantly nagging you with dialogs until you tired cave in and with the thought "this last ios sucks anyway, let me try this new sssst, maybe a miracle will happen and it will start working fast and reliable?" you upgrade. Only to realize a few minutes later that they screwed you again. Everything becomes even worse, but, hey, you have no choice anymore. You are royally fkt and you know they will do it to you again... and again... and again. The same goes with OSX, but there (at least for now) you can still downgrade. Most of us already know to make a disk clone before doing upgrade to newer OSX. Back in the day it was like christmas. We knew the long wait was totally worth it. We knew that the old mac will be even faster AND better. Not anymore. Just remember how quick was your iPhone5 on iOS6 ! Lucky for me i can still run 10.9 on my 2011 MacbookAir.
The gripe: they push you to planned obsolescence just to force you to buy new device even though the old one should be capable of doing the stuff it did before.
iWorks - Pages, Keynote, Numbers versions.
When it came out i remember how i fell in love with Keynote even though i didn't need it in my everyday workflow. The other two were just a part of it, but still pretty nice. And then the upgrade converted the format to newer and ... the version nightmare started. You never knew if your document will open on the other end... so... let's just save in .doc format to be sure. What's the use then?!?
The gripe: Constant changing of formats which creates unreliability.
I refuse to use 1Password because i don't like my eggs in one third party basket. When i thought about it i figured out how to use Apple's own keychain to store what i need there. But after a while i noticed how it randomly lost my passwords. Why ? How ? I really don't know. All i know i can't rely on it.
The gripe: unreliability is the killer of any feature.
TimeMachine backups to Airport Extreme.
It is now a long time since i have given up on TimeMachine Backups. It worked at first. And i loved how it can do backups in the background - small and quick ones. But then it started to break down more than often. I had to redo the full backup again and again - i tried changing external drives, experimented with different setups. Nop. The backup eventually corrupts and i have to do it again. It all forced me to rearrange my backups to offsite servers.
The gripe: And again what is the use of unreliable technology ?
Handoff. Background refresh. Airdrop. Phone calls via computer.
I won't even go deep with these battery draining pseudo features, that never really worked as they should. Instead of improving on these they...
The gripe: STOP "innovating", START delivering !
It works. On Apple devices. And then there is whatsapp, facebook messenger, and what not that works on each and every sssst under the sun. But noooooo, you are so special !
The gripe: STOP the proprietary madness (leave it to SONY)...
Hardware: Glossy displays.
When we switched from CRT we all were happy not to see our own reflections (even though i AM GORGEOUS!) on the screen we were trying to work on. But no ! Even in Apple publicity images the reflection was portrayed as something very cool (usually diagonally over the screen).
The gripe: Matte screens cost extra. They break the environment and then ask you money to fix it. Whaaat ?
Hardware: New ports and standards every year.
In a box under my bed i have like gazillion dongles for connecting different kinds of apple ports to something usable. Even last week i went to do a presentation and i knew that i have to have the stupid old VGA dongle with me, but due to circumstances i didn't have it on me. So lucky for me i had a PC over there and i had exported my Keynote presentation to HTML. I almost bought into Thunderbolt maddness (so expensive). But a year later i understood, that i was lucky not to do that. And every year they come up with different port. Will they stick to USB-C... I really hope so, but i wouldn't bet on it.
The gripe: My father would wisely advise them to stop wavering like a fart in the wind and stick to a thing. MAKE UP YOUR MIND !
Hardware: Soldered harddrives and RAM.
As i mentioned in the very beginning of this rant this was the turning point for me. For years we knew - pick the best cpu, screen you can afford and when the time comes, you can breath a new life into your mac adding bigger, faster drive or just more RAM. Never was it more real than switching from usual HDD to SSD. And they saw us doing that for cheap. No such luck anymore. They solder everything to the motherboard just to drain your blood when you want to upgrade from 2GB to 4GB of RAM.
The gripe: The richest company in the world has gone absolutely bonkers with GREED! (This should probably be expected appointing CFO to a position of CEO)
I've had it!
Since iPhone 5 with ios6 everything has just gone worse and worse. No more. For a few weeks now i'm on a cheap android (Coolpad Torino S) - i took it from my friend just to get familiar with the dark side. And you know what? I have no reason to return to my 5S. Nada. It does sync my calendars and contacts via carddav and caldav. It does email. It does sync my bookmarks and passwords. It does messaging. It does Flashair, Instagram, Flipboard, and so on and so forth. It even does infrared remote control my TV, AppleTV, Boombox and Bosē. And i can even play my Youtube via Airplay to my old and jailbroken AppleTV - imagine that ! I thought i will play with it, get acquainted with android and come back to my 5S. Even SE doesn't look appealing anymore. I put up my 5S for sale.
Will i become android fan ? I don't think so - they have problems of their own too, but those are not made deliberately.
Will i switch to windows ? No freakin' way.
Will i switch to Linux ? I have dabbled in Linux world. I could do my work on it. But for now i will stick to my 2011 Macbook Air with OSX 10.9 on it as long as it will be possible. More and more exploring crossplatform solutions to be ready to switch when the time comes.
Some part of me still hopes that this backlash (i mean i am not the only one, right?) will break through to them up there in the Apple Bubble, and they will change their ways back to how it was under Job's rule - he made us do things his way, but more often than not it was a good and RELIABLE way of doing things.
When Jobs died, we all asked ourselves how long will his legacy last. I guess we know now. It took them 5 years to screw Apple up. The king is naked. The king is dead. Long live the king.