My son got a new phone recently. A Samsung S9. (UPDATE: Here’s his review.) And it only served to confirm what I’ve been slowly admitting to myself for a long time now: I’m no longer a fan of Apple. In fact, it’s not only that I think others make better products than Apple (which they do). It’s that I actually hate Apple.
This is sad, because I’ve been an Apple champion since I bought my first Mac. It was a IIvx. Paid about three grand for that bad boy, and it was packed with 4 MB of ROM and a spacious 80 MB hard drive. Who could ever use all that space?
I’ve had Macs ever since, like most creatives do, and have loved them. In fact, I’m typing this on my Mid-2015 MacBook Pro, which synchs to my iPhone 6. They’re easy to use, and they’re comfortable and familiar.
But all of that will soon end. It’s been building, as these things typically do, news story by news story, personal experience by personal experience.
I think for me, it started a few years ago. We were camping, and I couldn’t take many pictures because my iPhone kept dying. My buddies didn’t seem to have that problem. I asked one of them why his phone seemed to last so long. He said, “Oh, I just put it in Low Power Mode.”
Whaaa? What the hell is that? Low Power Mode? I’d never heard of such a thing. Apple wouldn’t add that to their phones for another year or two, yet it was standard on my buddy’s Samsung.
This began happening over and over again. I began to get angry that my cutting-edge iPhone always seemed to be at least a year or two behind. Where was the innovation? Was Jobs seriously the only one who cared over there? All those people making all those billions, and no one could do anything but copycat Samsung features? Oh wait, Apple pioneered personalized emojis. Wow. That’s changed the world.
Then Apple started getting arrogant. In a bid to be daring and exciting, they removed the headphone jack. A feature that people actually use. When people complained about it, stunningly tone-deaf Apple said it took courage to remove it. Either that or stupidity.
I have an iPhone 6. It’s the last iPhone with a headphone jack, and the last iPhone I’ll ever buy. Why should I buy a $1700 iPhone that does far less than the $700 Samsung my son just bought?
About that Samsung S9. First of all, he bought the Samsung because he too hates Apple. Apple INTENTIONALLY slowed down his phone with a new update, and it turned his phone into a barely usable dog.
So he bought the S9, and every day for the next few days, my son would tell me about all the exciting new features he discovered (and is still discovering). Amazing stuff like a mode that shrinks the screen so he can more easily negotiate the screen one-handed.
Customizable vibration notifications, both intensity and patterns, which he can then assign to different people.
The fact that the fingerprint reader is located in just the right spot, so as he grabs his phone or pulls it out of his pocket, the phone is already reading his fingerprint, and it’s unlocked by the time he brings it up.
He can set up trusted networks, so the phone won’t require a password whenever he’s connected to a network he knows, like our home network.
He can lay the phone face-down in a meeting, and the edge will silently light up with custom colors if he gets an important text or call, depending on who it is.
He can swipe out from the edge and get a customized set of apps.
It’s like a real person actually used the phone, and decided to put all the features on it that they thought would be useful and cool.
I could go on and on and on.
Now, some of these features are universal Android features rather than Samsung-specific, but who cares? The point is, Apple, in their self-imposed exile in their proprietary universe, is WAAAY behind. And I don’t have faith that they’ll ever catch up. Their hubris is systemic and insurmountable. The price of the new iPhone is evidence of that.
So much for the phones. But it’s not that easy for me to just go out and buy a Samsung phone. I have to switch my entire universe. Right now, I can send iPhone messages on my MacBook, and typing is much easier than texting for me. Plus I get notified on my MacBook when I get iPhone messages.
If I still want that integration between my laptop and my phone, I have to also get a new PC when I get my new phone.
I think I’ve come around to that, too.
We used to all be so envious when the new MacBooks came out. Sleek, powerful, gorgeous and oh-so-easy to use.
But several people I talked to recently agreed that the MacBook I have now is the last good one. The keyboards on the newer ones are like bricks. The function keys have been replaced by a touch bar. How courageous Apple is!
Now, no one looks forward to the new MacBooks. No one brings one proudly into the office where everyone gathers around enviously.
No one cares anymore.
There are plenty of PCs out there that work pretty much the same way. I work in Adobe Creative Suite, and as long as the same key commands work for InDesign and Photoshop (they do), I’m good. My son bought a Razer PC that’s amazing. More powerful, better screen, better keyboard, better everything, for around $500 less than an equivalent MacBook.
I hear Microsoft Office works better on PC too. It keeps crashing my Mac, so anything would be better. Not that I’ll ever like Microsoft software. I can’t tell you how much I hate Word and PowerPoint. The stupidest, most counter-intuitive software ever.
And of course, Chrome kicks Safari’s butt, so I won’t miss Safari.
I could keep writing this post and never stop. This is not a little hiccup here and there by Apple. This is a company who has lost its way. This is a company that has been overcome by arrogance, greed and the inertia of obesity.
Have you ever seen The Man in the Iron Mask?
Okay, the book is almost 200 years old, so if you haven’t read it yet, you probably never will. I guess you could watch the movie. But in the book, the prisoner is the twin brother of the king, and the king imprisoned his own brother. So who you thought was the good guy (the king) was actually the bad guy, and who you thought was the bad guy (the prisoner) was actually the good guy.
That’s how I feel about Apple and the PC universe. I was the hugest Apple fanboy for a long time. I raised my family on Apple. My wife and kids all had Apple products. No more. I never thought I would live to see them become the villain king. It’s like Luke Skywalker and the Resistance have been revealed to be evil, selfish pretenders preying on their dedicated followers, and it’s up to Darth Vader and the Empire to save us all.
It’s been a hard concept to get my mind around. But after all these years, I think I’ve finally summoned up the courage to do so.