The Apple problem…

Ok so the inaugural post I think I’ll need to do on my newly minted blog is why I have such a downer on Apple stuff. There’s no point glossing this over, it’ll be clear whenever I post unless they really pull their socks up and drag their performance out of the hole it’s currently languishing within.

So, the first admission is that I used to be a fervent Apple-Addict. Way back in 2006 I thought I was being clever by adopting the LG Viewty instead of the Apple iPhone 3. The Viewty had, by all reasonable specs, a better camera, processor, bigger screen… I was very happy with it, smug almost, until I used a friends iPhone and I realised how wrong I was. The experience of using the iPhone was just so much beyond what I had that I switched immediately (at great cost). From then I was both addict and apologist – by the end of 2009 I had an iPhone, iPad 2 and a Macbook Pro and would loudly and proudly declare Apples superiority to all and sundry. The thing was, I was right.

The Apple back then was at the top of the smartphone, tablet, personal computing game. It’s products were impeccably made, worked perfectly, and the hardware was always ahead of the competition. Android was a buggy compromised mess, and the handsets running it were plastic abominations, for the most part. If you wanted something that just worked, you bought Apple and reveled in the status it gave you (mainly in your own mind, I’ll admit).

But, things have changed. When I deployed to the Gulf for 7 months in 2012, I decided to give the then new Nexus 7 a try. I couldn’t use my phone, so I got rid of it, and the only connectivity I could use was Wi-Fi so a 7 inch tablet covered all bases admirably. I’m afraid once I’d used that 4th generation of Android, my allegiance switched entirely. That version (uncluttered by hardware manufacturers ideals, such as the then hateful Touchwiz) really made me realise how much iOS was falling behind. Even the build quality of that little tablet was great – it wasn’t beautiful like the iPhone, but it was sturdy and comfortable to hold. I was converted. Not only that, but it was during that time that HTC bought out the M7 version HTC One – a bigger screen, my now favoured Android OS, and Apple like build quality. I sold my iPad, sold my Macbook as pointless and re-found the joys of portable PC gaming with the beautiful ASUS UX series laptop I bought to replace it. I could do more with better machines, for less money, and Apple was left lagging behind.

Which is the point. Apple had the lead, they were trail blazers – the iPhone creation, the instant personal connectivity with the world around us has changed our entire world like nothing else has in the past 100 years. It’s replaced, changed, altered the way we talk, communicate, buy, sell, share our lives, it’s caused a way of life that has literally brought down governments (Arab Spring anyone?). It’s resulted in no small part to someone like Donald Trump being elected to the White House. I cannot overstate how the introduction of the full featured easy to use smartphone has done to the way we run this world. Yeah, other manufacturers got there first but Apple made it work like nobody else and forced the change. It made personal computing a mass-market. But where the hell did their ability to innovate or perfect other companies ideas go?

Now, Apple is comparatively a shell of what it was. It’s a company riding on past glories and the fear of it’s user base for moving to something else. I don’t know a single user who has switched off the Apple system (wrench as it is) who has regretted it. I’m sure they’re out there, but they are the minority. Look at the recent iPhones from the 5 to the 6 to to the 7. Look at the MacBook Pro. Look at the iPad Pro. Nothing, nothing they have instigated in the past 3 years is better than everything else out there, and in fact if you compare them S7 to i7, Pixel XL to i7 Plus, Windows Surface to iPad Pro, Macbook to any number of laptops they come off demonstrably worse. There are always apologists – the old speed test ‘proving’ a smoother user experience is a good example (although that test doesn’t represent any way that a normal person would use a phone in real life), but they’re fading.

I really hope the iPhone 8 is something really special. Then they’d prove they have the Apple magic of old, and I could see them as worthy of the hype – as it is, they aren’t, they are seriously undeserved leaders and it’s frustrating to watch people trapped by fear of change throw thousands of pounds/dollars et al after inferior products based upon a lie of superiority.

Make no mistake – the leaders in the industry now are Samsung, Google and especially (and who knew i’d say this!) Microsoft. Buy a Pixel, buy a Surface, wait and buy an S8 – they’ll all show some full features that you won’t see in an Apple for the next 4 years.

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