I have been Tweeting a lot of frustrations about Apple and a friend asked why, so here are the details….
I begged my parents for my first computer, which was an Apple. And right before I went to college I worked all summer and saved up my money for my second. Which I immediately regretted since everyone at school had PCs and it seemed all the cool pirated games were made for PC. So I converted to PC until Steve Jobs came back. Not because he came back, but he did three things that I thought were genius. One was the iPod. Right before the iPod came out I bought my first “MP3 player” that was expensive, as big as a pack of cigarettes, and only held 6 songs which you had to play in the order they were loaded on your player. By comparison the iPod held “1,000 songs in your pocket” and the interface was light years ahead. The other thing that really interested me was that the new Apple operating system was based on Free BSD. So UNIX. This was also the time I started getting into open source, so I thought this was a genius move on Jobs part. He was basically harnessing the community for OS development. The last thing was he was selling songs for a dollar. That was the last straw. I was back on board. I loved iTunes. When the iPhone came out, I was an outright fanboy. Visual voicemail. Email (which had not yet become a pain in the ass) right on your phone. And anyone could make apps for the phone. It felt very open.
Lately there are some things Apple is doing that just, frankly, infuriate me. I mean, seriously just gets me worked up. It feels very similar to the things Microsoft was doing that people hated so much back then. I can remember when Windows 95 came out, people were not hating on Microsoft. But it came. And slowly people left because of it. Let me explain a few but they are basically bloat, greed, and closed systems.
You talk to anyone who knows operating systems and the Microsoft of old, and they will talk about the bloat. Case in point: the latest Windows 10 uses 20 gigs of space and the latest Ubuntu uses 5 gigs. OS X El Capitan uses about 13 gigs. That’s a lot. And it will effect performance. Arguably most of those “improvements” are not really improvements. They are just bloat. And that bloat will leave your computer sluggish. So you can try to fight it by not upgrading, but then you run into issues where you have to upgrade some piece of software that is no longer supported on your older OS. Do you know anyone that has had an Apple for more than 3 years without performance problems? I am not saying it can’t be done, but you have to fight issues and that is not how it should be.
It bothers me that Apple’s strategy is for us to upgrade our phone every year. It also bothers me that those phones are artificially below market rate. What I mean by that is, they could never hope to produce that phone if they had to pay everyone at least $15 an hour with benefits. I would rather pay for a more expensive phone that I could keep for a decade at a time. Or more. Cars should not out live computers. And Apple should not use slave labor. They are sitting on hoards of cash and have become one of the largest publicly traded companies. I think at one point the goal was to make the best product out there and that has slowly eroded to having a goal of being wealthy. They went from fighting the establishment to being the establishment.
The last one is just my observation. There used to be a real simple and elegant file system that is typical for open source products. In WordPress, you don’t have to back up the whole thing, just the WP-content directory. Apple OS X started out the same, but has made some minor changes that suck. I wish iTunes was just music. It went from being this simple, perfect music application to….I don’t even know what it is anymore. I know that I do not use it. EVER. It has just become to convoluted. The iPhotos is doing the same thing. I will admit they have opened up the file structure, but I think it is because they realize no one uses iPhoto. I feel like there are so many great photo solutions out there and Apple’s iPhoto is not on the radar. And that is because they had such a closed off system. iCloud was such a cool idea, but it isn’t easy to use. Not as easy as other cloud solutions. That is problematic. But they are making the same mistake with other products, particularly iTV. I am curious about their new iTV, but at this point it is too little too late. This is a problem because Apple (like Microsoft before it) has used this “our products work really well together” strategy by making sure they do not work well with others. So if you start moving to Android for TV, then you might think about your phone. And you are probably not using Safari. Or iTunes. Or iPhoto. So then you start asking yourself why you are paying so much for a laptop when there are things like Raspberry pie and Chromebooks.
Apple has built this house of cards. Honestly, I feel there are a lot of companies out there that are dead, but just don’t know it yet. Technology is rapidly disrupting business. It used to be that if you didn’t like something, you had limited options. But now there are so many options. If Apple doesn’t embrace that, it could end up like Microsoft, Dell, Blackberry, Nokia, IBM, Xerox, Atari, Palm Pilot, or Commodore.