Why I Decided Against Apple From Jump

It wasn’t so long ago (ok, it was a long time ago) that I was a hardcore Linux haxz0r spending 24 hrs/day on IRC with a bunch of other geeks talking about coding and other random geekery. I remember Slashdot was king and Gmail still needed an invite (which I had). I used Linux exclusively up until a few years ago, even through the software requirements at Georgia Tech. Obviously, I have a different mindset than most consumers and even other so-called geeks.

I’ll start with my Sidekick II. I loved that phone to death. I could text on it like a madman, annoying the heck out of my soon-to-be gf, and even had this slick one-handed-flip-in-the-air move I used to do to open it up. I remember wanting to develop software for it, but the process being difficult. I also remember wanting to hack it somehow, but that was also a challenge.

Next thing I know, I’m on Windows Mobile and me and soon-to-be are an item. I ran through a T-Mobile MDA and two Dashes. It was Windows, but it was flexible. Things weren’t locked down like the Sidekick and I learned a lot of random hackery, tips, and tricks from sites like XDA Developers.

Somewhere in this process, Mac OS became *nix and the iPod/iPhone came along. They were in my peripherals because I already knew what they entailed: Lock In. I’d already experienced the disappointment of having an awesome piece of hardware with severe software limitations and I wasn’t going back. Hell, you can’t even run iTunes on Linux.

These days, I do run Windows, but that’s because I’ve become lazy. The computer I used primarily for years is still operational, but I rarely power it on (abit bp6 with dual celeron 366mhz processors oc’d to 550….it’s very loud). 99% of the time, I’m using my trusty Chrome Web Browser to get stuff done, so the underlying OS has become secondary.

My mobile device of choice is an Android and gf has become wifey. The Evo 4G, to be exact. What a happy coincidence that the OS I grew up with ends up running my mobile device about a decade later. I can pretty much do whatever the hell I want with this thing. If there is something it doesn’t do, I can *make* it do so or find someone else who’s already done the work.

Things are not so with iPhone and iOS. I ran into someone who was switching from Android to a Verizon iPhone the other day. He’s a horrible speller and typist (possibly illiterate) and relied heavily on Google Voice Actions to get things done efficiently. Of course, there is no such thing on iOS because Steve Jobs won’t let you install alternate keyboards or otherwise duplicate any of the default Apple applications. Why? Who the hell knows.

More recently, Apple has instituted a subscription plan for apps residing within its App Store. Basically, Apple wants a 30% cut of any revenue generated when customers sign up for a subscription service like Netflix or Hulu Plus via an iOS app. Apple has even blocked these service providers from offering incentives for customers to sign-up with them directly, saying they must offer the same deals to customers via the app that they offer on their sites. Seems a little overreaching and greedy to me.

Oh, so you want to ditch Apple? Yeah, good luck with that. It’s like breaking up a long-term relationship with a needy person. While you’re trying to move on, they keep popping up. Also, you realize you’ve come away with only a fraction of your movies and music.

Am I an Apple hater? Not really. I think they offer an experience that many consumers need. They make quality hardware and software. While I’ve decided to make a lifetime commitment to my wife, I’m not ready to be tied up technologically and financially to a company. Me and Android are still having fun and feeling each other out. Apple seems more intent on getting access to my bank accounts, telling me how to dress, and redecorating my bachelor pad.

  • Mike

    To some extent I agree with what you’re saying. But for those of useho have embraced Apple’s way of doing business, I don’t think your giving us much credit.
    And so what if apple is taking 30% ofsubscriptiobs? If the magazine doesn’t like it, they don’t have to use Apple as a distributor. They continue to do so, because apple has the best distribution method so far (at least, the publishers think so). Anyways, apple needs to make money for the service they provide. Apple provides the delivery method, I think apple provides the storage and bandwidth, as well as the payment processors. And it’s better for the customer to go through one portal to pay for everything than to go through this magazine publishers portal and that magazine publishers portal, sometimes with different authentication information.
    FYI: http://atmac.org/iphone-voice-commands all the iPhone voice commands you need (hopefully).
    Mike Anderson
    http://mandersoconsulting.com 🙂

  • Not trying to dis anyone who likes Apple’s setup, but it’s just not for me. I want my stuff to be my stuff with no strings attached. I want to be able to put stuff on my device and transfer it between computers. I don’t need Apple threatening to erase my music library because I hooked my phone up at a different location 🙂

    As for the the subscription model, it works just fine for publications. They do gain a benefit from being distributed via Apple since they have no such mechanism of their own, but it’s different for other types of companies.

    Netflix and Hulu, for instance, are different types of businesses that probably won’t gain the same benefits as a magazine or news paper…which pretty much has no other method of distribution besides iTunes.

    As far as Voice Control on the iPhone. Yes, you can tell it to do stuff like play music or dial a number, but can you tell it to send a text message? Compose an email? Update your Twitter status? That’s a different feature entirely.

  • http://www.tightwind.net/2011/02/stupid-or-brilliantly-stupid – A good argument against Apple’s 30% cut. I agree with his Brilliantly stupid argument, that they’ll probably go down in the future.
    Regarding the voice control, that’s a good point, and I don’t think there’s a function on the iPhone to compose an email, though Dragon Dictation fills the “app for that” hole.