Why I hate Apple (but own an iPhone)
I can't stand Apple. Why then am I so happy to run back to them, throw them my money, and give myself to bondage to AT&T for another two years just so I can use an iPhone again?
Two years ago, I was ecstatic to liberate myself from Apple and venture out into other mobile OS's. I gleefully sent my iPhone to a reseller for $150, figuring I'd never see the Apple boot logo come out of my pocket again. Yet here I am, smiling at my new, shiny iPhone after owning multiple Lumia's with Windows, and spending one year with Android. After two years of saying "I hate this piece of crap" while holding some other device, I am finally at peace with my phone again.
First the hate.
This has got to be the absolute worst piece of software that is so widely adopted today. It's incredibly slow, uses loads of RAM, and takes forever to boot up. It bogs down the fastest computers, auto-assigns itself to all sorts of media file types, and runs scripts when booting the OS. Few things are more frustrating than double-clicking an mp3 expecting near instant playback, and then seeing the iTunes logo...for the next 5 minutes.
Maybe those of us storing our Gigabytes of music on SSD's don't have this issue. I spent a weekend drilling through my walls with 30-foot drill bits to hard-wire the house and install a NAS. All my music is there. Booting iTunes takes a year while it plows through thousands of songs, making sure each one is where iTunes thinks it should be, and that I have the dam right to listen to it. In the time iTunes boots and figures itself out, I could make a new custom playlist and be several songs deep with Winamp....which is over a decade old.
Syncing is another nightmare. Why did everything just get erased off my phone, and why did Hello Kitty and Toca Boca just get installed? What if I don't want my 6-year-old to have her own iTunes account? Why do I need to go to Google and search for the default location for my videos and pictures? Why did pictures from last year just load themselves onto my phone when I'm trying to offload everything? I don't WANT to uncheck every freaking picture in the folder! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH DRAG AND DROP? I have spent hours being angry at this awful piece of software.
In fact, between myself, my wife and four kids, we own no less than 8 iDevices in the house. Despite that, I absolutely refuse to install iTunes on any of our machines. I have just come to the decision that if I want to use a device as an mp3 player, it's not going to be an iDevice. It's either an old Sandisk mp3 Player, or my old Android phone that sits in my glove box, and gets used for nothing else. Pandora. Fine. But none of my mp3's.
Yet I still love my iPhone.
2) Apple's Sandbox
I have always loved customizing my electronics. From the desktop of my Windows 98 machine back in college, to the multiple modified consoles in my man-cave, I love hacking my electronics. In the past, I have been willing to risk many expensive devices, soldering gun in hand, just to see if I could unlock it. Even if I never used the thing to play pirated games, or do what most of the community did, I just liked to make it look and behave the way I wanted it to.
I jailbroke several iDevices, and loaded them up with custom ringtones, custom boot logos, custom icons, color schemes and themes, custom unlock sounds and swipes. I don't want to be homogenized like everybody else. I want it to be MY phone, not Apple's phone that I'm borrowing.
Apple's philosophy seems to be "Trust us. We know what you want. We know what you need, and what you don't need....and no, you can't change that...or that." It drives me nuts. As the "computer genius" in the family (not saying much when much of my family is cro-magnon), I frequently get tech questions. Whenever people ask if they should buy Apple, I tell them that Apple is great for many people, as long as you like Apple's sandbox. Numbers show that a whole heck of a lot of people like that sandbox. But I hate it. I don't want to lose my warranty because I don't like the way my phone sounds when I unlock it.
Yet I still love my iPhone.
3) Apple Missionaries
Some call them fanboys. Apple fanatics are more like Missionaries spreading the Gospel of products and services. My buddy's wife sends out Christmas cards every year, and talks about how the whole thing was typed on an "infinitely superior Mac." My brother's wife (whose IQ has got to be in the high teens) has an Apple logo on the back of her SUV, and constantly talks about why she ONLY uses Apple products. Countless other mommy-bloggers, technocrats, and high-schoolers are signed up to preach. They have successfully recruited everybody from the smartest people in academics to the biggest morons in the streets. People from all walks of life happily lift their noses high and scoff at those poor souls who have not accepted the Truth of Apple.
Every big company has its fanboys. Most fanboys will engage in a conversation only when provoked. Apple missionaries get tatoos on their ankles, patches on their backpacks, and sickening stickers on their car depicting families of Apple-headed people. They don't wait for engagement. They actively preach. Just take a PC into a Starbucks and start a stop watch. Eventually, somebody will tell you that you shouldn't be using that machine.
"No, good brother. You need an Apple. Only then will your soul be filled with the Light of the Everlasting Technological Enlightenment."
It's sickened me to the point where I am embarrassed to pull this smooth, black, sleek phone out of my pocket for others to see.
Yet I still love my iPhone.
4) Apple's Status Symbol
This is somewhat in line with point number 3. I just don't like the cultural phenomenon around Apple products. When I think of Apple, I think of smug intellectuals. I think of Birkenstocks, fresh-ground coffee, Wall-street occupiers, and hippies living in trees. I see people with their fists raised attacking big business while paying tribute to one of the biggest, most powerful and wealthy companies in the world.
Apple is sickeningly trendy. Despite being a money-hungry whore (just like all businesses--and I'm not against that), they have somehow convinced everybody that they are hip, cool, and out to help the little guy. They wouldn't dare put profits first. No sir. Only the bad guys do that. Only Microsoft does that.
I've never been one for trends. As a kid, I did my best NOT to wear clothes, listen to music, or use language that was the current trend. I liked Metallica. A lot. Then, one day when I was in high school, I heard "Enter Sandman" play on KIIS FM. While I had to admit I still liked some tracks on that album, it never held the esteem in my eyes that their older albums did. When my straight-laced, straight-A, accelerated-program cousin started playing Metallica's Black Album on the way to Swim practice in the morning, I threw it away.
Apple is KIIS FM. They are Starbucks, Hollywood, Facebook, Selfies, and Priuses. Apple is Miley Cyrus, Ryan Seacrest, Beyonce, and the Kardashians. It makes me ashamed to use their products.
Yet I still love my iPhone.
1) The App Store
I love the App Store. Even if I'm not playing anything on my phone now, no other platform comes close to having the amount of entertainment that the App store has. Perhaps it is telling that the main reason I love my iPhone is because all of the software created by people other than Apple. However, Apple is the architect of the platform, and deserves credit for it. Whether the best apps are there because Apple was first to market with such a widely-accepted platform, or because they are the most developer friently, or whatever. It doesn't matter. If I want to be entertained by a cool app, game, or utility, chances are it's on the app store, and it's there first.
Other platforms have growing software communities, but Apple's App store is still King. On top of that, while other platforms may have similar games, unless they are direct ports, the artists behind App store apps do a much better job of making cool-looking stuff. This was the main reason I could not get behind a Windows Phone. I so badly wanted Windows Phone to work. As an xbox Live user, and a hobbyist c# developer, I was excited to play around with it. I honestly liked the email interface much better, and felt it was a better work device. However, when it came down to wasting time, I was much more happy to waste it with an iPhone.
2) The most intuitive interface
Other interfaces are decent. Many of them have come a long way. Apple's is the simplest, and the easiest to use with one hand. It is telling when I purchased my 3-year-old an iPod for Christmas last year, and didn't even have to teach her how to use it. She just picked it up, and started playing with it. And she's not smart. She's three. Like Bill Cosby said of all children, she too is "brain damaged."
Android frustrated me for this reason. My Android device ran stock Jelly Bean. Whether the icons were too close together, or the interface required one more tap than I was expecting, I was constantly making the wrong thing happen. Often I would try to call somebody, only to have the Video Call interface show up. Or I could clear my email inbox of all the junkmail, and for some reason Android would re-download all the junkmail again. I got to the point where it was easier to flip through the emails so they stayed on the device. I found that if I had enough emails in the inbox, it wouldn't spontaneously download everything again. Other times, my keyboard, ringtone, or some other setting would spontaneously change. Then I would have to ask Google where this setting was buried deep in the menu system to get things right again. I got so tired of it, I stopped trying. For months, my phone only vibrated on text, but dinged at me whenever an email came through...even though I wanted the exact opposite to happen.
Apple's interface is intuitive. Every time I use it, the phone does what I am expecting it to do. I'm sure much of the issue with Android was user error. But in the end, that led to a more unsatisfying experience.
3) The most complete feature set out of the box
You don't need to download an app to manage your podcasts. You don't need to search for a tracker, a video editor, an image editor, or many of the things that other os's are missing. You know exactly what you are going to get from the camera. Most of it works, and it works well. I think that's what it really comes down to in the end. It does exactly what you expect it to do, and has what you would expect such a device to have. Out of the box.
I hate Apple. Hate them down to the core (pun intended). But here I am as a card-carrying member of the cult. Happily using their sandboxed, un-syncable, trendy-as-hell, little proselytizing device. I can't play mp3's on it, can't load my stored moves on it, haven't taken the time to learn how to program on it, and haven't tried to get my pictures or home videos off it. But I love it.
Just don't tell anyone.