I seriously considered buying an iPhone 11 at the very moment that Google announced that its new Pixel 4 smartphone wouldn’t come with an ultra-wide camera.
The reason why I wanted an ultra-wide camera doesn’t matter for this story. All that matters is that I did, and I almost gave up my freedom in tech by almost buying an iPhone 11.
I’ll grant you this – it’s dramatic to say that going to iPhone means giving up my tech freedom. But that’s how I perceive it.
Let me explain:
To make the most of an iPhone, I’d have to use an Apple computer, like a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro. And that’s the source of my problem.
There are plenty of iPhone users who use Windows 10 computers. And there’s absolutely no problem with that. I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong.
But here’s an opinion: If you want to make the most of the iPhone and the large amounts of money you spent on it, your best bet is to use other Apple devices like a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro to complete the ecosystem. Otherwise, your iPhone is just like any other smartphone – a vehicle for apps that takes a few photos sometimes.
That’s how I feel about my old iPad Mini 2, which I got when I was entrenched in Apple’s ecosystem. Without things like iMessage and FaceTime, my iPad Mini 2 is just an expensive screen that plays Netflix videos. I could have bought an Android tablet that costs hundreds less at the time that does exactly the same thing.
With Apple’s stuff, the key differentiator is the ecosystem. Apple devices work so well with each other with little bits and features like AirDrop, iMessage and FaceTime on macOS, unlocking a Mac laptop with an Apple Watch, or auto-pairing and finding lost AirPods.
And then, there are the Apple Stores and the hubs they’ve become as places you can go when you’re not sure about something, or when something goes wrong. I personally don’t actually agree with Apple’s device repair ideology, but at least the Apple Store is something, some physical place that a lot of Apple customers can go to talk to a human being, face to face, in times of confusion and despair. That’s huge. I once had my cracked iPhone 6S Plus screen repaired at an Apple Store for free, out of warranty. I’ll always remember that.
It’s frankly amazing that so many other companies haven’t seen physical locations like the Apple Store as a worthwhile investment. If they did, there would be more Microsoft stores, Google stores, Samsung stores, and so on.
But nay, keep me away from Apple’s temptation.
To me, options are worth more than the magic of Apple’s ecosystem. And if I become enamored with Apple’s ecosystem, I won’t get to experience what else is out there.
- Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
As good as Apple’s iPhones, laptops, and ecosystem are, they don’t always have what I want. I want to have more control over what my devices have and don’t have, especially with something like a laptop that I heavily rely upon. And Apple doesn’t really give me options.
To be accurate, there are plenty of configurations to choose from, whether it’s a laptop with Intel’s Core i5 or i7 processors, whether I want 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and how much storage I want.
But what about things like a good old-fashioned USB port? Or a microSD card slot? Or a 14-inch screen instead of picking between 13 and 15 inches? And if I want a 15-inch laptop, can’t I have one that doesn’t come with its own graphics chip?
Options are what I get when I’m outside of Apple’s lush, walled garden. Should a Windows 10 laptop from company A not have what I want, I’ll look at company B’s offerings. Or company C’s, D’s, E’s, and so on.
Not everyone craves options like I do, in which case, don’t worry about it! Enjoy the ecosystem.
It’s hard to leave the Apple ecosystem, so I shouldn’t walk through Apple’s thinly designed USB-C-only aluminum gates in the first place.
Anyone who’s currently in Apple’s ecosystem, and those who have successfully broken free, can attest that it’s actually kind of hard to leave it.
I managed to escape a few years ago at the expense of missing a few text messages because iMessage wouldn’t let go. In fact, I’m still suffering from my great escape, and certain group texts just don’t work for me.
I also don’t feel the warm security blanket of Apple’s store downtown. Instead, I feel quite alone with my Windows 10 laptop. Ask me right now where I’ll go if my Windows 10 laptop has a problem, and I won’t have an answer. Conversely, almost any Apple device owner will tell you straight away: “the Apple Store.”
Plus, I’m the Android black sheep who forces my iPhone-toting friends and family circles to use WhatsApp instead of iMessage to communicate properly in group messages. I can confidently speak for them and say they don’t want to use WhatsApp. They want to use iMessage.
These are the main stings of switching over to Android and Windows 10. Switching back to Apple’s ecosystem would actually be a relief in many ways. But hey, the other side on Android and Windows 10 is great, even without Apple’s magic ecosystem, and it means I get my options.