Hi! My name is Marcus, but online, I tend to go by the name MajorLinux. After today, I don’t know if I can keep that alias anymore.
Over the past week, I’ve been diving head first into all things Apple. Of course, we already had some players here like the iPad Pro and Apple Watch, but others were being replaced. I had sent my old MacBook Pro in to be traded in towards the purchase of a new one and I was upgrading my iPhone X to the new iPhone 11 Pro.
This had some unintended side effects. While I was in the process of upgrading, my sister stated she wanted to get an Apple Watch and was looking at the Series 3 that had just been discounted. Seeing as that’s the one I already owned and was looking to upgrade to the always-on display of the Series 5, I picked one up and gave my sister my old watch.
This was also during a time when I am participating in a wellness program for my job and they reward you with actual money to go towards items and gift cards. I was eyeing a pair of AirPods that were up for grabs, but because I was updating everything else, I cashed out early and picked them up as well.
At this point, I became ALL APPLE EVERYTHING!
Some might see this as a problem and, objectively, I would, too. However, given the journey I had taken to this point, I feel that it’s reached it’s logical conclusion.
But here’s how I’ve come to terms with my decision to wall myself in.
I switched over the iPhone in 2017 with the iPhone 7 Plus. Before then, I was rocking a Nexus 6P which came with giant baggage. I was a diehard Android fan because of it’s openness. You can do any and everything you wanted to do on Android. It was basically Linux on a phone (not really).
After a while, I started having issues with the software. This wasn’t Android’s fault. It was 99.9% mine. Because I had the freedom to tinker, I did. I messed things up. Just because you have the freedom to do something doesn’t mean you should, you know.
Ultimately, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the choice between having voicemail and VoLTE (Voice over LTE). I left from work that day and drove to a Verizon store where I promptly upgrade my phone to an iPhone 7 Plus.
There were a lot of things considered before, during and after the switch.
First, I was tired of fixing my own stuff. While I do love to tinker and break things to fix them so I can see how they work, it was much more of a pain with Android. While I may compare Android to Linux, it isn’t as open where I can diagnose an issue and fix it by looking through logs. Also, having to fix something that you need to work reliably, especially with me being a new dad, having to constantly reboot my phone wasn’t going to fly. At least with Apple and the iPhone, I could take my device to an Apple Store and have someone super knowledgeable fix my issue.
But even going to the Apple Store for support is few and far in between. That’s because of it’s closed nature. It allows me to stay focused. I’m not poking or prodding to get my phone to do something that it honestly shouldn’t be doing. While it is cool to run a website from my phone, exposing it to the open web may not be the best thing to do. The fact that there is something to tell me “no”, it keeps me from putting myself in a bad situation later on. Not to mention that the experience will be consistent, not only from day to day, but nearly from device to device.
Then, there is the hardware design. This specific to the iPhones since iPhone X. I believe that Apple should have waited to see what was going to happen with full screen display technologies. However, hindsight is 20/20. I feel like they did what they had to do to get a very sleek and futuristic look to set themselves apart and it worked. When Apple announced the iPhone X in 2017, it made me want to quickly abandon the phone I just got 5 months prior to get the new one. Now, while much hasn’t changed and screen technologies from other mobile manufactures have gotten better, there are other reasons why I stayed with iPhone which I’ll get into later.
Then, there are the cameras. At the time, the iPhone had some of the best cameras you could get in a smartphone. Of course, over time, Samsung, Google, OnePlus, and Huawei all came through with great cameras. But it still wasn’t enough to switch.
The reasons for picking up an Apple Watch is a little bit simpler.
When I was rolling with Android, I fell in love with smartwatches and was rocking a Moto 360 (1st then 2nd gen). However, when I switched to iPhone, the feature set for Android Wear was very limited on iOS and I missed them.
So I moved to Apple Watch to get those features back.
Before all of this began, I was able to get an iPad Mini 2 on sale back in 2015. This is what started it all as the very next week, I helped my wife go from Android (she was using a Motorola Droid RAZR) to the iPhone 6.
I had been using it off and on over the past few years and was starting to neglect it for more powerful equipment including the iPhone.
Then an opportunity appeared which granted me the ability to upgrade my iPad. As my laptop was giving out and my iPad Mini 2 was struggling to keep up, I needed something that I thought would be a perfect middle ground.
That’s when I settled on the iPad Pro. I won’t go into much detail here, but would recommend that you read the review.
A few short months, I started going back to school to get my degree and was having a hard time connecting to the wireless network on my Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro. I looked around and noticed that there was another student on a laptop who appeared to be thoroughly enjoying the Internet. It just so happened to be using a MacBook Pro. I asked him how his connection to the network was and said it was rock solid. So, after class and work, I took a drive over the Apple Store and purchased a MacBook Pro of my very own.
Having never used a modern Mac before, it didn’t take much to learn some of the quirks of the new OS. It had a Linux-type feel to it seeing as that Darwin is a Unix-like operating system. It felt like I was at home. A more expensive home with better appliance, but home nonetheless.
Before picking up the AirPods, I was rocking the PowerBeats3. What I love about those is that it was packing the Apple W1 chip in them. This allowed nearly seamless pairing with my iPhone. Once that was done, it allowed me to use them on any iOS and macOS device that I was signed into. There was no need to pair them.
I then upgraded to the second generation AirPods that were powered by the H1 chip. They did the same thing as the W1, but with improved Bluetooth connectivity, battery life, and the ability to say “Hey, Siri”.
Individually, they’ve helped me out in many different ways. Together, however, they’ve been able to make my life a bit easier.
The biggest thing is the continuity between apps. Handoff, as it’s called here, has allowed me to view the same sites on no matter what device I’m on. It has allowed me to send messages and make and receive calls regardless of the device.
Another common thread between these devices is that the hardware and software are tightly integrated. New hardware features aside, with each version of a device’s OS, most of the features being rolled out are on an OS level are available on a myriad of devices. Unlike Android, I can be certain that my iPhone and iPad will continue to see updates for years. And, unlike Windows, I can be sure that what I’m installing on my Mac will work or require special drivers in order to operate.
Then there’s support. It’s really simple. If my stuff breaks, no matter which device, I have a dedicated place to go to when I need them fixed. I don’t have to worry about chasing down an issue. I just make an appointment and go.
All the reasons are great, but…
…there is merit for not going this route.
The main one is VERY obvious. The cost! While I got my iPhone and iPad Pro through my carrier, my Apple Watch via my old MacBook Pro trade-in and my AirPods through my company’s wellness app, this walled garden I built for myself would cost a ton if it wasn’t subsidized in some way. I feel like it’s too much for someone to want to do if it’s something they don’t have to do or don’t want to do it.
Then there is customization and freedom to do what you want with the hardware and software. I am an advocate for free and open source software. While there is FOSS software for macOS (and possibly iOS), the environments themselves are totally locked down. As I mentioned before, I prefer that structure. However, there are places where I’d like to explore and push my systems to the limit of what they are capable of.
Then there’s just overall software support. This is where Windows shines with almost 80% market share between Windows 7 & 10 alone. More often than not, when someone makes an application, they are going to make it for Windows first if not only for Windows. Games are made mostly for Windows even though with Vulkan, we’re seeing more games on macOS and even Linux!
So, why do it?
Remember when I said just because you have the opportunity to do something it doesn’t mean you should?
That holds true here. I didn’t have to do any of this, but I was just curious as to how the actual walled garden worked. After seeing bits and pieces of it working, it’s been nice to get the whole picture. Even TV is included with Apple TV (which I forgot to mention).
But ultimately, it’s about choice. As much as I’ve built up these walls, it doesn’t represent the entire landscape. My daily drivers for desktop (read: laptop) and mobile computer are all Apple based, not everything is run that way.
For gaming and hardware intensive workloads, I have Windows for that. My rig costs about as much as an MacBook Pro and can run circles around it. And because it’s a desktop, it’s easily upgradeable and the parts typically run cheeper on them so I can get more bang for my buck.
And for when I need something to just do what I ask it with little to no intervention from me, I bring in Linux. The site you’re reading this on, the emails I receive, my Plex and DNS servers all run on Linux because they are lightweight, don’t require much resources and I can tuck the systems away and not have to really think about it.
Over that past decade, I learned that there was no need to be loyal to a specific manufacturer or developer or publisher. Everything has its place. Everything can coexist with one another.
But for now, I’m ALL APPLE EVERYTHING!