You know, I was working on PCs before the IBM PC was released. Yeah, programming, that sort of geeky stuff. So I’ve seen machines come and go. For the record, the first IBM PC was a heap of rubbish. Four colour graphics? 360Kb floppy drive? It was horrible – but it was IBM, so many much better built, better performing computers, went extinct.
But IBM improved. The 286 was a leap ahead of the 186, then the 386, 486… But they all had that clutzy press-the-keys-in-the-right-order interface, and the operating system restrictions on memory.
And then Apple released the very first Macintosh.
Its operating system was the forerunner of what we now call Windows, albeit with a dinky little black and white screen. What it did so much better than Microsoft was graphics. And that has remained its major strength. There was a reason why most advertising agencies used Macs.
But Apple nearly went bust. Why? Because they insisted on the integrity of their product. You couldn’t buy a cheapy printer to output your wonderful diagrams. It had to be an (expensive) Apple printer, which didn’t work with your non-Apple machines. And if you wanted to share your great Mac spreadsheet with the rest of the Microsoft users in the office? Um…
It has always seemed deliciously ironic to me that Microsoft ended up rescuing Apple. There’s no doubt the MS users gained a great deal from the exchange, but Apple was also forced to recognise that forcing their ‘standards’ on folk isn’t a great marketing ploy; not when you’re competing with a company that will interface with anything.
I’ve always admired the Apple operating system. Easy, intuitive, no background tweaking necessary. Not like MS with its constant updates to its operating systems. Remember Vista? And Windows 4? Not to mention its non-standard program interfaces. You’d expect the programs in the MS Office suite to work in the same way. That was a silly expectation, wasn’t it?
So after my last desktop computer died, I took the plunge and went Mac. This will be my last Mac, and I will never buy another iPhone.
Apple does not seem to have learned that restricting peoples’ use of their devices is a major turn-off. To use iTunes for music, you have to have one library on a computer. From there, you synch to your mobile devices. But you can’t copy from the ipod to the computer. You can only do a backup, which isn’t the same thing. My hard drive failed, I didn’t have a backup of my iTunes library, so I wanted to restore from the ipod to the new hard drive. Nope.
Apple seems to have picked up a few bad habits from Microsoft. I updated the Mac’s OS from Snow Leopard (who makes up these stupid names? Still, it’s better than Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich) to Mavericks. I’ve already blogged about that. Why do they fix things that aren’t broken?
A few days ago my iPhone’s battery died. I couldn’t get a new battery (phone is too old), so I bought a new phone – a Samsung. I wanted to retain the contacts from my iPhone so (with the phone plugged in via the charger) I looked for the control to save my contacts on the SIM card. Uh-uh. Can’t be done (yes, I know I could have downloaded a third party app – I shouldn’t f***ing have to). It’s possible on other phones, like Android.
The fiasco with the phone was the final straw.
I’m sick of jumping through hoops to make the Mac talk to the various MS machines in my home. Yes, I know Microsoft has its own three ring circus – but it’s a circus I know, where I know what I can tweak, where I can lift up the hood and fiddle with the carburettor. (How’s that for mixing metaphors?)
So… goodbye, Apple. Good luck with your projects. I wish I could say it’s been nice.