Even though I am a geek through and through, and I’m sure that is quite apparent on my blog, I try not to focus too many blog entries purely on technology. Let’s face it, purely technologically themed entries can be boring for the casual reader. But, I need to get something off of my chest.
I am a Mac user. I love all my Macs. We have six of them in the house, along with a small armada of Linux based machines. I abandoned Windows as my primary platform ages ago, mostly because I was sick of anti-virus software slowing my system down and quite frankly because I was bored with the whole XP experience. For the most part I love OS X as a desktop platform. It’s easy to use and it allows me to do great things in a Unix-y sort of way. It’s not as customisable as I’d like it to be but you do what you can do.
I also have two iPods and an iPhone. I have been asked on countless occasions about my iPhone and if I love it. My answer is always “sort of”. I love the concept of my iPhone, a.k.a. having the internet in my pocket, but in some respects moving from my Motorola Razr to my iPhone last year was a step backwards. I can no longer receive multimedia messages from my friends, I can’t send a multimedia message to my friend’s cell phone (I have to send to their e-mail address) and I can’t take video on the iPhone. These key points (to me) were not rectified with the release of the iPhone 2.0 software last week. Am I going to buy the new version of the iPhone? Nope. Am I ever going to buy another iPhone? Nope.
I have also faithfully kept my .Mac account year after year. I occasionally use the e-mail services, though over the past year I’ve been primarily using gMail. I was very excited about the conversion of .Mac to MobileMe. MobileMe promised the nirvana of services – my computers (Mac and PC based, if I had any), my iPhone and the web interface would all be instantly sync’d with one another. Since the launch of MobileMe mid last week, I still can’t get to all parts of the MobileMe service nor does my iPhone sync reliably with my iCal on the web interface. The biggest insult to me is that while Macs (naturally) and PCs can get to the web interface using Firefox or Safari (and Internet Explorer, to some extent), Apple has not given any sort of access to Linux users. None. I can tell Apple that my Linux browser is a Windows browser and it’ll work just fine, so there’s no reason that a Linux computer can’t use MobileMe, they just choose not to have it work. In addition, Linux is not part of the whole “sync scheme”. Even Microsoft is writing a Linux client for their Live Mesh services. This makes me crazy.
Now folks will go on and on about how Apple had a bigger response than anticipated during the MobileMe and iPhone launches. However, MobileMe undoubtedly runs on Xserve and/or Leopard OS X Server. Apple is aggressively going after the Enterprise/business class user market. If Apple’s servers can not hold their own for the company that created them, why on earth would I want to invest in Apple products for my own company’s server needs? When Earl and I purchased new MacBook Pros back in the spring, we paid a premium price for pretty much the same hardware that I could have had for half the price from Dell, HP or Gateway. Granted, I wouldn’t be getting the “Apple experience” via OS X, however, I can come pretty damn close that experience AND have control of my own destiny as it were with Ubuntu Linux and more powerful while less expensive hardware. Why wouldn’t corporations and business users do the same exact thing? If Apple can’t keep their services running on their own hardware and software, why do I think that they would be able to do the same for my business?
Then we have the iPhone launch. Please. As a geek that works in telecommunications, I can tell you that AT&T is acting like their other Baby Bell brethren in coming up with ridiculous pricing, billing and activation procedures. I hear O2 in the UK required Windows Internet Explorer to activate your iPhone with them. I’m not surprised. AT&T and their Baby Bell brothers and other counterparts have tunnel vision: they know one way to do something and if you deviate from that path, even by an inch, you’re screwed. So this whole activation in the store/be iReady for the AT&T visit/etc thing they had going on is no surprise to me. That’s what AT&T does. It’s a shame that Apple had to saddle up so tightly with this company to get their phone out there.
By the way, since upgrading to iPhone 2.0 I now must make most phone calls twice and my reception is about 2/3 of what it was before. Battery life bites the big one. Tips tell me to “turn off my Wi-Fi” and to “turn the brightness all the way down” to save battery life. If I wanted to use my phone in the dark and away from the internet, I would have stayed in the closet years ago.
Am I going to buy another Apple product again? Yes. Will it be a large investment? No. I don’t see a new iPhone in my future, ever. I don’t see a new Mac in my future, ever. My MacBook Pro hardware is not as good as my PowerBook G4 was. Am I going to renew .Mac/MobileMe? Nah. I can get the same services for free or I can make my own server in the cloud. Will I continue to recommend Apple products for casual computer users? Yes I will, because for those that aren’t as technologically savvy, I still feel that Mac is the best way to go.