Apple really wants you to subscribe to things. Want to read a magazine in a new, technologically savvy way? Subscribe to Apple News+. Want to enjoy the full, rich musical experience of owning an Apple HomePod? You have to use Apple Music to do that. Hearing great things about that show starring Chris Evans? Shell out to Apple TV+, please.
Of course, Apple is not the only company doing this. There are way too many TV and movie subscription services out there; if you want to back up the photos of your cherished memories taken with your mobile device, you’ll need to pay one of the cloud services (iCloud, Google Drive, whatever) money on a monthly basis. When we live in a country no longer focused on manufacturing things. We must subscribe to the idea of a service based economy. Because after all, the American economy is more important than anything else. Its value even surpasses that of human life.
The kicker of these subscription storage and consumption services is lock-in, and no one is really better at lock-in than Apple. The thing is, it’s not really practical to live in one ecosystem anymore. How long before we get to a point where I can’t call my family back East unless they’re using an iPhone? What if she didn’t have an iDevice? We’d have to move to another service. Another subscription please, thank you.
This week I’ve been reevaluating all of our digital subscriptions and ways we access the connected world. I’ve finally admitted that Apple’s HomeKit (for home automation) is a mess. And if I were to admit to buyer’s remorse over an Apple product, it would be the Apple HomePod. While I know Apple is focused on security with HomeKit, I’m not a fan of the walled garden built around HomePod. We are a Spotify family (another monthly subscription). I also pay for an Apple Music subscription so I have full functionality of the HomePods. Except Siri goes brain dead WAY too often on the HomePods, so I have an Amazon Echo Dot with Alexa sitting in the same room as the HomePod. So when Siri doesn’t know the temperature outside or has forgotten what room she is in, I can ask Alexa the same thing and she’ll respond in a saner fashion 95% of the time.
I’m slowly unsubscribing (again) from the idea that one technology company can provide everything we need for any enjoyable computing experience.
In the meanwhile, I have a HomePod listed for sale on Swappa.