23 September 2012

Dear Apple: It’s not me, it’s you

Apple is asking for another $707m in damages from Samsung, in addition to the $1b they were already awarded in the ludicrous patent trial. They also asked for a permanent ban on 29 different Samsung phones — i.e. all the phones that are successfully competing with the iPhone.

Meanwhile, Apple’s new iOS 6 purges YouTube and Google Maps. The former is now available as a separate app, but the latter has been replaced with Apple’s own mapping app — which is apparently disastrously awful.

After promising the EU that they would settle on a standard MicroSD connector for charging, like every other phone manufacturer, Apple instead launched a new proprietary connector, incompatible with their three previous generations of proprietary dock connector. There was absolutely no need for this — if they were going to be incompatible, they could have switched to Micro USB with MHL and provided exactly the same functionality over a standard connector. But of course, then they wouldn’t have been able to charge $40 for an adaptor cable.

But of course, the sheep are lining up to buy the iPhone 5 anyway.

On the Mac side of things, OS X 10.8 came out. It was said to be a bit better than 10.7, but still not as good as 10.6. New functionality? Well, there’s a messenger program that’s useless to me because it only talks to iPhones and other Macs. There’s a file transfer program that’s useless to me because it only talks to other Macs. There’s a new video chat app that’s useless to me because it only talks to iPhones and other Macs. There’s a notepad app that’s useless to me because… You get the idea. Oh, and perfectly good apps like iCal and Address Book got ugly faux-leather makeovers.

iDVD, which I use, is gone. iSync, which I use, is gone. X11, which I use, is no longer bundled. Most GPL-licensed open source software is either shipped in obsolete versions or has been removed entirely. And of course, there’s that new Gatekeeper feature, which by default only lets you run software Apple approves of, though you can bet I don’t trust that to remain the situation in future releases, as the iPhone and iPad are still locked down.

As far as hardware, the new MacBooks have batteries glued in so you can’t change them, RAM soldered in so you can’t upgrade it, and a proprietary SSD connector so you can’t even upgrade the drive easily. There’s no Ethernet port, no optical drive. I realized that there’s absolutely no way I want to buy such a machine.

Which means it’s now getting on for two years since Apple put out any kind of product that was remotely of interest to me, software or hardware. That and the continuing douchebaggery of their lawsuits have driven me from hedging my bets and not purchasing new software for the Mac platform, to actively planning to abandon it.

So far:

  • The iPods are done with. Replaced by a Sansa Clip Zip, with a 32GB MicroSD expansion card to give me 40GB total.
  • The Apple TV has had its tasks taken over by the PlayStation 3.
  • DEVONthink Pro is Mac only, so I’ve taken all my archives out of that and put them in Evernote. Ditto for Circus Ponies Notebook.
  • Pages has been replaced with ConTeXt and LibreOffice.
  • Numbers has been replaced with Google Docs spreadsheets and LibreOffice.
  • iPhoto has been replaced with Corel AfterShot Pro, which produces better photos into the bargain.
  • iChat (for video chat) has been replaced with Google Hangouts. (Video is jerkier but higher resolution, audio is significantly better.)

I don’t have a replacement for Ableton Live yet. I’m hoping that Bitwig Studio will ship and be affordable.

iMovie and iDVD I’m not sure about. I haven’t done much video editing recently. There are three or four Linux packages I can try, so I’m just going to deal with that problem when I hit it.

I guess I’m going to have to learn to deal with the GIMP as my Photoshop replacement.

Apple Mail proved surprisingly tough to replace. I expected to just use Thunderbird, but the latest release of Thunderbird is a complete disaster. So, I’m moving all my e-mail archives into Gmail (which fortunately now offers enough space to hold them all), and I’ll keep a backup just in case and hope I don’t need it.

So yeah. Sorry, Apple, it’s not me, it’s you. Steve Jobs saved you, but he also set you on a path to evil and eventual ruin. I begged you to change, but you didn’t listen, so here we are. After 22 years as a devoted Apple customer, it’s over. Enjoy the money from the masses while you’re getting it, I have a hunch it won’t last for much longer, and you’re driving away all of us who supported you through the difficult times.

I think I’m past the angry and bitter stage. I’ve moved on to looking forward to how much money I’ll save, and how much easier it’ll be to get open source projects working. One thing I’m not looking forward to, though, is doing all the research to find out what machine to buy…

© mathew 2017