Opinion I have seen the light regarding the Apple ecosystem scam and I feel like an idiot

C-Dub

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Rather long thread coming up, but I just need to get this off my chest and Twitter is too short form for it.

While I play a lot of PC games, most of my general work/creativity has been done on Apple devices for over a decade. I got hooked when I bought a 2008 MacBook for university, and never looked back. When it released I bought the iPhone 3G and not long after that Apple began pushing the ecosystem of devices and services really really hard.

I look back on all I've spent on Apple hardware and services over the years and it makes me shudder. In the last five years I have spent, at the very least, upwards of £1000 each year on that company alone. They really get you on the lock-in.

"I might as well buy the new iPhone, my current one is showing its age and I want some of my iPad features on my phone..."

"My new iPhone's great, but now my iPad's screen looks decidedly old-hat and I want Face ID."

"I've had my Mac mini for 7 years, I think it's time to retire it and get a new one that can be unlocked by my Apple Watch."

"Well, now I have a new Mac mini which can be unlocked by my Apple Watch, my Apple Watch feels sluggish. Maybe it's time for a new one?"

And so on. While none of these thoughts have ever pushed me over the edge to buying a new device, they are the spark that gets me thinking about it. And I'm fed up.

Why? Well, the money is a big one, but the other is that Apple stuff just isn't as good as it used to be. I'm talking more about Macs than iOS devices, but since Apple promotes its ecosystem as an interlocked chain, if one link in the chain breaks then the whole thing feels bad. And that's exactly what happened.

The 2018 Mac mini is, without question, the worst Apple product I've ever bought. The number of issues I've had with it, ranging from wireless/bluetooth dropouts to the fact that the new Catalina OS update is practically broken on the newer machines, have soured me on the entire Apple ecosystem. And once the illusion of them being great products breaks down, you realise how much fucking money you've spent.

Catalina was the moment I fell out of love with Apple, but I had been having doubts for a long time before then, however. I switched from my amazing, long-time driver, the 2012 Mac mini, to the well-reviewed and highly-regarded 2018 model. What reviewers didn't notice, however, were all the issues with it. Obviously Apple gave them the i5 or i7 models, as the i3 version barely functions. All I have to do is have a couple of apps open at once and the thing grinds to a crawl. After a few months of use I got fed up with it, and then it occurred to me: the fact that Apple are charging £800 for this piece of shit is bonkers. Steve Jobs once said Apple couldn't ship a $500 computer that wasn't a piece of junk, yet in 2018 (an era of proliferation of cheap silicon that gets the basics and more down) Apple shipped an $800 computer that was a piece of junk when other manufacturers produce snappier machines at a lower price.

But I persisted. Maybe an OS update would make it faster, as Apple has accomplished this in the past with macOS updates (I remember my 2008 MacBook getting a whole new lease of life after one major OS update). But Catalina was garbage. Upon first boot, my machine felt no slower or faster, but all of a sudden iTunes had been replaced by three different apps, none of which worked the way they should. The worst offender was Music, which hanged when "importing" my music library (meaning I actually couldn't listen to my music library). And then I noticed compatibility with a whole bunch of infrequently used apps broke - 64 bit apps were no longer supported. I kind of get that, but it's still irksome. However, others stopped working too due to how Apple's snake-like constriction of non-App Store apps makes them break.

The one that stood out to me most was BalenaEtcher, which was denied access to write to an external drive by the OS unless I copied the image I wanted to write to my SD card into the App container (I literally had to drag and drop it in) then run the app via a sudo command in Terminal because there is no longer a way to launch it via the UI with the necessary permissions. And that's just to write an OS image to an SD card for my Raspberry Pi.

And the wireless issues got worse. Now, my Apple Watch would, 50-60% of the time, fail to unlock my Mac. Keyboard dropouts were significantly worse. I tried to do a restore to plain old vanilla macOS Catalina and start afresh to see if that helped, but the recovery mode commands now fail to work with wireless keyboards because they don't connect at the initial boot phase. I had to borrow a wired keyboard from a friend just to boot into my system's recovery menu.

This machine has just been downright unpleasant to use from day one, it was only getting worse, and I'd paid £800 for it.

And this just got me thinking: why do I need so many Apple devices when there are cheaper devices that combine functionality for my use-case?

My iPhone XS is nice, but all I use it for is texting, noodling on the web and music. Why did I drop a grand on this?

My iPad Pro 10.5 inch (2017) is amazing for editing my writing with the pencil, but the iPad will never be a good laptop replacement so it could never be my main driver. Plus the keyboard cover is flimsy and breaks (thankfully replaced by Apple for free). Why did I spend nearly a grand on this and its accessories?

My Apple Watch is something I wear every day, but I literally use it to tell the time, receive my notifications, check my heartbeat and control the music on my phone. I can do that with a £35 Xiaomi fitness band. Why did I spend £250 on it?

I found myself wanting to buy a new version of each every couple of years or so, as the current one I had was just old enough to feel too ancient compared to my newer devices, to the point where I was spending thousands. But one bad product broke that, and I'm feeling kind of foolish now. Also kind of relieved, because I know what I have to do.

Sell it. Sell it all and don't look back.

So I have. The iPad and Mac mini are reset to their factory defaults, and will be going up on eBay over the weekend along with their accessories. I've already purchased and set up my new main driver: a clearance Surface Pro 6 (with pen, keyboard cover and dock) that outperforms the 2018 Mini in all the tasks I've done with it, and triples up as a tablet for editing with the pen, and as a laptop with the keyboard cover. And all of that comes in at almost half of what I paid for the iPad Pro, pencil, keyboard cover and Mac mini. Selling all the Apple stuff it replaces should, in fact, cover the cost of switching and hopefully leave me with some cash left over. And even if I lose money now, it'll be worth it when I don't have that nagging feeling in the back of my mind to constantly upgrade.

So all I have left to get rid of is my iPhone XS. I decided to grab the OnePlus 7T, which arrives tomorrow and will hopefully keep me going for a long while. Because all I do on a phone is basic stuff - I don't take many photos and I don't play games. All I want is something to take calls, text, and fuck about on social media on the bus to work. Looking at how much iPhone XS sells for, I should have cash left over from that too.

And it's a nice feeling. Of course I will probably want to update these devices sooner or later, and I know Android still has lingering issues regarding OS updates that might mildly irk me down the line, but looking at the devices and what I do with them from a purely utilitarian point of view, Apple's stuff is overengineered crap and the new features never bring me the kind of joy that Apple promises. But they're just good enough to make my older devices feel obsolete. It's all superficial and I feel like a complete idiot for being hoodwinked by for a whole third of my life to date. I can get what I want outside of Apple's ecosystem trap, while feeling none of the pressure to constantly sink more cash in.

I have three Apple products left that have value to me: the 2012 Mini (which is a fucking amazing Plex server and will continue to have that role for as long as it switches on - even if I need to change the OS for security reasons), the AirPods (hands down the best wireless earphones I've ever used - and they will happily play with my new devices), and the Apple TV (the UI is so clean and simple compared to the alternatives), so I'll be keeping those (and in the case of the Apple TV, potentially upgrading it to a 4K when I make that jump), but not feeling like I need to be locked into their ecosystem on some tick-tock of one device making the other feel old is so liberating.

In short, fuck Apple.
 

Le Pertti

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Yeah I'm with you. I used to be an iphone guy since 3G up till 6. I've always had macbook pros as my laptops and ipad as my tablets. Still had a gaming PC for games and main work.

Now I only have a Macbook Pro, a 2017 and while very capable machine the build quality is shit. Screen is busted just by having in backpack and hell I even got it replaced it once but both have same issues. And don't get me started on the keyboard, shit also!

I wanted to get an iphone because they are better at privacy and security and camera and photo stuff. And for synching all ones stuff Apple is the best. BUT I've been so disappointed with iphones for so long, like how do they not use Type C!? Sp now I just use an Oneplus 6t while I wait for Apple to get it's act together.
 
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Ibuki

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Dec 9, 2018
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I have come to a similar realization re: iPhone. I spend way too much on these things, and then I use them for the same functions as you (chatting, web, and music). There is no way in hell I need a $1000 piece of tech to do that basic ass shit. I will make a smarter (and cheaper) purchase decision when my current phone reaches the end of it's life. This was a great read though, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
 
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lashman

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... and i'm still here with my Lumia ... which i basically only need for calls and text messages (don't do web ... don't even have a plan that includes any data in it) ... i could very well do this shit on a 3310 :p
 
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NarohDethan

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Apr 6, 2019
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Lalalalala I cant hear you I have my Airpods on

on a serious note, I just bought an iPhone and I love it, but yeah, it sucks that Macs are not as reliable as before, and the solution to lots of the ecosystem’s problems is to keep throwing money at it.
 
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C-Dub

C-Dub

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Lalalalala I cant hear you I have my Airpods on

on a serious note, I just bought an iPhone and I love it, but yeah, it sucks that Macs are not as reliable as before, and the solution to lots of the ecosystem’s problems is to keep throwing money at it.
I feel like in terms of their "complete" ecosystem, Macs are an inconvenient necesscity for Apple since iPads cannot be most people's main machine, as much as they'd like them to be.

But we can all see that Apple doesn't give half a shit about Mac or macOS. The keyboard issues on recent MacBooks and the Catalina situation is a sad state to see what was once the most elegant and user friendly line of computers in.

At any rate, I am definitely out. No wavering, no second guessing. I know they say to never say never, but I can't see myself ever going back after this. I just don't want to find myself in the sunk cost falacy of Apple's ecosystem again.
 

PC-Patriot

Press Any key, where the hell is it ?
Aug 5, 2019
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Yup the answer is "be poor" I have never owned an Apple product simply because I could never afford one. I think my first smart phone was like £89 it was slow janky but I loved the hell out of it. This was at a time when the Iphone was like 500 - 600 quid. My 89 quid phone did everything that the 600 quid Iphone did and in some cases did it better than the Iphone.

Honestly at this point people are just paying way over the odds for the apple brand name. The quality of Apple products doesn't seem vastly superior anymore to non-apple stuff and if anything non-apple stuff is clearly superior in many ways feature wise. The only thing Apple has left is it's "brand" and to be honest I am way too poor to waste money and pay over the odds for a fucking logo.
 
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JMTHEFOX

Planning to Be a Game Designer
Oct 4, 2018
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Been thinking about buying a new iPad for drawing and gaming but the recent news about how much Apple is bowing down to China is making me want an Microsoft Surface Pro instead.

Also, the Samsung Galaxy Tab s6 but my concern is how many apps support the S-Pen since the Android ecosystem isn't great for native drawing from what I have heard.
 
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C-Dub

C-Dub

Makoto Niijima Fan Club President
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Been thinking about buying a new iPad for drawing and gaming but the recent news about how much Apple is bowing down to China is making me want an Microsoft Surface Pro instead.

Also, the Samsung Galaxy Tab s6 but my concern is how many apps support the S-Pen since the Android ecosystem isn't great for native drawing from what I have heard.
The Surface Pen is great. My better half thinks the iPad one is better, but that the Surface Pen is still very good.

Since I only use it for editing and not artist stuff, I can't comment on that functionality. It's pretty good at scribbling red lines over text, however.
 
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Mivey

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Good for you, OP.
The closest I have come to getting an Apple device is a basic iPad + pen, as I feel it's the best way for taking digital notes. Android tables seems like a complete non-entity, in terms of good software for it certainly.
But so far still something I'm mulling about, as even the cheapest option would still set me back 400 to 500€.
 

Kthulhu

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Feb 28, 2019
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I definitely think they've been shortsighted with the Mac in recent years. I fully expect the ARM Macs to be the last straw for most enthusiast and pro users unless they can sell them for less than a grand.

I think iOS and by extension iPadOS aren't going anywhere soon. If Apple can keep improving iPadOS they might have a decent laptop replacement that will challenge MS's dominance, but I fully expect it to matter less and less for most people as more and more apps and services we use move to the web and the cloud.
 

JMTHEFOX

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Lol, if you're trying to take a principled stance against a company bowing to China, you can't support Microsoft in retaliation against Apple.

Microsoft scrubs Bing and LinkedIn to appease the government, and they've been doing various censorship jobs since like way back in 2006 when they were bending over to scrub blogs on Windows Live Spaces.

(to say nothing of their telemetry gathering and collaboration with the NSA)
Oof, looks like i am out of luck :(
 
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C-Dub

C-Dub

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Listed all my Apple devices on eBay just over a week ago, all of them sold. Still waiting for money for one item, but the amount I've recieved, sans eBay and PayPal fees, has already covered the total amount I spent on replacement devices.

I'm pretty happy - I've turned a tidy profit and got some sweet new gadgets. I wound up with a Surface Pro 6 and OnePlus 7T in the end, and I love them both.
 

JMTHEFOX

Planning to Be a Game Designer
Oct 4, 2018
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Listed all my Apple devices on eBay just over a week ago, all of them sold. Still waiting for money for one item, but the amount I've recieved, sans eBay and PayPal fees, has already covered the total amount I spent on replacement devices.

I'm pretty happy - I've turned a tidy profit and got some sweet new gadgets. I wound up with a Surface Pro 6 and OnePlus 7T in the end, and I love them both.
Nice one! I am eyeing the Galaxy S10+ and the Galaxy Tab S6 since Samsung is moving production from China to India.
 
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gabbo

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... and i'm still here with my Lumia ... which i basically only need for calls and text messages (don't do web ... don't even have a plan that includes any data in it) ... i could very well do this shit on a 3310 :p
If my old Nokia 2150's battery hadnt become unusable (it wouldnt hold a charge), and Bell eventually cut of the spectrum it used, id never have stopped using it. The thing was a tank. Made calls and text, all i really need.

...my lg g7 thinq will last me until either Freedom has some other crazy promo (got a 4k tv because i upgraded to the g7) or it no longer functions. I dont buy into needing a new phone every generation. Its a waste and bad for the environment. Also im broke as shit
 
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Li Kao

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Personally I'm near the point where I treat IpadOS as a weapon of psychological warfare.
Typing ergonomic is near unusable (God help you if you need to modify some small text) and the new dual apps or whatever it is called... is annoying, unwieldy and made me lose 500+ tabs.
At this point all I got from this horrible POS is to never think of something on my tablet as secure from going haywire.
It boggles my mind, I was never an Apple fan, but iOS used to be good. It's been a long time now.
 
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C-Dub

C-Dub

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So one year on and how am I feeling about ditching Apple?

Pretty good!

I still have my Surface Pro 6 and OnePlus 7T and, unlike where Apple would seem to make me want a new device every year by making my current devices feel old, I haven't felt any urge to upgrade these devices. They work well, do what I need them to, and a year later still perform solidly.

For those of you who know, I do a lot of writing and editing, and the one issue I have had is with the size of the Surface Pro 6. 12-13 inches is just too big for me to use as an editing tablet all the time. So in addition to the Surface Pro I have also grabbed another tablet. I started off with the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10 inch, but the lack of stylus support put me off it as I started using my tablet for first edits more and more. So I've since replaced it with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, which does have a stylus, and I love it. Having a device that has a nice screen size for holding and reading, with a pen that I can scribble a few notes on a PDF is super helpful. For the more detailed edits I still do use my Surface Pro 6, as Android doesn't have as mature PDF editing software as Windows or iPadOS, and since that's more involved close reading I don't mind having the bulkier device.

There are a few minor things that I wish I still had an iPad for, but I really don't miss Apple's ecosystem at all.
 

ISee

Oh_no!
Mar 1, 2019
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Why did I drop a grand on this?
I so understand where you are coming from!

I bought my mom a Samsung A70 last year and while setting it up I realized: This 350€ Smartphone is just as usable as my 900€ Flagship
It was kind of a shock.

This "cheap" thing is smooth while browsing, taking pictures, accessing messaging apps, YT playback, Spotify, navigation. The battery lasts significantly longer, the screen is huge (too huge for me, but screen size was a deciding factor for my mom), the back is not slippery glass, the screen is not curved and the smartphone is more comfortable to hold.

Why the f* was I still buying flagships?

Maybe made sense a long time ago, when every new model felt like a significant upgrade in useability, but today? Even "budget" CPUs get the job done if they are given enough ram.

The "CPU" in the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 are "mid-low tier" while Iphone Pro 11 is certainly a top dog, and still the difference while using them is :shrugblob:


(I'm currently considering the Pixel 4a 5G as my replacement phone. Not because I need the 5G, but because it comes with a slightly larger screen and bigger battery. But I've not decided yet, pixel 4a for 340€ is probably good enough).
 

Mivey

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(I'm currently considering the Pixel 4a 5G as my replacement phone. Not because I need the 5G, but because it comes with a slightly larger screen and bigger battery. But I've not decided yet, pixel 4a for 340€ is probably good enough).
That's interesting, because I actually prefer the Pixel 4a because it's so small. Planning to replace my Moto G5+ with it, and I really dislike the modern trend of having 6inch screens. I want a small phone that I can easily grab and use with one hand. For larger content I'd use my PC or my tablet. I can see how a larger phone my be useful for people who really don't want to use other devices than a phone very often, but that's not me anyway.
 

ISee

Oh_no!
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That's interesting, because I actually prefer the Pixel 4a because it's so small. Planning to replace my Moto G5+ with it, and I really dislike the modern trend of having 6inch screens. I want a small phone that I can easily grab and use with one hand. For larger content I'd use my PC or my tablet. I can see how a larger phone my be useful for people who really don't want to use other devices than a phone very often, but that's not me anyway.

Oh I get you: It's more about the battery size tbh. The Pixel 5 would fit my size and battery needs even more.
But that's how they get me: By offering incremental upgrades for "incremental" price bumps.

Unfortunately, the entire "new" Pixel line-up seems to be sold out everywhere.
 
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C-Dub

C-Dub

Makoto Niijima Fan Club President
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I've caved, somewhat. 18 months later, and while I'm probably not ever going to get a Mac or iPhone, I've found that there's no tablet that comes close to the iPad from a novel editing perspective. 🙈

I've actually rejigged my entire setup. Over the last six months I've sold my Surface Pro, OnePlus 7T and Galaxy Tab S6 Lite and bought all new devices.

I've bought a Samsung S21. I wanted a smaller screen phone, and while the battery is not the best when I push it, this phone is better for me as I prefer one-handed nature of the device thanks to the smaller screen. In terms of form factor, it reminds me a lot of the last iPhone I had, the XS, only I'm able to personalise it more. I think Smart Launcher 5 is the nicest phone UI I've ever used, and I don't think I'd ever go back to iPhone if they don't have custom launcher support.

My work PC is now a desktop which I built myself. It's much faster than the Surface Pro and doesn't chug when I have dozens of Firefox tabs open when I'm reviewing agents to query or clicking through my Metacouncil notifications. I'm really happy having desktop power again as the Scrivener would cause my Surface Pro to chug every now and then and this PC, while mid-range specced from a gaming perspective (and that's not a problem since I have a monster PC in the front room that I can stream to this device if I want to play on the desktop), just blows through any work tasks I need to do.

And as for a tablet... I went for the M1 iPad Pro 2011. It's fast, it has a lot of amazing tablet apps that suit me, and it has Scrivener for when I want a portable writing device. I'm still not a fan of Apple's ecosystem lock-in, and upon immediately setting it up this week I felt some of the usual Apple constraints, but the speed and usability of this device is lightyears ahead of any other tablet out there. In terms of performance (for what I need it to do anyway), I reckon for tasks like editing with a pen my old Surface Pro 6 probably matches it in terms of speed (you'd be surprised how some devices struggle with editing a book), but the iPad blows it away in terms of UI as it's not trying to reconcile a desktop and tablet UI into one device.

I feel like Apple have opened things up enough to not have to suffer their ecosystem lock-in as bad as it was in 2019 when I last had an Apple device. The Files app lets me connect my OneDrive (or any other cloud service should I choose to switch in the future), I can use my preferred mail, browser and calendar apps (Outlook, Firefox and, ehm, Outlook respectively) and I'm actually getting on well by not relying so much on Apple services. I use Scrivener and Microsoft Word for my writing (available on all devices), Nebo for my proofreading (available on Windows and iPad with syncing across Google Drive), Spotify for my music (available on all), Notion for my notes (available on all) Affinity Photo for my image editing (available on iPad and Windows), Bitwarden for my password manager (available on all), NordVPN (available on all), and Signal for messaging my friends (available on all). Sure I lose a few useless features like being able to make calls through my phone via an iPad, and some other little things like syncing of my clipboard and such, but all of that is just superflous nonsense I never used anyway. It was neat, but never actually useful and was just cheap tricks to distract me from looking outside of the ecosystem.

I think spending 18 months out of Apple's ecosystem, I've come to rely on multiple different services and apps that aren't tied to one ecosystem, and that's very liberating as it means I can just get the best devices for the tasks I need them to do and not worry about whether my preferred devices will still talk to each other if I don't stick with the ecosystem. When I was in the Apple trap I couldn't do that because they design their own services in a way that maximises your hardware spend.

TL;DR: just use multiplatform third party software so you aren't beholden to any one platform's digital fiefdom policies.
 
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C-Dub

C-Dub

Makoto Niijima Fan Club President
Dec 23, 2018
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I lasted 18 months, surely that counts for something?! 🙈

Seriously though, find me a tablet better than an M1 iPad Pro.

Ive gone full apple. Desktop, laptop and phone all apple I finally feel everything works as I want them to.
This is the trap I don't want to fall into again. The ecosystem "feautres" are just decorations around jail bars, and frankly none of it works as well as you think. This applies to all of them too - Google, Samsung, Apple, Microsoft and so on. And to add to it, all the Apple hardware is expensive too so to keep up you're just spending money hand over fist.

I've found the really useful functionality and apps transcend ecosystems and walled gardens and when you're not tying hardware and software you actually find things work better and how you want them to, rather than how the platform holder likes them.
 

Aztechnology

Just wants 4 player Total War
Jul 16, 2021
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Apple frustrates me for any number of reasons. But my MacBook only having USB C then my iPhone when I finally switched over from Samsung after multiple gens (which I loved and still prefer due to family and Lidar) but stuck with lightning while aggrandizing their eco friendly ways, when it in fact increased waste by passing more packaging on to third parties instead. That was probably my biggest, “why the fuck do I use Apple products” moment.