Well, it’s finally happened. I’m defecting. To Android.
From being an age-old, dyed-in-the-wool Apple evangelist, a fan from the early days of the Apple II, all the way to the Macintoshs, Power Macs, iPods, iPhones, iPads, PowerBooks, MacBooks, and iMacs—to this. I even had a Newton at one point, I bought the first 5GB iPod in 2001, and I was one of the first owners of the original iPhone in 2007. I didn’t forsake the other OSes, but I adored the software and hardware from Cupertino to the exclusion of all else.
I’m the real thing; an unapologetic Apple fanatic.
And now I’m leaving Apple. Specifically, leaving Apple’s iOS, for Android.
Well… let me qualify that—I’m not really leaving Apple’s fold. How could I? I still use my iPhone heavily, I’m keeping my 4G iPad 3 handy, and I’ve souped up my 27″ iMac system in the house to the best I could. But I’m now using the Nexus 7 much more, and I’ve got a Lenovo Ideaphone outfitted with alternate SIMs, just in case. I’m even seriously considering buying a Nexus 4.
I’m just branching out to another OS. I’m not leaving Apple’s iOS – just elevating Android to about the same level. After decades of shunning other operating systems, I’m now allowing myself to include another one, one that Apple has specifically singled out to be a bad, bad thing for computing in general.
Suffice it to say that Apple’s restrictive and tight control over its apps has finally worn thin with me. Me, its Number One fan.
Yeah, yeah, I know all the arguments for it—it assures quality control, makes sure no rogue software makes it to the platform, eliminates malware, and all of that beautifully considered nonsense. Apple’s system is the equivalent of a repressive dictatorship, a regime where everything is officially mandated and laid out, controlled, and everyone’s made to behave, or else. A benevolent dictatorship, to be sure, but a dictatorship just the same.
You can only take so much. For the first few years, you loved it, that Apple put a lid on everything. Loved that everything worked, and worked well. There are thousand of great free apps for iOS out there. Sure, you gotta pay for the exceptionally good stuff developers make, and let Apple have its 30% blood money from every transaction, but that’s worth it. Wasn’t it? You reveled in every iOS app’s seamless and effortless integration into the operating system, and in the fact that if something did crash, it didn’t take the whole system down with it. You loved the simple, basic way that things operated. But at a price. To play in Apple’s sandbox, everybody gotta play by Apple’s rules.
But now, you hanker for something else, something out of the sandbox. You want assorted widgets that you could size and position the way you liked. You want launchers that you could configure and arrange to work the way you want them to. You want app icons to sometimes not be necessarily positioned in a 4 x 5 grid, and want them to run concurrently of one another. You wanted the ability to root your system, and put proprietary new ROMs for your device. You want freedom of choice. Freedom to fail… and freedom to excel.
My eye-opening experience began with my purchase of Google’s Nexus 7 a few months ago. I’d reluctantly been reviewing Android phones previously for this site, but not enough to actually get into the OS. Not really. All that changed with the Nexus.
I liked it that you could use any number of app launchers for it, and have a mind-boggling assortment of widgets at your disposal, to configure your system as you see fit. There were equivalent Android apps for most of my Apple iOS ones, and then some. The Google Play Store is just as well outfitted as Apple’s App Store, and you can get any application that you wanted just as easily. Malware’s a real threat, yes, but it’s manageable with software. I haven’t even gotten into the new (to me) subculture of rooting your device so you can add weird and wonderful new applications from the fringe developers. The point is… you can.
And that, dear user, is the crux of the matter. The freedom to do things as you see fit.
Don’t get me wrong—Apple has the best intentions for you. Like a strict parent who tightly controls what his kids do or say, for their own good. But now and then you gotta grow up and leave the parent behind. Mark your own course, plan your own life. Sure, you can fail. But on your own terms. And you can just as well succeed, who knows? That time, for me at least, has come.
I’m not alone in this. Popular tech columnist and Mac user Andy Ihnatko of the Chicago Sun-Times recently came out with the same sentiments, echoing mine. As Ihnatko says, “Android got great. The OS got great, and the hardware got great.” And several other tech bloggers and personalities who have previously been Apple fanatics like Robert Scoble and Guy Kawasaki have also proclaimed their new-found love for Android.
The millions of iOS users may be happy with their operating systems of choice, but be aware that there is a growing trend of ne’er-do-wells and hardened Apple users whose eyes are being opened up to other systems, and are no longer in denial. Like me. And it’s about time.
And no, I’m still not sold on Windows. Damned crapware.
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