I first got a computer sometime around the age of 5. My parents one day came home with an Amstrad CPC 464 and my life started on a trajectory that has led me to where I am. I don’t think my journey has ended, it’s just a neat way of describing how I got to where I am now.
I learned how to write BASIC and load and save games to the included cassette player. I bought cheap blank cassettes from the disreputable store that was surrounded by vacant shopportunities. Those tapes, as you might expect, did not last long – quickly getting tangled around the inners of whichever machine was asked to play them too many times.
My great aunt then gave me her husband’s laptop after he died, around 1993. And then I played with that, trying to get Windows running with 1Mb of RAM. A nearby enthusiast took the laptop from us to ‘fix’ it, and lent us a slightly more powerful tower PC to use in the meantime. This became the base for all future upgrades. And that same computer had every component replaced, over and over again, until around 2008 when I got my first purchased-for-myself laptop.
And for the next 16 years, for a total of 31, I was a Windows enthusiast. I installed Windows 2000 before it was cool, and I have upgraded to every version in between. When the iPhone came out, I was wedded to my Nokia, and held out great hope for Nokia’s eventual defeat of Apple, and when Android came out, I was sure Nokia would enthusiastically grab it. When they didn’t, I went to Android phones, and never looked back.
Until last year. Last year, I put some thought into the situation, and realized that I was choosing Androids because of a feeling rather than because of anything I actually believed. So I took the plunge, got an iPhone 14 Pro Max, and then things got silly.
Then there was Apple
I had been looking for a new computer since early 2021, and had delayed and delayed, not finding what I wanted. After using the iPhone for not very long at all, I bought a MacBook Pro 16, and then an Apple Watch Series 8, and then AirPods, and then a friend leant us an old Apple TV, and so now we have the latest 4K Apple TV.
And here’s the thing: It all just bloody works.
Google’s Chromebooks are not bad but they’re no MacBook Pro with an Apple M1 chip, and Samsung and Microsoft have made the Phone Link software kind of compelling, but it’s not as seamless as it would be if the manufacturer of one worked hard on making the other compatible. And Samsung’s environmental credentials are left in the dust by those of the Pixel and iPhone. Without a good computer, Google can’t create an ecosystem to compete with Apple and, likewise, Microsoft without a good cellphone.
The only thing that lets Apple down, is Siri – except of course, with my English accent, Google Assistant barely understands me anyway. Siri is so good at understanding me, she rarely makes a mistake (which makes my reminders more useful), but she can’t provide the answer quality that Google Assistant can with my American spouse.
People have made much of Apple’s ecosystem tying people to it – iMessage, FaceTime, and other technologies making it hard to leave. But I think it’s more important to consider how well the ecosystem works within itself. With an AppleTV, HomeKit is now a reasonable prospect for us, especially with Matter support in the AppleTV, and in more devices in the future.
The competition just doesn’t exist to harm Apple’s lead, and talk of the iMessage lock-in, I think, inflates the import of that app. An app which, incidentally, works perfectly well as SMS on Android. The only thing I miss is a shared clipboard, and an app named “Paste” has solved that.
More important is Apple’s solid software, quiet, efficient chips, and integrated software that works well together.
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