A last bite of the Apple pie..

Well.  I’ve decided.

Given that innovations in laptop, tablet and smartphone technology aren’t going to get much better over the next three years, I figure that Apple are pretty much done and dusted for a while.  They used to be a company you could trust – with a secure and tight ecosystem between hardware and software that put the customer first.  It was stable.  It was well developed.  It was decent.

But over the past 6-8 years, things have taken a turn for the worse.  We’ve now got multiple generations of iPads, iPhones, MacBooks, MacBook Pros, iMacs and everything in between.  Keeping these machines up to date with the latest OS is almost – but not quite – up to Windows standards.  Each generation and model use different components and that means that multiple drivers have to be included.  My almost 4 year old MacBook Air at work has been experiencing some random weird driver related issues over the past few releases of OS X (but with .5 release of El Capitain, things look to have settled down).

We now have four distinct operation systems: OS X, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.  Maintaining each and every one of them must be a pain.  And for developers of these platforms, doubly-so.  My fourth generation Apple TV hasn’t been used very much because it seems that outside the US, little work has been made by UK TV broadcasters to put their on-demand services on there.  There is no All 4.  There is no ITV Hub.  And we can pretty much say bye bye to Amazon Prime given Jeff Bezos’ recent comments.

I’ve not found watchOS to be particularly brilliant if I’m honest.  Apps never operate standalone, and opening any app takes an age.  With my recent visit back home to North West London, it took two or three attempts to check in and out of TfL’s contactless barriers.  Almost all the time, “Seek Assistance” popped up.   I had to wait for somebody else to go through to try again – when I was then let through.  So Apple Pay is becoming a pain.

iPad Pro development is slow – all the recent comments I’ve made about the lack of higher resolution support still stands.  We then have the firmware bricking issue with the small iPad Pro.  There’s still no fix other than to have the hardware physically replaced.

Apple Music went TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Performance) yesterday (so I hear – at least for some people), with playlists vanishing and even the ability to download purchased music.

I try to show a work colleague some photos from my iCloud Photo Library, and Photos on OS X went mental – showing other pictures instead.

Apple have lost the plot.  And I’ve figured that as Apple can’t be as bad as Android or Windows, I’m replacing my gadgets accordingly.  I’m still keeping the iPads – they still have their uses while they work – but everything else is being replaced.  I’m not going to have a smart watch anymore.  The smartest it’ll be is having the time adjusted automatically via radio signal.  My laptop will be Windows.  My phone will be Android.  I will accept these will be a pain in the arse on the odd occasion, but I’m willing to accept that given their development cycle.

Besides, I think I’ve become far too Apple-fied over the years.  I struggle to answer Windows related questions at work from time to time because I have never used it on a daily basis.  So I think I need to change that.  Plus it’ll help me fix family PC problems too.  And I miss the olden days of getting stuck under the hood – something you can’t do with Apple products now because they’re all pretty much solded to the motherboard.

I’ll post my experiences of switching as and when they happen.  But the first step is the Android migration which should take place over the weekend.  I’ve gone for a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – one of the highest rating Android phones on the market.  The downside to it, however, is that Samsung is not known for rolling out timely security or major OS updates.  That’s one downside to Android – but Google are preparing to kick Android partners’ bottoms to try and rectify this.  We’ll see how well that goes….

Breaking Bad Apple: Firmware update bricks my iPad Pro

I have a 9.7″ iPad Pro to go along with the 12.9″ model, because if you’re reading magazines, books or anything that requires holding the device more than 5 minutes, your arm will ache when using its bigger brother.

So you imagine how extremely hacked off I was when Apple rolled out a new firmware update for iOS last week which worked perfectly well against my iPhone and bigger iPad, but subsequently bricked the newest member of the team.

When I say bricked, it bricked it good.  It’s completely unusable at the moment. I can’t restore from backups, and I can’t restore from an earlier firmware (especially after Apple rolled out a new version of iTunes).  As such, and as I’ve been unwell, I’ve made an appointment to go to London after work tomorrow to get the iPad replaced (reports indicate that Apple are swapping out the units after their own restore processes have failed).

The thing about the restore process, BTW, is that it requires a Mac or PC.  So much for Apple advertising the iPad Pro range as replacement computers.  How can that be if you need a blasted PC to be able to restore firmware?!

Having invested heavily in Apple over the years (although one should say I should have invested in shares, not the gadgets), I am finding myself losing faith and trust in the company every time something bad happens.  And it’s been happening a lot of late (especially with Apple Music, which has been a massive disaster in my eyes).  Recent iOS and to a lesser extent, OS X, updates, have been bug ridden piles of nonsense which should never have seen public release.  I can’t imagine how much testing goes on, but clearly it’s not enough.

The only thing is that unless you’re actively reading tech news, you might not have known there was a problem with the 9.3.2 update for 9.7′ iPad Pros.  Apple sure as hell will email the hell out of you to try and buy their latest product – but if they subsequently remove firmware for a product you own (that’s in warranty) after they’ve discovered a problem – no matter the scope of the problem – forget it.  They rarely apologise for their muck-ups.

So now I’ve got to pay more money to take the train to London and get somebody to swap out the product.  It may well be a refurbished model at that.  Marvellous.

I’d like to go back to a Windows based PC and move to Android, but neither platform is able to do what I want it to do.  At least not completely.  And without cost.   I appreciate nothing’s perfect, but I expect much higher standards from Apple who go out their way to convince you they care about the customer.  This appears to no longer be true.  Apple need to step up to the plate, admit they’ve caused significant problems for customers (regardless of how small or big the problem is) and get it fixed – without cost to the customer.  It’s their ecosystem, their responsibility.