Moving to Apple – Six Months Later

I moved back to Apple’s tech silo, err ecosystem or whatever to hell you want to call it last October and wanted to reflect on the process or should I say my progress a little.

When I decided to move to the world of Apple it was using my:

• iPad Pro 10.5 • iPhone 7 • The wife’s PC – albeit grudgingly • Garmin 230 GPS watch – just to screw with things

This setup relies on IOS as my primary operating system and in some instances IOS is not quite there when it comes to being the daily driver OS. Unfortunately there were and still are a couple of compromises that I have to make to use my iPad Pro as my primary computer.

Which is not ideal, but it has not stopped me. 😉

Even so, I am comfortable with the direction that I am heading with my move to the Apple tech silo.

So Why Apple?

I have lived with a fragmented computing lifestyle for many years both personally and professionally.

To be honest the fragmentation and all the different tech silos, products and biases makes using technology/computers/Internet more difficult, while at the same more interesting and yes, diverse. There is some sort of solution out there for just about anything, even the things that we don’t think or know about sometimes.

Over the past few years, like many people I have used a mixture of Google, Apple, Android, Chrome, Microsoft, Linux based devices — along with a vitual mishmash of various (productivity, entertainment, work related, games, etc.) apps, software and all the different social media sites. Oh yeah, I can’t forget about the many cloud based services and solutions that have sprung up.

Needless to say they often do not play well together.

Really what I ended up with is a fragmented shitshow that confuses, frustrates and makes you at times to want to throw things against a wall – usually not good for the device that hits the wall.

After retiring in June 2017, by October I had enough of the shitshow, frustration factors of competing technologies, hardware, apps, software, OS, philosophies and decided to move to one tech silo. The time was right since I was no longer tied to any one silo, hardware or software and had the opportunity to chose one that I wanted to use – not something that someone else choose for me.

Looking back, I had had good experiences with Apple’s products, when I was teaching and while they do collect mountains of data from their customers, they have not as yet monetized that data collection. The idea or at least the perception that I am still the customer, not the product, to me is still a big deal.

When you look at Apple’s hardware, the apps/software and the level of integration that their products are moving towards (they are not there yet), it made a lot of sense for me and how I see things in the technology world, to move to the Apple tech silo.

My Experience

Honestly, moving back to the World of Apple, with the devices I chose to make this journey on, was the path less travelled. It has not been without more than a few bumps, a steeper than anticipated learning curve, some straight-up swearing at my devices and/or Apple, a few creative work-arounds and finally leaving some things to worry about for later.

My biggest issues were IOS’s limitations and overcoming Apple’s history of keeping the iPad as a complementary device and not someone’s primary computer.

The other part I gotta admit that I sort of enjoyed, even if it was frustrating at times. The part where I experimented with different settings, trying too many apps, workflows and weaning myself off Google/Microsoft/Linux ways of doing things.

Over the past six month I have found that often less is more and often “good enough” is good enough, when it comes to keeping things simple and as stress free as possible. Since that is the main purpose of this change — to keep life and technology as simple/efficient as possible.

Keep working on the K.I.S.S. Principle – it works.

The best part is that I am continuing to learn new things all the time about my devices, IOS and the apps I am using. Which means I do foresee a few tweaks here or there as I get more sophisticated, with my knowledge of Apple’s realm.

What are some of the particulars that stick out in my mind about switching over.

Hardware

I love my iPad Pro 10.5, iPhone 7 and how they complement one another.

However, if my iPad Pro did not have a keyboard and I would be looking at some sort of a Mac to take its place.

I ended up with the Zagg Bluetooth keyboard because it provided the best combination of protection and versatility for my iPad, a keyboard that I liked, plus it was on sale at the time.

iPad Pro 10.5

Part of my problem is that I think that until recently Apple tended to look at the iPad as a “nice to have” device. The iPads were not initially designed to be your primary computer – it was more a peripheral device, like a smart phone that was there to complement to your main computer.

Although this perspective seems to be changing with the iPad Pro models, there are still too many instances where the “official” way to do things is to plug your iPad into a “real” computer – which is a pain in the arse when it occurs and should not be the “answer”.

Even with all that I would not trade my iPad Pro 10.5 straight-up for a similarly spec’d MacBook, MacBook Air or some other OS laptop computer.

Yeah, I like it that much.

iPhone 7

Simply the best phone I have used.

IOS

It is nice to not have to think in terms of multiple operating systems and figuring out how to get my primary devices to work well together, where the commands are hidden that I want/need to change and then worrying about the update cycles, who does them, how they will effect compatibility moving forward. All that kind of stuff I worried about when attempting to get different operating systems to play nice together.

I don’t worry about that stuff anymore – two devices, one operating system, things just blend together nicely so far and with each update that Apple does, the iPad is becoming more of an “independent” computer and less a peripheral device.

Productivity

Apple’s apps do most everything that I want to do and/or I can find an app that will in the App Store. However, Apple’s apps/software do things from a slightly different perspective than Microsoft’s or Google’s similar apps/software do, so there was a learning curve.

As I use iWork and Apple’s other apps more, the less I like the other ones. I find Apple’s offering most intuitive for me, but not always as powerful or feature heavy – more minimalist, but more than good enough to get what I want done.

Browser

I like the Safari browser in IOS on the iPad, but don’t do much browsing on the iPhone – unless I have to. I prefer to browse the Internet on a larger screen. Unfortunately there are too many sites that do not render correctly in Safari i.e. Garmin Connect among others for it to be my only browser.

So I do need to have another browser to see those sites correctly – I am using Chrome for now, since I am still in Google Drive for my photos and have used it for several years. Although I am thinking about moving to the new Firefox and seeing if that works out okay.

In IOS I do not live in my browser like I did with Google or even with Windows, at first that was a bit of a jolt, but now I have gotten more used to it and actually like it better.

Email

After many years of bouncing between multiple work emails, personal Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail/Outlook or back in the day AOL, I have finally taken the leap to move my primary personal mail account to .icloud.com.

Eventually, I plan to retire all but the iCloud accounts – it will take some time, but I think it will be better for me in the long run.

I really did not realize how much email I actually receive at my legacy mail addresses. I am finally figuring out where some of the “junk mail” is coming from, now that it doesn’t automatically go to the junk mail folder since I separated the old email accounts in Apple Mail.

As a part of this change I have also setup an alias .icloud.com account for subscriptions or websites that require a email address that I do not want to use my personal email address. Which acts as a filter that helps me identify people/important stuff versus “stuff”.

Over the past few weeks, I have unsubscribed from literally 100’s of lists, promotional crap and old sites that I signed up for and haven’t been back to for years.

Like I said it will take time.

Music

I recently subscribed to Apple Music and am liking/using it a LOT more than I thought that I would. I was getting tired of Pandora, never really liked Amazon Music or Google Music and disliked iTunes even back when I had to use it when I had a Mac and an iPhone.

It was also a pain in the arse getting my personal music collection into my Apple account (and it still is not all there) and finally I had to use iTunes on my wife’s PC to get most of it on my iPad Pro.

This is the biggest reason why I went with the Apple Music subscription – I just didn’t want to deal with iTunes.

I had not planned on getting Apple Music, but now that I have done it – well I am happy with how it is working for me. The bad part is that the subscription price is higher than what I can really justify based on how I see me actually using it.

We will see on this one.

However, I am finding old songs that I haven’t heard in years – Sugar, Sugar by the Archies brought back more than a few smiles and thoughts of years gone by.

Photos

This is probably the biggest area of frustration that I have had with moving to the Apple ecosystem – the difficulty…well near impossibility without owning a Mac.

I simply am looking for a simple solution to get my scanned family photos from Google Drive/Photos to iCloud and on my iPad. My iPad Pro has plenty of space for all my photos, but getting them on it has not happened yet.

After way too much time attempting to figure this one out, the best advice I got was to download each one individually and put it in my library that way. Nope, not with almost 40 gb of photos that I want to move to the iPad.

It ended up being easier to keep much of that “legacy photos” in Google Drive as my archive and to start mostly fresh with Apple Photos.

The bad part was that it took me almost a month of wasted effort to come to this realization. That was frustrating as hell.

Files

I still have to work on learning the new file management system in IOS and how it relates to iCloud, other cloud services and how I can use it. When I do that some of the issues I have with moving stuff to my iPad should be taken care of.

It might even be as simple as getting the “camera dongle” at some point or an Apple lightning thumb drive.

The reality is that

Moving back to the Apple ecosystem has been a good, but bumpy experience at times that is taking me in the direction that I want to go.

One tech silo for my computing and online needs.

My iPad Pro is my daily driver for 95% of everything that I do on a computer and my iPhone 7 is a great companion device. Once in a while I still find that I have to use my wife’s PC to do something, but that seems to becoming more rare as IOS becomes more mature.

Looking at the way things are right now, if someone offered me a similarly specced Windows, Chrome, Linux based laptop computer or even a Mac, I would be hard-pressed to take them up on their offer.

I like the way my iPad Pro 10.5 and iPhone 7 complement one another and how this combo meets most of my now fairly basic computing needs very nicely.

However, it does mean that I know that I will have to update my devices within 3-4 years, in order to keep current in Apple’s ecosystem, as they will at that time have limited support for my “old” devices.

As long as I continue to be their consumer and not their product, I have a feeling that I will deal with the higher prices in exchange for that little extra slice of privacy that I imagine that I have inside Apple’s tech silo.

However, as I have said for almost 20 years, if you or your computer can connect to the Internet, you really do not have any privacy, it is more how the big corporations that already have, will continue to have our data and how they use it.

Who knows maybe Apple will stay to the high road.

Now if only Neverwinter Nights or Neverwinter Nights 2 were on IOS, I would be very happy :-).

3 thoughts on “Moving to Apple – Six Months Later

  1. Good read – I like hearing about real-world experiences. Just a thought on your photo situation – I think in terms of “durability” or “survivability” for photos. I hate to say it but you should keep all your photos in Google Drive, download them and put them in the Apple system, AND KEEP THEM ON A HARD DRIVE. Maybe on two hard drives. Just to be safe. I have ZERO important files and they’re all in four locations/devices.
    Cheers!

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    • Thank you Jack. I have them in more than a few place too, an external hard drive, SD Cards, Google and my wife’s computer, I just would like an easier way to get them onto my iPad, more for the convenience factor, if I am carrying it around and want to show something to someone on it. 🙂

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