I’ve found that over the past few months, I’ve really started to lose a lot of the brand royalty that I’ve previously had for Apple. About four years ago, I gave into the temptation of a more productive user interface and the promise of an “environment” of products. Those advantages were so great to me, I was willing to sacrifice things like absolute control and an abundance of gaming options in order to have them.
That was around 2008 when I made the switch and got rid of my old mini-fridge sized PC tower. I’d used Macs for years, all the way back to playing Carmen Sandiego and Oregon Trail back in elementary school, but only used on full time starting then. Of course, this led to other things like iPod Touches, iPads, iPhones, and all of the accompanying and encompassing software that tied them all digitally together.
But then a few months ago, I crossed the rubicon. The original iPad 1 that I’d used for years was beginning to give up the ghost, and I was too trained into using a tablet for everyday tasks to just do away with the habit. After mentioning for a while that I was interested in it, my wife gave me a Nexus 7 for Christmas. It’s a purchase decision and philosophy switch that I probably wouldn’t have made on my own, but I’m glad she made it for me. Now I haven’t even looked back.
There’s no one thing about Android or the Google environment that I can point to that I enjoy more, and similarly there’s no one thing about Apple that I cite as driving me away. Instead, it’s a wide swath of factors. Apple’s over-reliance and misunderstanding of the evolving Cloud paradigm is troublesome, while Google’s complete ownership of that area is something that’s so good, I forget that it exists and take it wildly for granted. And while it’s cliched to say it at this point, Apple’s closed shop nature is something that just seems so incredibly archaic and ancient at this point as opposed to the openness and hackability of Android devices or Google services. Perhaps running a Super Nintendo emulator on my Nexus isn’t the best example, but I could never go back to an iOS device now without something that cool.
Is that to say that Apple has lost their cool factor? Maybe. OSX is no longer the novelty that it once was, and instead feels like a common utility or appliance in the same way that Windows 98 once was. iOS has also become something that feels like big clunky Duplo blocks in comparison to the complex Legos of Android. There’s a place for it, but only for a certain demographic or select place on a smaller shelf.
I hesitate to use the fanboy term in either context here, as I’m still a fan of whatever innovative thing that both Google or Apple come up with. However, lately, I confess to finding more usefulness and delight at what Google has been up to. Stuff like Google Glass may be a pipedream better reserved for the likes of Tony Stark, but the fact that Google is trying something so ambitiously ridiculous in the face of Apple’s slowly iterative process certainly makes me pay far more attention to them these days.