Apple hardware & Google software — it just works

I love Apple products– I really do. I’ve been an Apple user since 1983 and although I’ve had brief forays into the land of Windows for work — I’m still at home with a Mac and iPhone.

That’s why it hurts a little to tell you that the best mobile and desktop experience is Apple hardware with Google software. Steve Jobs famously said that the combination of elegantly integrated Apple hardware and software “just works”, except it doesn’t anymore. Outside of OS X and iOS operating systems themselves– Apple’s native software is a hot mess:

– The recently launched Apple Music and iTunes have been described by leading external Apple developers as a “toxic hellstew” of broken UI, glitchy cloud services and corrupted music libraries. Jim Dalrymple calls Apple Music a “nightmare” — and I’d have to agree. As an alternative, I’d like to suggest Google Play Music. It’s a free service that allows you to store 50,000 of your own tracks in the cloud and has its own Apple Music-like streaming service for $11.99 per month. My experience of the free version so far is that it just works across all of my devices — especially on the iPhone where I would normally listen to music.

– Apple Photos is a decent upgrade to the crufty iPhoto, but it falls behind the newly launched Google Photos in a few key areas. iCloud storage for Photos comes out of your pool of total iCloud storage — and at $9.99 a month for 500 GB, its well behind competitors. In my experience it’s not nearly enough for six years of iPhone photos — not to mention video. Also, the iCloud storage has to share with other services like Apple Music.

Google Photos meanwhile has unlimited storage for free (if you’re willing to accept some minor compression) and includes some incredible AI pattern recognition that allows me to search for “cats” in my photos and bring up all pictures of cats. Robert A. Heinlein coined the phrase “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” and his ghost would like me to tell you that Google may use the information in your photos to target advertising to you. Do you have lots of pictures of cats? Expect to see ads for Cat Chow — it’s an acceptable tradeoff for me, it may not be for you.

I could go on and compare the rest of the product stack, Google Drive and iCloud Drive, Google Office and iWork, Google Maps and Apple Maps — I’ll keep this short by just saying stating that the Google versions all work better on Apple hardware than the Apple native software.

Yes, I’ve tried Android phones — and there are some things I like (one touch Google Now access) but the truth is that no Android phone beats Apple hardware for battery life, performance and usability. I’ll continue to be an Apple lover with a full stack of Google Software.

I am the creator and community manager of VideoSift.com and write at BrianHouston.org

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