So Long, Apple.
Every single article I've read online about people switching over to Windows and loving it, feels almost like a sponsored ad by Microsoft.
I am writing this to share a 100% raw and honest opinion of my experience after having switched, why I did it, and how it’s been so far.
Oh Apple, why did you change so much (and yet, so little)?
I was 16 when I bought my first Mac, well over a decade ago. It was a powerful machine that outperformed the competition with top-of-the-line components, and an OS that felt light years ahead of any other at the time.
Until last month I was running on a 2011 (you read it right) i7 2.2, 15" MBP, upgraded with 16GB RAM, and a 250GB SSD. The newest 15" MBP costs $2,399 and shares nearly identical specs. What’s really new? Retina display, touch bar, and thunderbolt ports. Retina display and thunderbolt ports are nice to have, but nothing I can’t do without. How much has changed in 6 years time? Not much when it comes to Macs, but when it comes to Apple, pretty much everything.
Apple has shifted its focus almost entirely towards the mobile market. I get it. In today’s world everything is mobile. It’s not the future anymore, it’s the present. The mobile market has overtaken the tech industry, and soon all other platforms will be a thing of the past. But what about creators? What about innovation? It’s a numbers game now.
Products to compete, not to please
Alright, so Steve Jobs was a dick (he was), but he sure as hell knew how to run a company. He knew the backbone of his business was to create products that would offer a unique experience for the client. It was all about the experience. He wanted to be better, not bigger. And he was. And he became the biggest as a consequence. This is a vision Apple has now lost.
Apple is now pushing hard to outsell the competition in the mobile market, and they have lost their creativity in the process. They’re betting heavy on iOS and the iPhone as if it was their only means for survival, and all other aspects are being neglected. New Macs aren't the best tool for creators anymore. They are underpowered, and only work because of how efficient their optimized software is. This isn't innovation. Sure, Final Cut exports in a fraction of the time as Premiere, but what if I like Premiere? What if I want to dual boot my Mac with another OS? What if I want 32GB of RAM in 2 years time on a machine I've spent $3k on? They used to make a unique, high quality tool that would fit your needs, and that came at a price. Now it’s just a luxury product, period. Who asked for a f**king touch bar?
Things have changed for Windows
Ten years ago I couldn't touch a Windows machine. Today, it hurts to admit there’s even a few things Windows does better than macOS, but most importantly, my new machine feels 2017. Windows is not what it used to be. It’s not what I would like it to be either, but it has come a long way.
I’ll be honest and say that to this day, macOS (OS X) is still the king of operating systems. Apple has barely done anything to it in nearly three years (you probably couldn't tell the difference between Yosemite and Sierra at a glance) and as much a lack of interest that reflects on Apple’s part, it might even be a good thing. At least it’s still a damn good platform. I’d be lying if I said I didn't try to make my new machine a hackintosh PC. I refused to use Windows so much I even tried 2 Linux distros (I won’t get too into it but nothing really worked. With the hackintosh method, half the ports on my motherboard were’t recognized, I had no sound and graphics were constantly glitching out. And Linux… well Linux is like driving stick; it’s fun for a while until you run into traffic. After some time it gets to the point in which you really wish you could just install things with a few simple clicks).
As a result I ended up firing up a copy of Windows 10 and giving it a go. I’m still not crazy about it but I can definitely say that I can work with it in a comfortable way. Moreover, I’m certain it wont be long before I don’t miss macOS much. The gap between the two operating systems is narrowing by the minute, and truth be told, the few advantages macOS has to offer over Windows 10 are no longer worth the money.
For starters, Windows 10 is blazing fast. It feels faster than macOS ever did on any of my Macs. Sure this is a new rig, but my Macs were also new at some point, and they were high-end machines. I remember when Winzip was an absolute necessity to even get started with Windows, and so were many other programs. These days there’s not much you need to install to be able to work. No Microsoft Office? WordPad’s got you covered. Need more? Google Docs is just a few clicks away. You see, so many things are now available through a browser, the need to pay for and install specific software for basic functionality within an OS has almost disappeared. This puts macOS at a disadvantage already.
In Windows 10 you can now easily mount a disk image. This used to be a problem. Compatibility between drives and operating systems is also no longer an issue with the exFAT format. This too used to be a nuisance a few years back. If that wasn't enough, there’s such a plethora of free applications now, you are likely to find a free software solution for nearly any of your needs with just a couple minutes of research.
A few additional features that stood out to me were: the implementation of “Spaces”, or additional desktops as in macOS (something I can’t do without); Configuring a multi-monitor setup is a breeze; And finally, driver installation, which now seems to be nearly a thing of the past. Every single device on my setup was automatically recognized out of the box, which I found surprising and was extremely pleased with.
On the downside of things, navigating through your installed apps is pretty mediocre, as not all of them show up on the “recently added” list in the Start Menu and will be filed under the developers name, which is confusing. Occasionally you will find yourself having to browse for them manually with File Explorer since some applications simply don’t show up in the the Start Menu at all. Some apps won’t even show under the search bar results either.
Lastly, what I found the most obnoxious is how much of a data-mining whore Windows 10 is. You have to disable a ton of options to avoid sharing your data — including what you type. And after installing a new browser, you need to manually opt-out of getting personalized ads on each one by going to choice.microsoft.com and deactivating this feature. Very annoying.
Ok so when I said maybe I liked Premiere before, I meant I like to keep my options open. Really, I couldn't wait to get away from the Adobe Suite. If you are paying for it and don’t really use it for a month or two, it feels like a money drain. Downloading and patching it is always a hassle, and Creative Cloud won’t get off your back afterwards. Using pirated software is also kind of obsolete given the newer, and very competitive alternatives available today with a reasonable price tag.
I have successfully replaced most of my applications with decent Windows alternatives, and even shelled out a few bucks to keep things as legit and clean as possible. Another drawback that I've had to come to terms with is how much of a problem malware is with Windows. If you want to keep your system clean, steer clear from cracked software and “free” apps from questionable sources (it’s sad how many programs serve you a malware cocktail when installed. You really need to know what you’re downloading).
Here I will name some of my core-app alternatives for anyone who is also making the switch (all free and clean):
- Lightshot (for screenshots, but Windows now comes with “Snipping Tool” built in as well)
- Polarr (best “Preview” equivalent, for quick image viewing, resizing and batch converting)
- MusicBee (music player)
- Deluge (bittorrent client)
- Fontbase (font manager)
- Cyberduck (FTP client)
- Atom (text editor)
- Seer (adds “spacebar preview” function on Mac for images to Windows)
- 1Clipboard (clipboard history manager)
Additional software notes:
- Switched from 1Password to Enpass for password management (it’s free and works great).
- Switched from Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator & Premiere) to Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer (which I gladly paid for), and the free version of DaVinci Resolve.
- Got Malwarebytes because Windows Defender isn't quite enough.
Naturally, many of you might be familiar with most of this software as several of these apps are multi-platform, but I thought I’d still mention it just in case.
Windows 10 has much room for improvement, but Microsoft is actively working on polishing the OS pushing updates and migrating the old architecture into the new interface. Apple seems to have stopped active development of their OS since 10.10, and while the system remains solid, it will soon lag behind the competition in terms of features and speed. This has made it easier to transition now than ever before.
Ultimately, I have to say it is truly with a heavy heart I bid farewell to all things Apple. iOS (which I was never fond of ) feels like the “lite” version of a mobile OS that’s missing all the Pro features. And macOS, as much as I enjoy it, is no longer a smart choice due to its overpriced, restrictive and underwhelming hardware. When you buy a new machine it should feel like an investment, not like you’re squandering money.
And on that note: So long, Apple. It was good while it lasted.