Shields Down

Why I’m No Longer a Die-Hard Apple User

Something just occurred to me as I’m sitting here holding my 3–month old son, reading the book Competing Against Luck, the thesis for the Jobs To Be Done theory. I began thinking about how disappointed I am with Apple lately — and you need to understand, this is the company whose products I’ve used since I was old enough to talk; who I’ve championed, defended, and evangelized — and the question I had was this:

What of Apple’s products is truly superior for helping me get my job(s) done?

I mean, sure, I genuinely prefer the user experience I get with Apple’s OSes — macOS and iOS. And yeah, Apple’s industrial design takes a backseat to no one.

But it used to be that, despite having significantly lower market share and user base, Apple’s products were superior — especially in certain segments and for certain things. (Desktop publishing, for example, was one of Apple’s core markets.) I used to use Apple stuff because it was better — it was insanely great.

Granted, both my lifestyle and technological needs have changed quite a bit in the past few years. I no longer design full time as part of my job, for instance. I mostly read and write now. In fact, I’m typing these very words on an iPad Pro, which I’ve used more in the past couple of weeks than my 12-inch MacBook.

The world has changed, too. Most of our digital selves are now stored, and are accessible in, the cloud. And because of that the devices we use today are similar to the networked client computers of the late 90’s: remote experiences accessing a centralized computer. Even 5 years ago that wasn’t the case. Data loss because of a stolen phone or laptop was a big worry and problem.

But I find myself having a hard time answering that question above. I can’t think of anything — especially when considering Apple software — that I consider vastly superior to the alternatives I could employ to get the job done. Maybe Keynote? Font management? The OS itself?

Which leads me to the another question, which is even more surprising for me:

Why am I still using Apple products?

Wow. I can’t believe I’m really having to ask myself that question.

Taking out the more subjective and wishy-washy factors like “user experience” and “brand” and “nostalgia”, I guess it boils down to three main things:

1. I align with Apple’s stance on privacy

When I look at Google or Microsoft, and if I’m being honest, their product lines and ecosystems look pretty great, especially lately. But I cannot stand the notion that for most of what Google provides, I become the product, and the advertiser becomes the customer.

2. I’m locked in

For decades I’ve used Apple hardware and software, and now more than ever I’m dependent on the ecosystem of apps from the Apple App Store(s). Most of the apps I use and love either don’t have versions on other platforms, or have crummy ported counterparts. (One example off the top of my head is Twitter, and for it, Tweetbot.)

3. The cost of switching

It’s hard work, and takes a lot of resources (including money) to change the foundational platform of a digital lifestyle. I’m just not sure I’m up for it given I have a wife, four kids, and a budding startup to help lead.


There may be other reasons I haven’t thought of, but those are the ones that immediately came to mind. And obviously, I do really prefer the user experiences I get with macOS and iOS, despite their many, many… many (gosh, doesn’t it seem like more than ever?) flaws.

All that said, I don’t feel like I’m close to switching to an Android phone or Windows Surface Book. But, unlike in years past, my shields are down. I’m no longer closed off to the idea.