Confesions of a ‘Mac Fag’

14 08.Oct.2011

How I got into Apple, and the initial Honeymoon

I’ve had a 4 year long love affair with Apple products, I watch each press conference with anticipation of new and shiny innovations that I never knew I needed but in some unexplainable way, know I can never live without again.
It all started with an innocent shopping trip with an ex of mine. This is going to sound pathetic on my part, but this is what happened. She was extremely anti-apple, and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t pro apple at the time. I was staying up with her in Scotland at the time, it was my Birthday, and we went out shopping. I showed some little interest in this new iPod Touch gizmo, I liked the idea of being able to run these new ‘app’ things that were appearing and thought it would be quite nifty. As she was off looking at whatever she was looking at, I was playing around with this new thing, and really wanted it. Fuck it, it’s my Birthday, I’ll treat myself. I took the box up to the counter, and as I was in the queue, she comes up to meet me. “Whatcha getting?” she enquires, “One of these iPod Touch things” I reply. It was then she gave me The Look. Every guy knows what I’m talking about, it’s that look that says “Put it back, right now”. She joked that I was going to be looking for a hotel if I bought that, I’m not entirely 100% sure why, but I really didn’t fancy pushing my luck and ending up being homeless that evening. Plus, being a young geek besotted by female company for the first time, I put it back. In retrospect, I bet she wasn’t serious at all. So, what is the most Passive Aggressive man on the planet gonna do? Straight onto eBay so it’s waiting for me when I get home. Yes, this is quite pathetic, but that’s how this love affair with Apple started. Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have given a damn if she was indifferent to me getting it.
So I get home a week or so later to find my first taste of Apple Lust waiting for me. It’s fantastic, it can do all my music, all my videos, it’s an amazing PDA, I used it to piss about on the web (my phone was shit at that, at the time). I found the calendar actually made me remember and turn up for things on time.
From there, a good little while onwards, it was time for my contract to re-new, and Apple had just released the “iPhone 3Gs”. It made sense really, this little gizmo I used all the time only with a phone attachment. Besides, I’d safe half the price by flogging the iPod Touch that I no longer needed.
It was then a couple of years ago when I came into a few quid, and decided to take the relationship to the next level. They had just announced the new Macbook Pros for the year, so I went with the 17 inch one (that I’m typing this on now), and the brand spanking new iPad came out too, which I just simply had to have. I justified it as a business expense, I was going to create that ‘app’ that was going to pay for my house one day. That never happened, but I found web development so much easier, and with that it helped me secure the best job I’m ever likely to have.

The iPad is an amazing device, I can read websites, books, contact details, films, movies, games and so much more… while on the tube. On a decent screen. Whenever I took it to the local café, people would start conversations with me, it truly filled a niche that I never knew existed. I can honestly say I use it every day and love it.
A little bit on from there came the iPhone 4, and it’s an amazing phone, the best one I’ve ever used. I justified the early-upgrade costs, by recouping most of it by selling my no longer needed 3GS. I upped the contract price to compensate a discount for the phone.

My gripe with the ‘iPhone 4s’

The thing is, now with the ‘iPhone 4s’, the upgrade is minimal. Sure, you’ve got an extra 3 megapixel camera with better optics, but does that really matter if you’re not going to print? The camera is fine as it is. The new features with iOS5 are fantastic, but I’ve had them for a good 4 months now, so they’re not ‘new’ to me. The improved processor won’t make much of a difference unless you play high-graphic games, websites currently load more than fast enough. The new ‘Siri’ looks good, really good, but that is the only thing that I think I could take away from the upgrade.

And it’ll keep me in a contract that costs me around £65/month by the time you include insurance, tethering, extra 1gb of data.

Also it means, by the time the contract is finished in 18-24 months, given the fact that the phone has been out for a good 18 months already, I’ll have, esenchally a 3 year old phone. I wanted a bigger screen, I wanted widgets, I wanted things that other phones all seem to have. I wanted something ‘new’. After staying with apple for 2 generations of iPhone, it’s keeping to principles and design that they’ve kept to from the start…. I don’t want someone to just repaint my flat, I want someone to knock it down and start again.
Apple’s ethos has always been “It doesn’t matter how powerful a machine is, all that matters is what you can do with it”, and they’re not adding anything new with these hardware upgrades. I’m pretty sure that Siri would work on iPhone 4 too, considering that all the hard work is done ‘in the cloud’, but then why would anyone upgrade at all?

So, my contract is up for upgrade next month, what do I do?

I don’t like Blackberry, I know lots of people do, but I don’t. So that leaves two options, Android and Windows Phone 7. I find Android to be a little bit under polished, the styling and design is inconsistent, although I do like the look of HTC Sense… an overlay of Android that HTC use. I like the idea that anything the phone can do, the phone can do. I mean, there are no limitations on developers. There is never a situation where a developer thinks “The machine can handle doing X, but I can’t because Y won’t let me”.
I’ve been looking at Windows Phone 7, and you know what? I really like it. The ‘metro’ UI looks really handy, the whole tiles thing is good too. They’ve re-thought how we use and consume data, and will be doing more so with ‘Windows 8’ for desktop/tablet. I’m not a complete fan of the complete monotone styling, but it’s not bad per-se.

So, Pauly Pops, what are you going for?

I’ve decided after much browsing of the internet and watching videos, to go for the “HTC Titan”. It has a 4.7” screen, which would look magnificent, and as the phone isn’t much bigger than the screen, it’s still very pocket-able. There is an android equivalent with Dr Dre’s “Beats Audio” (an amazing sound system), but I want to give this Windows Phone 7 a shot, I think the change would be good. Development on the WP7 uses technologies that I already know too, which makes potential for making things a lot higher.

I also like that it works with the Xbox 360, so would be wicked to control my telly with it. I hope I haven’t made a mistake that I’m locked into for 18 months, but my monthly contract will be halfed, and any expenses with the upgrade will be more than covered by selling my iPhone 4… although I might keep it too, for development. Not entirely sure on that one, but I could get £250 for it, which is better than it sitting in a cupboard gathering dust.

Here are a couple of videos that have swung it for me.

Just a quick note about Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, passed away this week after a long battle with Pancratic Cancer. I’m gutted as someone can be by someone who they’ve never meet, but really admired. He truly is a great thinker of our time, who has changed the way we purchase and consume media on so many levels. He was an industry-hero of mine, and I really hope Apple can continue motivating and innovating the way they have.

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