Altering An Allegiance to Apple

It’s no secret I’ve been a big proponent of Apple since Anthony and I started DyscultureD – both the podcast and this blog. I’m a big fan of pretty much everything they do. So much so, I’m usually able to tolerate the little things that they do that are minor annoyances from time to time.

But I’ve noticed that my loyalty is starting to waver. In that last paragraph alone, I used terms such as “pretty much”,”usually able to tolerate” and “little things that they do that are minor annoyances from time to time.” The problem is that the terms are quickly changing to “some of”,”getting weary” and “many things that they do that are becoming increasingly irritating on a regular basis.”

Not good, Apple.

There’s talk of a tablet, which may or not be true (more on Apple rumours in a future post), and I’m hoping that they don’t go that route. I want a netbook, not a tablet. I already have one of those – it’s called an iPhone. As a writer, I want a small laptop that has an ACTUAL keyboard and lets me get what I need to get done in a familiar way. I don’t want a tablet – and while some higher-end users (read: those with lots of disposable income) will pick one up, I certainly won’t. I’ll go out and buy that item I do want – at a much lower price.

Apple is becoming a victim of its own hype. We’ve all seen the parody of Feist’s “1,2,3,4” and it hits the nail right on the head. Innovation doesn’t always have to be about introducing something new to replace something that’s not-so-new. I still have a first generation iPhone and can’t see myself upgrading anytime soon. My iPhone works just fine, thank you very much. If it didn’t run the software I need, then I’d be in the market for a 3G or 3GS, but it does. iPhone innovation is being championed not just by Steve & Company, but by many people – namely the iPhone App developers. The App Store is the major innovation at this point – the hardware is just creating more opportunity for further innovation on the software end. The software available makes the iPhone less limiting a device (mind you, apple doesn’t help itself by blocking apps, but that’s been covered elsewhere and I don’t want to go too much Dennis miller on you).

Don’t get me wrong – I love my MacBook Pro and what I’ve got as far as Apple products go right now. But over the past couple of years I’ve dumped some software/features for something better/more suitable for my needs. They include:

  • Mail.app (switched to Gmail & Google Reader for RSS feeds)
  • Pages (switched to Scrivener & Google Docs)
  • Safari (switched to Flock…and playing with Chrome)
  • iCal (switched to Google Calendar)
  • MobileMe (CHILD, PLEASE!!)
  • iDisk (switched to Dropbox)
  • iWeb (switched to RapidWeaver or good ol’ WordPress)
  • Stickies (switched to Evernote)
  • Spotlight (Quicksilver – even in 10.6 it still works well for me)

And on the bubble…

  • iTunes (definitely improved with iTunes 9, but Spotify has me intrigued if it ever arrives in Canada)

I even tried Pathfinder over Finder, but just couldn’t wrap my head around it in my limited time using it.  That said, I’m still open to give it another whirl.

Apple made a 12″ PowerBook that has been sorely missed since it was discontinued when Intel chipsets were introduced to the portable line.  Sure, the new 13″ MacBook Pro is close, but it’s still 1 inch too big.  Or in the case of what they need to make for a netbook, about 3-4 inches too big.

My suggestion to Apple is that if you want to expand your reach, appeal to the masses.  Coca-Cola stopped shipping Cherry Coke to Canada for a reason: no one bought enough of it (although I did my best).  When Coke Blak was around, I sure didn’t see any “suits” drinking it instead of Starbucks.  That’s why it faded to “blak.”

The netbook market is where it’s at.  Apple…make a GREAT netbook.  Make it impossible to ignore and impossible to even believe.  Then price it accordingly.  Win THAT market.  Save the tablet for another day.  For many of us, a tablet would be about as useful as the ones Moses had on Mt. Sinai – and just as fragile.

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