My first computer was an Apple IIe. I remember it had a teeny color monitor and a humongous keyboard/computer combo that it sat on top of. I also remember not really using it too much beyond a winter olympics program and thinking that the programming program, logo, was really stupid (honestly, I think logo set me back 10 years on coding, probably stumping whatever hacking/cracking prodigy I could have been at the time). It was followed closely by a Macintosh LC… which had they keyboard separated from the computer piece and a bigger monitor. I remember being so excited when I got a color 3-pass scanner and a color inkjet printer and finding out that it took my little LC about 3 days to scan a page from omni at full resolution. The LC also marks my forays into the Internet with a 14,400 bps modem and america online. After the LC, I had a powerbook 520 for most of grade school and the beginning of high school and a Performa 6300 CD to get me through high school. The Performa ended up going to college with me, as did one of my brothers hand-me-down gateways. After the hand-me-down gateway showed that it would have trouble handling windows 2000 and eventually XP, I built my own box out of components at a local store, when 256 megs of RAM was the most expensive thing at about $300. I also took an old box and converted it to Linux as it was conducive to the *Nix systems I was learning to program-on at school. The Performa sort of fell by the wayside and collected dust, and eventually ended up being used by my grandfather to entertain my younger cousins and help do some graphics work.
I always held a torch for Apple, thinking that OS 6, 7, 8, and 9 were always the nicest, prettiest and easiest systems compared to Windows and *NIX systems. So I was thrilled when Steve Jobs rolled back up to Cupertino and the computer labs at my university started to fill up with quiet iMacs and students started carrying colorful iBooks with them. I loved OSX’s secure and powerful Linuxey roots. I squeed at the Apple Store’s shinyness. I started following all the releases and lusted after 3G chips and eventually 4G chips. I eventually got my G4 Powerbook 12″ and my iPod video, bought Eric a few iPods, colluded to get a friend an iPhone and had friends collude to get me a core 2 duo macbook. I remember the long screeds I wrote on various forums about how cool the iPhone was. I podcast on my macbook and can rattle off a few really cool things I did on it for friends and family.
But then, Apple started to become a real dick company. I feel like it started with the iPhone and really solidified with the iPad. I’d always heard about Steve Jobs’ legendary asshole-ery in private but the success of the iPhone and iPad I feel gave Jobs and Apple license to fire their PR firm. They moved from quirky “think different” ads and mildly snarky “well, we feel we are less likely to piss you off” Windows comparisons to flat out “we are the best damned thing in the universe” aggrandizement. All the SDK’s for iOS were for-pay and OSX-only. Maybe the cash flow and success got to them, maybe Apple just caught the dick company bug from AT&T, but I found myself liking them less and less.
The final straw was the patent pimping. Apple has several patents on phones and tablets, they don’t have the most… Microsoft has the most… but what few (and spurious) patents Apple does have they are using to try and dick over other technology companies. They are constantly in lawsuits with makers of Android phones and tablets to try and get injunctions against their sale around the globe. The patent system is not intended to be used in that way. It’s designed to let the patent owner go “I thought of this nuance first, if you want to use it, you need to give me a nominal fee” not “I thought of this nuance first, you can’t ever use it because I don’t like you and/or you threaten my market share”. This was emphasized back when all the car companies were trying to use their patents to mess each other over, judges simply started throwing out such cases and forced the companies to go into rooms and work out licensing deals… much like they are doing to Apple now (thank goodness).
The patent system does not let you patent the mouse trap, it lets you patent your version of the mousetrap. If someone else makes a mousetrap that is better, then you are SOL… but innovation won out. Sort of like when MS Windows won out over Mac OS because it was cheaper and could run on non-pricey not-Apple hardware, much to Steve Jobs’ chagrin. The final patent point I want to make is that Microsoft had the power to really screw Apple over with it’s mountain of phone and tablet PC patents, but they didn’t, they instead chose to just make money off Apple and wish them luck.
Either way, Apple’s shenanigans affected me directly. I never ended up getting an iPhone because I am very loyal to Sprint and Apple got to them last. I ended up falling in love with the HTC Android phones, and when it came time to replace my Evo 4G with an Evo 4G LTE, I had to wait even longer for my pre-ordered phone because the Evo 4G LTEs got held up in customs due to an injunction Apple filed against HTC way back in April 2012.
It’s just bad business. Me not being able to get my Evo didn’t make me want to go get an iPhone instead… I would have gotten anything but an Apple product just to spite Apple. I’m not going to say I’ll never get another Apple product again (most of my music is tied up in iTunes, and Garageband and iMovie/Final Cut on OS-X are the best podcast/movie editors I’ve run across)*, but I no longer feel the need to get the shiniest, newest apple within 2 months of a release. I feel like I’m probably just going to replace what I have by buying the old computers from people who were upgrading to something newer. I also expect Apple to take a lot of rough hits over the next couple of years, as the biggest companies always seem to lose focus due to swelling waves of middle management that stifle and drive away talent.
I no longer carry the torch for Apple. They aren’t something to be proud of anymore.
*Edit Aug 2012: Yeah, Samsung vs Apple trial verdict today… Right now I just don’t see myself even replacing the macbook.