Well, it looks like I’m making a big leap here in the near future.
I know what you’re thinking.
And yes, fatherhood is a giant leap for sure. And i’m very excited about that.
But that’s not what I’m talking about right now.
I’m going to switch to Google from Apple. Specifically, Android from iOS.
I did try Android briefly a couple of years ago with the first-generation Moto X.
And there were things I did like about it. The hardware was cool. I liked the ubiquity of using Google everything and it being the default for everything out of the box.
But there were some pretty big downsides as well. Notably the following.
TOO MANY CHOICES. Launchers, and Lockscreens and Themes, OH MY! I got caught up in all of the changes I could make.
That may still be a slight temptation for me, but now I think I’d be pretty ready for it. Once I find one I like (Probably the stock one or Nova Launcher), I’ll get to a point where I just like how it is. Also, I will absolutely make an attempt to keep everything Stock Google as possible, for the sake of the out-of-the-box ubiquity and unity.
The other downside was that I was suddenly a green bubble to all of my friends. And that sucked. And the SMS and messaging was a convoluted mess on Android. But this was also over two years ago, and I’m hoping (and it appears) that Google has gotten their crap together with Allo and Duo and I have high hopes that they’ll figure it out. There are even some reasonably sophisticated ways to get SMS through my laptop now that don’t on the surface at least seem really chintzy.
So it is not without some reluctance that I move toward switching, because I know that there are some things that Apple does do better.
But right now, from what I can see, the entirety of the user experience and the ubiquity thereof would/will be better with Google, particularly in the following areas:
Maps. Won’t spend a lot of time here. Apple’s Maps has indeed gotten better over time. ALMOST to the point where it would almost be considered worth releasing opposite Google Maps. But in the meantime Google Maps has gotten even better and smarter, so Apple Maps still feels more outdated, both from a user experience perspective as well as still having more missing, outdated or wrong information.
Photos. Apple Photos is abysmal. I have an iPhone SE and a brand new, maxed-out Macbook Pro, as well as 150+Mbps internet connection at both my home and office.
It’s basically an IDEAL connected scenario for Apple Photos to work brilliantly for me.
And yet, It’s a trainwreck.
Not only is the syncing ALWAYS at least a day behind, but even when I go back to find an image from 2 years ago, despite having AMPLE hard drive space to physically store all of my library on my own laptop hard drive, they’re tucked away in the cloud, and 9 times out of ten the image just never loads in the app for me to download the original resolution file.
For the last 6 months, I have resorted to going to iCloud.com to download any photos I need from my Photos library.
Which brings me to Google Photos.
Faster interface and loading, more reliable syncing and backing up, and a streets-ahead search function are all true for Google Photos app. The biggest gripe I have had with them for a while has been the lack of a mac desktop counterpart app.
BUT it turns out Apple Photos is SO bad that they actually leveled the playing field with Google by essentially having me resort to web-only photo management on my laptop anyway.
Did I mention that Google Drive storage space is cheaper than iCloud or Dropbox? Did I also mention that Google Pixel users actually get free unlimited full-resolution storage of their Google Photos?
Another aspect of this is just the direction of the companies.
Apple, quite simply, is just lagging behind.
The most recent set of announcements from Microsoft and Apple really betrayed the fact that it’s now Apple that’s basically bunting with small, infrequent, incremental advances and Microsoft is the one boldly forging forward with great ideas (Like the Microsoft Surface Studio)
And what’s in the future for mobile? Ask any technologist and you’ll hear two answers for sure: AI Assistance, and Virtual Reality.
Google is ALREADY owning Apple in the first one, and Apple hasn’t even BEGUN to tackle the second one.
Is the grand future of computing a Touchbar instead of a Function key row? No. It’s not.
Touch is the future of computing. And Apple is even lagging behind on how they’re expanding that compared to Microsoft.
That’s honestly something I never thought I would say.
And no I’m not ok with switching to a Window machine right now. A bit too scared to do that.
And that’s ok, because on the laptop side, Apple devices are much more easily “set up” for Google use than iPhones and iPads are.
So I’m perfectly content with my 2015 Macbook Pro.
So, yeah Google, let’s do this.
BONUS HUMILIATING CONFESSION.
When Apple started making their larger phones, I railed against it. And I stand by my ideas. And at that time, I was a 3 device guy. Phone, Tablet, Laptop. But some time has passed and I’ve noticed something. If I got a bigger phone, I would eliminate my need for a tablet at all. I rarely used mine (before I gave it to my wife). I like having it in meetings when I don’t want to be distracted by laptop. But my phone is ALMOST good enough to use instead of a tablet, except that because it’s an iPhone SE, the screen is quite small.
So, I have made peace about having a larger phone. Not sure if I will go for the XL size Pixel or anything, but this mental exercise and assent felt important enough to mention.
My question to you…