I recently switched from using a Windows PCs and Android phones to all-Apple products, all the time.
My new iPhone 5 and MacBook Pro are definitely really cool.
But when I was a PC/Android user (with an Acer laptop and phones by HTC and Samsung), Apple fans gave me the impression that angels sang every time they opened a MacBook, and that I’d never want to go back to the intolerably uncool world outside the iPhone.
Instead, I was surprised to learn that some parts of the Apple universe are a few steps behind the pace. Using Apple gadgets actually made my life harder, in some ways.
In Android, whenever you get lost you just hit the menu button and you get a bunch of options -- such as settings -- to help you fix whatever you want to change.
There's no menu button on iPhone. Instead, the home button mostly pulls you out of whatever you are doing and drops you back on your home screen.
Sure, many of the apps and menus inside iPhone have a 'back' button. But it's not the same. In iPhone, you have to get used to taking the long way around.
In iPhone, if you want to phone someone you're texting with, you have to scroll all the way up to the top of the message chain to hit the call button. In Android, you just tap the person's name anywhere and a call option pops up.
My new iPhone 5 may be made out of pretty metal, but it scratches easily.
And although I'm told that the rate at which the iPhone screen smashes is small, the world seems to be filled with busted iPhone screens, even among my own colleagues.
Yes, all smartphones can get dings and scratches, but I liked that my old Android phone was made of plastic, which made it more resistant to wear and tear.
I like my iPhone. It's nice and thin and heavy. I don't want to spoil its look with a rubber iPhone case. They look ridiculous.
So I have to be very, very careful with my iPhone, and I sometimes end up holding it with two hands.
A whole generation has grown up making calls on nothing but the iPhone, and these folks have no idea just how bad iPhone calls are. They think that's just how phones sound.
My new iPhone 5 is on the same network as my old HTC and Samsung phones. Those Androids had such crisp call quality that I did live broadcast radio interviews on them rather than use the hardline in my office.
No more -- everyone I call now complains that I sound like I'm calling from a bathroom. And people who call me on an iPhone sound like they're on the bottom of the sea.
The first time I used my iPhone I was plunged back in time to the early 2000s, when primitive humanoids were forced to peck out messages one letter at a time on their keyboards.
Swype, a special keyboard that can predict text better than the iPhone keyboard and makes typing faster, is built into many Android phones. If it isn't, you have the option to download Swype from Google's app store and install it on your phone.
Apple wants your Apple password for EVERYTHING, every time you download an app. Even a free copy of Bejeweled.
Most Android owners know what this is: It's the battery you see when you pop the back off your phone.
In PC laptops it's the same: you can switch batteries whenever you want.
It's awesome for travellers -- just take a spare battery and your machines can last for days.
But Apple doesn't allow you to open its machines to change the battery. So if your battery dies, you're screwed.
To be fair, the battery lives on my MacBooks and iPhone are pretty good.
But on the iPhone in particular, I've learned to switch off a lot of the functionality -- wireless and screen brightness, for instance -- to make sure the thing lasts all day.
With my Android, I could take a spare battery if I was travelling beyond a power outlet. Can't do that with the iPhone.
Advanced Task Killer is one of the most popular Android apps -- it shuts off all your apps at once. iPhone users have no idea what Advanced Task Killer is.
On iPhone, you have to switch off every single app individually, by hand. It. Takes. A. Really. Long. Time.
(Of course, there's no need to kill iPhone apps unless they're stalled, but still ... some of us just want them off.)
Apple redesigned the power/data cable on the iPhone 5, so that it's unique to the iPhone 5.
This means that if my phone runs out of juice in a place where there are no other iPhone 5 users, I can't add power to my phone.
This innovation costs iPhone 5 users $30.
For years I happily shuffled my mp3's between various machines, until I got a Mac. Then I discovered iTunes banned me from hearing my own music until I de-authorised one of the five other Mac devices that I'd previously used somewhere along the way.
It's easy to log in on five different machines -- your iPhone, your iPod, a work Mac, a home Mac, perhaps an iPad -- and then you're out of machines.
I had to go back and de-authorise old Macs I'd used at previous employers.
Amazon, by contrast, lets you play music you've bought from it on 10 different machines.
However, Apple does give you the option to pay a bit more for some songs and let you put them on as many computers as you'd like.
The most infuriating part of iTunes was when it declined to play any files it couldn't find rights-management codes for.
I had to ghost these onto a CD, and then re-ghost them back into iTunes -- so Apple thinks they're from a CD I bought -- just to hear them again.
This is my music, that I own, and I paid for, and yet Apple controls where I can listen to it.
To delete text on my Mac, I have to 'drive' my cursor past the words I want to delete, and then back-delete them.
It's like going the long way round the block just to visit next door.
This sounds trivial, but anyone who has to edit a lot of text knows that a forward delete button is invaluable.
This is one of the most counter-intuitive parts of the Mac OS: If you highlight a file on the desktop and hit 'return,' it doesn't open. (On PCs, this is how you open files.)
On a Mac, hitting 'return' on a file allows you to change the filename. Given that you need to change filenames far less often than you need to open files, this just feels like bad user-interface design.
The simple USB thumb drive is one of the best, most under-rated invention of the last decade. Yet if you try to transfer data to an Apple using a USB drive formatted on a PC, you might be out of luck. Certain USB formats don't work fully on Mac.
There are some really great apps that have been available for years on PCs that can't be used on Macs. I really miss IrfanView, the super-simple, super-fast photo-editing software for people who can't be bothered with Photoshop.
Look at the way the function, control, option and command keys are placed right next to each other on the MacBook keyboard.
I've been using my Mac for a year now and I still hit the wrong function key several times a day, plunging me into 'Mission Control' or 'page up' or some other unwanted destination.
On PCs, the function keys are offset from each other both vertically AND horizontally, so you can tell by touching them which one you've landed on.
On PCs, PDF files just open into your browser like web pages. Everyone uses Adobe Acrobat to open them.
But because Apple has its own PDF viewer, Preview, you never know what's going to happen when you hit a PDF link on the web. Will it open like a web page? Will it download directly into your download folder? Will you need to change the filename suffix? Will it do nothing?
Who knows! It's Preview!
I'm told I can fix this by using Chrome instead of Safari -- but isn't it weird that I need to use a Google browser to get an Apple machine to work properly?
File under too clever for its own good: Apple changed the sensitivity of the caps lock key so that you have to hit it longer or harder or repeatedly in order to WRITE IN CAPS. It's supposed to prevent you from switching it on accidentally.
It's the only key that behaves that way -- and thus trips up anyone who can touch-type.
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