From my perspective, their application software has always sucked. It was there because you need apps to bootstrap a platform and attract enough users to attract developers. But you can't really expect a consumer electronics company to have the best application for a given niche once the niche has been identified and attracted companies that really want to make it their bread-and-butter.
XCode and occasionally FaceTime & iMovie are the only bundled applications that I ever use on my Mac. When I get a new computer, the first things I do are usually download Chrome, MacVim, Google Photos, and VLC. I use Hangouts over iMessage, Google Calendar over the built-in calendar, and Google Docs over the office suite. On my iPhone, getting Google Maps and Yelp is a top priority, lest I end up navigating off a mountain. This is not a new habit; I've operated like this since getting a Mac in 2009 after a 10-year hiatus from Apple products.
Perhaps I was just less brainwashed than most Apple fans, and the end of the brainwashing may itself be news with big consequences for product adoption. But IMHO anyone who used the whole integrated Apple software suite and never looked elsewhere has been missing out on some seriously nice features this whole time.
Ditto for anyone not using the Apple ecosystem. Better tested drivers installed by default, no OS license hassles, no issues created by malfunctioning (or maliciously functioning) antivirus, top download sites weren't infested with malware (no hunt for the real DL link), journaled FS in the consumer tier for instant fsck since 2002 (vs 2012), no-additional-cost professional-grade IDE since 2003 (vs 2015), one-click backup since 2007, decent integrated movie editing, some truly awesome platform-specific-at-first apps (subethaedit, quicksilver, textmate, coda), solid one-button-away desktop search years before it landed and stabilized in Windows, window navigation with expose (they've arguably been leapfrogged since then with window snapping), unix command line with a decent terminal emulator, emacs movement supported in every text field by default, built-in menu bar search, the list goes on.
I now have both feet in the Windows ecosystem but the transition was rough. If you have used Windows all your life, you have taught yourself to live with a lot of BS. Since you have made the investment it's now a sunk cost and no longer factors into your OS decision. Fair enough, but realize that wasn't the case for everyone. Also realize that you necessarily didn't miss what you never knew you could have.
I use the past tense because MS has caught up on most of these fronts, except for perhaps stable drivers and license hassles, where they are hobbled by their business model rather than technical shortcoming.
I still have a soft spot for KDE circa 2003. It was as pretty or prettier than OS X, and also featured "No malware", but even moreso. Amarok is still probably my favorite music player ever, much better than iTunes. People in this thread say that Safari was one of the best browsers available when it came out in 2003 - well, it got that way by forking KHTML. Stability kinda sucked, but it was very usable.
I never managed to get a non-VM linux install fully functioning. Once I graduated the end-of-semester ritual faded into the past and I stopped trying. I've recently had good experiences with bootable USB images, maybe I should give it another chance one of these days.
> KDE circa 2003. It was as pretty or prettier than OS X
I can't say I agree, but I'd still have used it if I could have gotten it working.
Since Mageia broke off from Mandriva in 2011, I've used them exclusively (and I used Mandriva before that, since 2009).
I'm not sure how they do it, or what the magic is, but they have been absolutely flawless for me. The last several laptops I've bought, I've dropped a Mageia CD and everything just works. No futzing with command lines ever.
I've forgotten nearly all of my old arcane linux knowledge. I wouldn't know how, for example, to fix pulse if I had to, but you know, I've literally never had to!
If you are even a little curious about Linux anymore, I'd suggest downloading the Mageia KDE livedvd and giving it a go.
Old Thinkpad uses the legacy non-PAE version, no set-up or install problems, newer hardware uses the current release, VM in VB for server work at work, again no problems.
The Enlightenment/Moksha DE has a lot of the features OS X is praised for, like alt+esc to open a Spotlight type app, plus a lot of other features which are useful; click anywhere on the desktop for start menu, visual scaling of the entire desktop which is handy when using a laptop with a high-res screen, eepDater - a GUI updater etc.
To anyone looking for a stable OS X-like experience from Linux, without it feeling like a 2nd-rate OS X clone, give Bodhi Linux a try. Geoff Hoogeland has excelled himself with Moksha and Bodhi. As you can probably tell, it has turned me Linux-vigilante. My only regret is not being able to help the project more than I am able.
I didn't try Mageia. Alt distros are intimidating since most technical advice is for mainstream distros, and it's unclear whether it applies.
Just run Redhat or Ubuntu. You are looking for a "just works" experience, so stick with the binary sandbox those distros give you. You can even pay them money in order to get the better support experience you definitely need.
If anyone tells you to switch to something different, know it will require you to hand-tweak scary text files. if that sounds fun, dive in. Otherwise, run away screaming. You want a stable (read: long-term support) release of software.
I've had the same thought in my head for a long time now but haven't been able to put it the way you did; completely agree. There was also a time when OSX supported things like .psd previews, built-in *.iso mounting, and unzipping capabilities right out of the box when Win XP didn't.
This is part of what initially got me to become a big Mac fan, but as time goes on it seems that there are fewer of these unique advantages as modern Windows becomes more competitive. This also makes me all the more disappointed to see Apple's apparent lack of OSX advancement and shortfalls in reliability/usability.
The interesting thing for me is that I never would have thought that Windows would ever be competitive with Mac again for my attention, but the feel of sloppiness in Apple software is slowly moving me back in the other direction. Once Windows has things you mentioned like better platform-first apps, emacs bindings, and a better shell, I think I might fully commit to that switch.
With this positive experience in hand, I decided to build my own rig and many of the annoying memories of why I switched to Macs in the first place came back. Windows 7 on the Skylake box was a pain due to driver support. Windows 10 installed without much hassle, but there was a minor engineering effort tweaking the bios fan settings to be silent, installing low-noise fan adapters, collecting and installing drivers for the new chipset. Obviously, this comes with the territory of building a computer, but it was a small reminder of things dealt with.
Gotta say though, Ninite does make the initial installation of software a breeze.
For instance, when I tried Xubuntu, my GPU was running at a constant 90 degrees Celsius for no real reason. Found out it was because it was also rendering another 5 screens in the background. Deleted them, after 3-4 days they would come back. My screen was 1920x1080, but it liked to change my resolution to 1024x768 every 5 or so boots.
Tonnes of small problems, like the "settings" program emptied itself. Then the Windows key would stop bringing up the menu thing. And icons liked to disappear from my desktop.
Then when I tried Debian, I could install it fine, but couldn't boot. Pretty sure this was also to do with the GPU.
Then when I tried Linux Mint, it worked okay for a day, then apparently I didn't have permission to change wireless networks, and I had to plug in a PS2 keyboard to decrypt the volume on boot (though this was easy enough to fix, just had to find the right Logitech USB Keyboard module to put into the initramfs). Again, many small issues that escape me right now.
The only distro that has worked well, with no bugs (that I didn't introduce), was Arch, but Arch is a real mission. Only thing is my wifi speed is slower than it is on Windows/OS X (~600kB/s down from ~1000kB/s, not a huge deal). Arch is great as a project IMO, but if I have to write an email or do banking or something, I really don't want to have to mess around with config files.
I love Linux so much, but that's why I'm currently an OS X user.
You paid for that by spending $XXX more than a PC on your Mac. (posted from a mac but I make no delusion that I didn't pay for XCode)
The original free command line tools for VS2003, that got cancelled with first Express edition, and all Apple compilers were uncrippled.
If you're buying hardware devices that linux can't support well then you're doing it wrong. Support open standards and eschew manfacturers that don't support open source.
But you want your mdfind and Spotlight so you have to be okay with giving up ZFS or another enterprise-class Linux/UNIX file-system!
What other enterprise-class file system are you talking about? btrfs is still immature, anytime I've strayed from ext, I regret it. And NTFS? I've had lots of more problems w/ that than anything else (admittedly, probably due to poor interactions between Windows and ntfs-3g on Linux).
In any case, since OSX isn't a data-center OS, I don't see what "enterprise-class" storage has to do with it anyway.
I think I use Spotlight almost a couple of dozen times each day to find documents, applications, and sometimes e-mails. So the productivity gains outnumber the marginal cost enormously.
Also, there is a healthy ecosystem around Spotlight. E.g., I use Alfred, which allows you to define use/custom workflows.
BTW. If you use Alfred, this is one of the nicest workflows I found recently: https://github.com/bevesce/unicode-symbols-search
(Ironically, by far the worst offender was Google's ksfetch - it had a psychic ability to know when I was on an airplane, and start its unkill9able update process (again, launchctl)).
Of course, there are costs for running Linux on the desktop as well. My original Ubuntu setup had many problems (its kernels were not Skylake friendly last year) and eventually apt got into a crazy situation with some ppa's (never a problem on my servers, since I run LTS exclusively). I ended up switching to Arch, and got it working how I liked, but not without a literal month of yak-shaving. I documented it here: https://paper.dropbox.com/doc/Arch-Linux-Install-Uf1RAzNYBU3 I've been poking around with Linux since the mid-90s, but even I can't help but shake my head at some of these things.
Since Windows 3.x.
Macs were too expensive for Portuguese purses vs what Amiga, Atari and PC systems were asking for.
Also as a gamer I could never convince myself to pay more for less technical specs.
As for better drivers, Apple's OpenGL and OpenCL support leaves a lot to be desired when one is into graphics programming.
I have a hard time with this. Apple products tend to lock you into apple software. If you want to develop software, then you are pretty much stuck with XCode. If you want to send email on iOS, then you are stuck with the built in mail app (at least if you click an address from Safari, or Contacts). If I ask Siri to play some music, it launches the built in Music player. So if what you say is true, then why can't I set a default app made by a third party company?
Basic integrations between MS Office apps also seem to be missing, I'll be damned if I can find the menu to send a copy of the document I'm working on in Word to a contact in outlook.
Here's another example: Try and change the right click -> search with google menu option to 1) not open in Safari and 2) search using another search engine.
I would have NEVER discovered that this would be even possible any other way. I don't know if it works on other browsers but it's cool that it works.
On right click in chrome I have two "search with DuckDuckGo" options and one searches on a new tab and another on the same tab. I don't know why.
I use Bowtie for a few things, but haven't really tried it for this purpose as I pretty much just use iTunes as I have several decades worth of music I've bought in it.
Until Yahoo turned it into a less intelligent Google Now wannabe anyway. Sigh...
There are like nine different versions of Emacs for OS X...
For deployment + debugging, you could try this: https://github.com/phonegap/ios-deploy
Looks like it runs lldb itself, but perhaps with a bit of work you could get it to interact with gud-mode?
jetbrains.com (intellij, appcode, pycharm,webstorm, rubymine etc)
To make VS somewhat usable, you need Resharper - made by the company, that makes Intellij.
And that without mentioning ReSharper which enhances VS quite a bit.
> There are like nine different versions of Emacs for OS X...
I don't think Apple is blocking that. If you're looking for something for iOS/Mac dev, all the build tools are available as command-line interfaces.
VS + VA used to be fantastic, today it's just a piece of ... overpriced crap.
But maybe expecting more from $2K+ software (VS) than from FREE software (xcode) is wrong.
And you're not really stuck with Xcode anymore than you're stuck with Visual Studio on Windows. You can use the command line tools to do everything yourself, it's just more difficult. You can also obviously write apps in Java or even Electron, which is very popular these days.
As for Siri not using your custom music player, that's unfortunate. But integration often comes at the cost of extensibility, and while Apple has the former nailed, they are still clearly working on the latter.
GNU/Linux and *BSD are probably the only OSes where there is no such thing as an OS vendor SDK.
edit: just tested Apple Maps with a couple searches I did in Google Maps yesterday. Searched for the carrier shops for the two biggest carriers in my country. First search took me to Australia. The other ones found nothing in my city (there are probably at least 10-20 of each carrier in this town) and zoomed out to country level. Still completely and utterly useless.
That said, I'm no big Google Maps fan either, they have a lot of data issues as well. I tend to use a local app which works much better for public transit and car navigation, and has a nice category drill-down for POIs which works around a lot of the issues with free-text search
I haven't used it since launch, so can't comment on its current performance, but AFAICT its reputation is due to how poor it was at launch. I tried it with three locations that Google Maps handled fine (small sample I know, but enough to put me off trying it further), and had problems with all three results (my house: low-res satellite imagery; my College: wrong website address; Cambridge Union Society: correct details, but location was about 50mi out).
Hopefully its now better, but that initial impression is hard to shake.
Edit: initially -> initial
They need to get some more of the driving GPS features figured out and I'll switch over entirely.
It has gotten so bad, that I've dusted off my old stand-alone GPS and keep it in my car's center console. Google Maps no longer has reliability that I can count on for a road trip.
Seriously? I can't see how that would happen unless you're living somewhere prone to dramatic road rebuilding. Or do you mean the quality of the Google Maps interface?
Following is a set of complaints I compiled last year when a Google employee asked me on reddit to post them more detail about my maps complaints.
The usability of any Google product outside the US is a total disaster, and it’s a wonder how Google is able to keep any market share with their quality of service.
NONE of this has been addressed since we started complaining in 2005 (!), except for one thing: that connection between two streets, which is closed with a fence, has been marked as closed. So now we have less people standing there trying to get through.
> The map data on top is from the municipality, the map data on bottom from Google.
> As you see, the street "Beim Bauernhaus" is completely missing, the "Kellerkate" is missing half the street, the connection between "Beim Bauernhaus" and "Kellerkate" is missing, the "Kl. Koppel" is missing parts of the street.
> You currently have data from 2010 for this specific area.
> The data you currently have access to from GeoBasis-DE is this: http://i.imgur.com/67TQeP8.png
> At least the connection between Steinberg and Nienbrügger Weg is now marked as service path, until recently it was marked as street and people tried to get through there (there’s a fence making that impossible).
> I won’t get too much into satellite data either, because yours is from 2004, too:
> And the unavailability of Public Transit data for busses, etc. on Google Maps – which is available on Here.com – makes it unlikely that I, as a student using public transit all the time – am going to switch back.
"Google started automatically blurring faces and number plates, it was forced to give Germans the option of having their houses blurred out as well – something hundreds of thousands of people took the firm up on.
However, this was a costly business, with Google needing to hire temporary workers to manually blur out selected buildings. It also didn’t stop people trying to sue the U.S. company over alleged privacy infringement. So, in 2011, Google said it was giving up on Street View in Germany – the pre-existing images remain online, but they haven’t been updated in three years."
But Google has bought access to the government map data (GeoBasis-DE for Germany, I posted a screenshot of what GeoBasis-DE shows for the area above).
Google has bought the mapdata, can use it, but doesn't.
So don't extrapolate your city to the rest of the world.
BTW, the Android-App "Öffi" has full support for Melbourne, as Melbourne provides a simple to use API, and has for the past years.
Some data was finally released last April (promised as part of an election reform campaign), but as of October there were still GMaps integration issues: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/victorian-g...
I was involved in a lot of (too many) geo/transit/open data conversations in the late 2000s, and sadly, this kind of short-sighted/nonsensical thinking was all too common, and I'm sure persists in many of the places where people lay the blame on GMaps, when it's actually due to stonewalling bureaucrats.
But the UI is ugly.
Surely there has to be a middle ground. :)
True. Memory/CPU/Battery-usage ist painfully high.
Better Performance? Even scrolling on bigger websites is sluggish at best. The only point of having chrome installed on my machine is because of it's DevTools... but I'm playing a lot with firefox Dev-Edition lately which seems to be superior here.
And at least on my site, most android users do seem to be using chrome rather than an OEM browser.
You guys run Chrome with no problems? You must have more ram?
Chrome wants RAM, so I think that's the real blocker in your case.
It's better to have 8GB minimum, but best of all to get as much ram as possible on a machine.
I'm a tab maniac - 421 tabs open now. This wouldn't be possible without TGS (and 32GB RAM), and another extension called Tabli to index them all.
Safari and IE are basically in the same boat of users being on old oses also being stuck on aging browsers. It's just that IE has been so much worse that we haven't had time to start complaining about Safari, but don't worry, that's coming very soon.
I think the main problem is not the application software (aside from iTunes and Apple Maps) - the main problem is the OS level software.
During the "golden age" of apple, apps would just work. Didn't matter if it you were using Apple-provided software or "better" 3rd party stuff - crashing, lagging, stuttering was minimal.
Now, many users are seeing much more lag, beach balling, and kernel panicking than before, across all of their applications.  Combine this with some poor decision making in the UX/UI department of certain Apple apps and you get a lot of people who are unhappy with their entire software stack.
But the app is the closest piece of software to them, so instinctively it makes more sense to blame declining app quality, when it's actually more a function of OS stability.
I've been a Mac user for about 10 years and it was never better than now, probably the opposite. Every edition had bunch of bugs I hated. Before then I regularly tested Mac for local computer magazine and it didn't look better either. I even managed to freeze Mac OSX 10.1 with first mouse click when it arrived in our lab.
Before then we had lots of fun looking at ways you could hang by that time absurdly obsolete old Mac OS....
So the golden age for me has been 2009-2015 from Snow Leopard -> Mountain Lion (trailing off steeply w/ El Capitan) and from iOS 1 - 7, w/ iOS 8, 9 introducing issues.
I rue the days I upgraded my iPhone and iPad to ios9. Both are slugs now and they don't sync with Messages on the MBP anymore.
Chrome brings it to unusuable, but figured it was my fault. I only have 4 gigs. Actually, I though 4 gigs would be enough?
I do not believe in buying a new computer every two years.
I always though if an evil dictator ran Apple, they could force us to by new product, but they would have to do it sly. Just enough wheel spinning, to make us buy. If Apple does that; I'm gone forever.
Actually, I've been done with new Apple products for awhile. I will just repair my older products. I still believe in the company though. I hope they don't get cute?
This is one of the things that makes me think the OS is declining.
Both work fine although iPad is indeed more slugish than it was.
But I also use an old iPod which is still on IOS4 and that isn't great either (skips certain songs/podcasts...).
I could complain about all of them, but my point is that the same was true in any previous year.
It wouldn't help anyway, because that damn ball spins even on new computers.
I keep getting told I'm "doing too much". Apparently a $2500 laptop should be confined to no more than a handful of concurrent Apple-approved applications and nothing more... ? (and even then, you'll still get those beach balls).
Personally, I'm on my fourth mac over the last 8 years, various models, had both spinning disk and SSD, 4, 8 and 16gigs of ram. Wife has had various macs going back to ... 2002?
I can't recall a working day go by without pauses, hangs and beachballs. And... I've had the equivalent behaviour on Windows models and Linux machines going back to at least the late 90s. :(
nope. Ive been using apple software for 20 years.
apple software has ALWAYS been crap. its just also been less crap than the opposition.
hell, before OS X, a crashed app would force you to restart the entire computer....
I still remember long afternoons debugging a CodeWarrior application, and having to restart after every successful replication of the problem...
I had actually never heard of MobileMe before reading that thread...somehow I was busy/oblivious enough not to have ever used it.
It's only since the "App-store" that apple seemed to screw things up. It's quite amazing that so did microsoft and so did linux desktops. I feel like the golden age of desktop computing ended with the dawn of the iphone.
XCode is a necessary evil for a lot of developers, FaceTime depending on your situation is also a necessary evil for users. iMovie is the best of a bad bunch for the average user.
However the OSX interface is still very slick in comparison to *nix, requires hardly any maintenance and still supports "all the things" because developers love the hardware and the UX and have built the applications needed for it.
I've always turned away from Apple because "you are paying for a brand" - however since being given a Macbook to play with I've really enjoyed using it for dev and personal use. I've uninstalled and removed pretty much all the "bloat" that people like us have a preferred alternative for, but the average user simply doesn't give a damn.
I still run away from iOS however. The requirement to find an exploit in the firmware to do what I want is a PITA.
More recently, there are online alternatives like https://appear.in/ that I've been happy with, and which don't require you to install a browser plugin like Hangouts.
I think that on a technical level, WhatsApp is the best messaging software on the market. It at least features reliable message delivery, something that both Hangouts and iMessage have yet to get down. But its usage is largely limited to my Indian friends here in the U.S, which makes it of limited use to me.
Now Google's decided to split SMS back out into a separate SMS app, so god only knows what's going to happen to Google Voice texting in that transition. I think the Voice team got merged into the hangouts team and shortly reassigned, and then everyone who was left on the hangouts team was moved a month or two after that.
Next time I replace my phone I'm just going to bite the bullet and port my phone number back out to a real carrier. It's a bummer, since this is the only Google product that I've ever paid them actual money for.
You can go into hangouts settings and turn off google voice handling.
So I guess I can go back. I'd miss the better voice calling integration (the one improvement that "hangouts dialer" brought) and I'm not sure how well maintained the GV app is these days, but I may give it a go.
When iOS got invented Apple got into mobile devices. Microsoft has been making Windows Phones (way back to Windows CE) longer than Apple has been making iPhones, but the iPhone sells better.
Apple has sort of gotten into a trap they got into before bringing Jobs back, problems with software quality. Jobs solved it by merging MacOS and NextOS together to make OSX. Then OSX spawned iOS.
Apple got focused on bringing out new hardware, to have users upgrade every once in a while to keep the profits going. They focused on the hardware more than the software. That is the mistake that Apple once made during the PowerMac Era before Jobs came back to fix it. They were working on project Copland to fix it, but never finished that project.
It is not that Apple Fans are brainwashed, they like Apple because it is not Microsoft. They've been burned by Microsoft too many times and went to Apple as an alternative. But now Apple is starting to make mistakes like Microsoft did in their software. Apple Fans are starting to take notice of that.
Apple just needs to focus on software quality for a while, fix the bugs and CVS exploits. Instead of releasing new features, just fix the bugs and make the OS and apps stable. They've done it before and they can do it again.
> Perhaps I was just less brainwashed than most Apple fans
I'm not quite sure who of you is the brainwashed one ... ;)
I've looked elsewhere but I stick with Apple's software because I like the simplicity and privacy it offers. I don't want more than a handful of basic functions in my calendar app. I don't want a half a dozen new features to help me avoid reading e-mails. I don't need to install Google Maps to avoid driving off a mountain because Apple Maps works fine for me. I don't want to type the wrong thing into a Google app and see ads about it for the next 3 months.
Also, I don't really like Google's desktop offerings - or the lack of them - everything is a webapp, and they just don't work as well as proper desktop software would have. I am so annoyed by the random reloads Chrome apps do, and the utter disrespect they have for multiple desktops.
I've been using hyperswitch as my cmd+tab replacement for a while, and it is much closer to the windows implementation. I find it better..
The one choice you can't make is iTunes. Being forced to use that dreadful piece of software is why I gave my first iPhone away after little less than one week. It's abysmally incompetent as a music player. You could probably count the number of codecs it supports on one hand - a core feature of a music player is, well, playing your music. Last time I used it, it still didn't have a media library and dumped tens of thousands of songs into a flat list. You have to have that garbage installed on your machine if you own an iPhone. Not interested.
In the "Advanced" tab, which I'd expect any self-respecting HN denizen to go to first, there's a checkbox for "Keep iTunes Media folder organized" which explains that it will "[place] files into album and artist folders, and [name] the files based on the disc number, track number and song title". Mine is a very hierarchical structure - and I've had it for a decade. No flat list here.
"You have to have that garbage installed on your machine if you own an iPhone. Not interested."
Not true, either - hasn't been true since the advent of iCloud in 2011.
As to the codecs - it does do MP3 and AAC, which probably covers 95% of available content, though it doesn't do Ogg Vorbis, Quo Vadis, or various others. For that sort of thing there's VLC.
Assuming I'm using AIMP3 as my media player of choice, how would iCloud play into getting my song library onto an iPhone? Like Winamp and Foobar2000, it allows you to treat a removable drive as a media player.
> For that sort of thing there's VLC.
That's a non-starter. Even Windows Media Player, which is probably used by a total of three people, can be extended to support any arbitrary audio codec using a documented API. I don't get phone calls from my 90y/o father asking how to get media to work, the codec pack that I installed guarantees that almost any codec under the sun will work with almost any Windows application (notably excluding iTunes).
You haven't needed iTunes to use an iPhone for several years now. I still plug mine in once in a while for a local backup but I can't tell you the last time I've needed it. Apple's cloud backup is pretty good in my experience.
Don't get me wrong... iTunes is definitely getting worse. The media browser is too hard to find in the new version and the new default views don't handle large libraries very well.
And yet you use Google everything, despite privacy concerns...
The only thing that prevents this from being a massive pain in the butt is that they have also stolen the personal data of 300 million other Americans, and by the time they work their way down the list (my last name starts with 'T', after all), all that information - credit card numbers, operating system installs, addresses on file, net habits - will have changed anyway.
However, I guess that as Apple grows and attracts more customers outside of tech (especially as they have done with the iPhone), they will have also picked up a much larger share of customers who will use the built-in apps. If it's true that the quality is gong down as they say, well those people will form the opinion that you would expect them too which happens to be the one written about here.
Let's also not forget that the operating system itself has a huge impact on the experience. The difference between the OS and the apps is that problems in the OS don't just affect end users, they often affect app developers too. So regardless of how their apps are, they could easily get themselves into trouble here.
I loved the fact that they used Pascal as system programming language, but the mixture of Pascal, followed by C and eventually C++ with Powerplant wasn't that nice if I recall correctly from Mac programming manuals.
Also the fact that up NeXT's acquisition Apple's engineering failed to deliver a new OS.
A lot of 'improvements' made after that, comes with little or none consideration to make things more useful. Rather it seems to focus more on atheistic, which, as a developer, I couldn't care less.
With the occasional exception, Apple has never been very good at application software.
Is it a priori obvious that which conglomerate would be better at some app than another?
Plus using third party services is just smart in that it avoids vendor lock-in and makes it easier to switch out of the platform(s) should you choose to do so.
Since you weren't even using Apple Software at the time, your judgment of whether Apple software used to be good or not is kind of meaningless.
My first computer was a Mac LC in 1991, and I was a die-hard Macintosh fan all throughout adolescence. I learned to program with Think Pascal on a Centris 660AV. My whole family continued to use Macs after I gave them up in 1998, so I certainly used them during that decade, I just didn't like using them.
To be honest, I can only think of 1 feature that was added post-Snow Leopard that I use regularly. Being able to receive/send messages from my mac and that isn't available to non-iPhone users. And better trackpad gestures, but that's closer to hardware (although it requires OS support) than software.
That being said, I remember Panther and Snow Leopard after the .0.3 updates to be the best versions.
Besides that, the software problems affect their entire software base, including parts that can't (easily) be turned off or removed, like iCloud, Music, the iOs task switcher, etc.
My current Macbook Pro has memory soldered on to the motherboard and a battery glued to the case. The SSD is technically replaceable, but the specs that this laptop shipped with are going to be the specs that it dies with.
When the battery goes, I'll have to either risk destroying the machine or pay way too much to Apple to do the job for me. At that point I'll probably just switch to a brand with a more reasonable user-servicing model, assuming those still exist.
I almost jumped ship recently because the Surface Book hits a great mix of screen quality/power/battery life, but judging by the forums, it's buggy as hell. So what to do? I'd love a swap-able battery in my rMBP like I have in my T450s, but at the end of the day, I never reach for my ThinkPad when I've got my Mac handy. I'll just go ahead and pay the $200 bucks Apple charges to replace the sealed battery.
 My non-technical wife, who has a Mac, recently needed to use my work laptop. Her first reaction on seeing the screen was "wow, your firm cheaped out, huh?" I've got a totally maxed out ThinkPad T450s with i7, 20GB of RAM, and FHD IPS display.
Man, I love the idea of this thing.
But I recently tried moving to Surface Book. Spent nearly $3k on a real nicely specc'd one. It BSOD'd daily, sleep modes are really confusing, battery drained terribly overnight, it was overall a bit of a nightmare. Granted probably half of my complaints are about Win10 rather than the SB itself, but still. I returned it.
It's SO CLOSE and if it was $1,000 cheaper I may have just dealt with it. Just not quite there.
Thats the most difficult part. Original battery costs a fortune (some of them cost almost half of the new basic laptop). And if you decide to get a third party alternative - its basically a russian roulette, you never know what you gonna get, most of them are just terrible and barely last couple months
Oxymoron: tech reasons of how great your computer is; and an argument on why a non technical people don't like it.
That's precisely why Apple doesn't give specifications for as many products as they can get away with. RAM specs are limited to regular computers. Devices with "retina" displays don't list pixel counts any more (or at least overtly so). Given how they're pushing to make storage size irrelevant on mobile devices (iCloud, dynamic app deletion/installation, Photos cloud storage, etc), I expect they'll eventually drop exact local storage specs in most ads (opting for "small/medium/large").
I swapped the DVD player out on an elitebook for a second 500 GB SSD.
Whenever I switch back and forth, I'm always shocked by how many PC laptops do trackpads so terribly when the Macbooks have been out there for years now.
> And no other PC laptop hits that right sweet spot of power/battery/display quality.
... so I'm going to venture a guess that "the laptop is serviceable" isn't the only criteria being weighed here.
They're also locking down the platform more and more. I don't think this is some conspiracy to take away user freedom. I think it's because anything that makes a platform 'hackable' also makes it 'pwnable' by malware. Again they are optimizing for the mainstream of the market, which is mostly users with absolutely zero clue about malware or security. They want to field an OS that apps can't easily trojan/backdoor and conscript into a botnet or crytolocker your files, etc. Unfortunately hacker types are casualties here.
It's very, very hard to remain appealing to the hacker crowd while also targeting the mainstream. You're targeting two very different local maxima and a lot of what these two camps want is in absolute conflict -- e.g. UX vs. "power" and packability. I actually think Apple is doing a decent job all things considered. Macs are still great for development and are hackable enough, and if I want more hackability I can spring for a $30 Raspberry Pi or run anything I want inside Parallels with the bonus of not borking my main host machine if I mess it up. I am worried about the future though. If they overly "iOS-ify" the Mac they will lose me.
Chose the mid 2012 non-retina display. Took out the disk drive and put in my own SSD and RAM. Does everything I want it to do without the slightest complaint. All told I probably paid ~$700 less for a comparably powerful machine with 10x the internal storage of a late model MBP retina, albeit heavier and with a slightly inferior display.
Next time I need to upgrade I'm with you - it's just too painful to knowingly buy into an ecosystem where upgrades and repairs feel like unabashed extortion.
Obviously there's a very large target market of folks that just want their tech to work and will happily drop a few hundred bucks each time they need to upgrade or repair. But it's hard to go back once you've opened up your computer and seen how cheap/easy it is to replace some of these extremely modular components. I imagine my mindset will change as I get older and have less time/more disposable income.
There is. I'm 33, and do devops/infrastructure. I just want my rig to work. Macbook Air maxed out on ram and disk. To me, its disposable every three years (comes out to be ~$60/month).
Apple is going to have to get pretty bad before I throw away the experience of walking into an Apple store, buying a new laptop, restoring from TimeMachine, and being up and running almost immediately.
As you mention, disposable income and a lack of time changes the equation.
Payed 550€ for my laptop ( 8 gb, ..) 2 years ago, everything is still working fine and it's still enough ( Visual Studio is supposed to be a "heavy" program). = 23 € / month till now and still dropping... And it's hardly game over with my laptop. When i'm at 3 years, it will cost me about 15,2 € / month.
I'll probably use it for longer. But let's say i don't have any costs and sell the laptop for 150 €, that makes it 11,2 € / month.
PS. No repairs required untill date
Edit: You can install Linux on it too or dualboot it ( i did this a long time, but didn't feel the need for it now)
Microsoft would really do well supporting a truly great UNIX layer.
I wouldn't say stupidly. Open source projects just don't prioritize Windows development.
Total cost (including the Intel SSD) was £726 or $1049 at today's rate (exc. VAT). So didn't cost a bomb and gives me a lightening fast machine, windows for desktop duties, debian for dev, a 1920x1080 display, easily replaceable battery/ram/disk and no issue driving multiple monitors.
It's also stupid to assume that your application will work seamlessly between Windows and Unix-like systems just by making sure that the path separators are OS-agnostic.
And once you know how the C++ compilation works with VC++, the problems are minimized. ( i mostly come this accross with Python)
It isn't a hassle free road though
Edit:. The Pi is just for experimenting, no GUI required ;)
There are tools like docker-machine facilitate running Docker under Linux VMs non-Linux platforms though.
Trade money for things that save you time, to spend that time on what's important to you (if you've got the money).
This saves me time for my wife, my children and my hobbies. It also saves me money. Time, and money, to spend on what's important to me. It also sends a signal to companies: there is a market for upgradable, repairable hardware.
Because of the depreciation curve, a $500 computer is almost worthless after several years while a $1000 computer might be worth a hundred or two hundred dollars. Do you spend $200-300 on your $500 computer for say memory + SSD or put that $200-300 towards a new $1000 computer?
As far as time is considered, engineered solutions are generally read-to-go, Apple or Windows, but the Windows world still seems to be rife with bloat. Navigating the hundreds of models & manufacturers is overwhelming for the non-technical user. For many technical folks, it's much simpler to just say, 'Get a mac' or 'Get a Dell', nut the Dell option will be a small pain with navigating the choices.
Non-engineered solutions (building your own) do cost a little bit of a time investment in research, assembly and tweaking. For the technical folk here, it's merely a couple of extra hours. For the uninitiated, it's a lot of hours for knowledge that may not be readily applicable to them on a day-to-day basis.
I absolutely guarantee you that there simply are not enough of you to make hardware manufacturers cater to the upgradable/repairable market.
The only way upgradability/reparability will continue is if people like yourself form a non-profit or B Corp that makes open hardware that allows for it. The vast majority of people don't care.
I don't get the comparison.
It's like apple users think the only options are buy apple (expensive, but "allegedly" rarely needs fixing, works 99% of the time, lasts a long time, etc) and a PC ("allegedly" breaks all the time, requires more maintenance, requires more time to keep up with, "cheap", etc...)
Those are not the options -- it's a false premise. There are laptop PCs which have the exact same performance & reliability as apple, but for a fraction of the price. I've gone through 4 PC laptops since 1996. My first 2 laptops, I admit, I spent a lot of time repairing but that was due to my own youthful tinkering, experimenting and the general instability of earlier OSs (DOS, Win95, Win98/ME, etc).
But my last 2 have lasted me 7+ years a piece. And I only decided to upgrade because they were beginning to show their age (slower compared to newer stuff). You can buy PC laptops with the same "just works" fidelity as apple. More options open up, and you can save yourself a fortune, if people would just eschew their brand loyalty.
What do you consider a fortune? $1000? $1400? That's about two days of my time consulting. I'm fine paying the premium for what I consider a better experience. It's not brand loyalty, that's for sure. I've had a terrible, terrible time trying to get work done on Windows 7, Windows 10 looks like a train wreck, and there are no Lenovo stores I can walk into same day and get a replacement like I can with an Apple store (which is in every major metro I visit).
Build a better experience, and I will gladly pay for it. Until then, Apple (grudgingly) gets my dollars.
It wasn't until after I bought a new replacement laptop that Apple finally acknowledged the issues and started a repair program. I wasn't able to just walk into my Apple store to get it fixed (I live in a major metro), so I ended up going to a local authorized dealer instead.
It was basically the last straw for me. I'm happily on Windows. I don't miss the OSX Terminal because I've got CMDer, and just about everything else I was using on Mac for work is either available for Windows or has a decent equivalent. Windows is not the wasteland it was when I switched back to Mac a decade ago.
On my home country people get paid 1000 euros a month!
Even phased like that that is a lot of money.
EDIT: I know people who spend more than that on Starbucks each month.
- 9 € / month ( Google Play Music)
- 3 € / month ( Netflix shared with 3 other people)
- 3€ / month for Google Apps ( actually, this is business... But i also use the mail for private use..)
= 15 € / month.
If i'm not mistaking, you're OS X device costs you 4 times more every month then the sum of every online webservice i use.
( this is another comparison than yours.. Some people just throw out money, others don't :) . Earning a lot of money doesn't automaticly mean you have to waste all of it )
Well.. you need something to run those things on
Is that any better? ;)
It turns out I spend far more on internet access than I do on hardware, and I wouldn't have thought that to be the case.
I think that's more than worth it. Why the hell haven't I bought a backup machine yet just in case this one breaks?
Because you're leveraging credit in the event of a failure! No need to let equipment languish when you can simply pop into the store!
Also because it has so far only died about once every two years. Every time due to human error (spilled things). I can afford a two day outage every two years :)
And mind you that just two years ago, I had the same kind of reaction to that sort of comment. It's not that hard to step up a few pay grades as an engineer these days.
And no, not on Windows because in my experience it's the most terrible system for developers. Might've improved in the last 15 years.
And no, not on linux. In my experience it requires constant tinkering with the system. According to my friends still on linux, this hasn't changed in the last 3 years.
So yeah, I guess only mac is left. Which often still requires too much tinkering, but feels like less than linux. And I honestly haven't used windows in earnest in 15 years so hard to say.
Then again, it's cheaper than a month of rent for a 1-bedroom in this damn city (San Francisco).
HN thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10840227
I like having a 9 cell battery, I like having >1TB of storage, the ThinkPad keyboard and TrackPoint, and I like being able to take the thing apart.
At the same time, I also like OS X. I get UNIX underlyings, yet can continue to use software like Photoshop. And there's just a big bunch of subjective things that IMO OS X just does better, like scrolling and font rendering.
Still, the device is growing older, and I honestly have no idea what to replace it with once the time finally comes. The strange combo I have doesn't really have a modern equivalent. Do I sacrifice modularity to stay with OS X? Do I go to Windows or Linux to keep modularity with a modern ThinkPad (which are getting too close to the way modern MacBooks are, sadly).
I have been thinking of something opposite: run ubuntu on Mac.
By the time (two years?) they decided to roll one out I had already bought an Asus laptop, which was comparable in most ways and costs about half of what I paid for the MBPro.
I don't think I'll be buying Apple hardware for a while. Their increasing push towards planned obsolescence troubles me deeply.
I put a 128GB USB3.0 SanDisk Ultra Fit in my MacBook (these things are tiny), to supplement the SSD. Currently on sale for AU$74. Plenty fast enough for storing media, and I'm wearing my SSD less now too.
Not to sure what to do when the SSD wears out, probably boot of the USB stick, but that's a while away and I'll sell the laptop before then anyway.
The 3rd gen removed: Ethernet, Firewire 800, Superdrive, Kensington lock, and nothing is user replaceable eventually... All for what? To save 0.93 pounds in weight and 0.2 cm in thickness (13" model).
I don't care if the "Macbook" and the MBA want to go this route of maximum thinness/lightness; but what irks me is that they ruined their supposed power user machine for these cuts. Give me the functionality back. It wasn't like the MBP was heavy or large even before 2012.
Ethernet ports are easy to add as a dongle, you can't do the same with thinness. I really only need ethernet in fixed locations, and where there I already have power, and that's the case for most people.
It's totally cool that you have different needs, but it's not cool to misascribe that to "looks."
I myself gave up on Apple after my 2011 MBP bricked itself last year.
That was too bad, because I really liked the discontinued unibody form factor. If I was spending money on a new laptop, it wasn't going to be a two year old 2012 unibody or one one of the newer thinner, less user-serviceable models.
His idea of better seems to be all about size and superficial design, not user satisfaction. Which would be good if size was all about the user experience - but it's not.
Jobs fucked up regularly (who remembers OS X 1.0?) but he still had a laser-like focus on the overall experience and he could rely on that to keep Apple on track.
Cook doesn't have that, and it's not clear that anyone else at Apple does. He's had five years of significant product launches now, and most of them have been okay-I-guess sidesteps - smaller, thinner, bigger, a different colour - or outright duds.
Opportunities have been missed. Apple could have opened and owned whole new markets - user generated music and video, health devices, home automation, the power user high-end. Instead we got a watch and a a TV hardly anyone cares about, the promise of a car that will probably be late to the party, a music streaming service that streams music just like all the music streaming services do, and AI something something something maybe one day.
The money may still be flowing in, but the stock is going to get hammered if nothing changes soon.
All the things they removed are things I never ever used. Or used rarely but didn’t really need. Exactly all the things you mention. All the rest (the performance over the Airs, the gorgeous screen over the Airs and previous Pros, the lightness, compactness, extremely solid feeling stability of the thing), it’s all just there.
Just accpet that not all people have the same needs as you. I think the 2012 models are a pitch-perfect demonstration of striking exactly the right balance (for most people). I love ’em to death. And things got only better from there, albeit incrementally.
Just take it into an Apple Store and pay the $129 to replace it. I've replaced a battery once on my 2012 MacBook Pro so would not consider this to be a reason to pick one platform over another.
> aftermarket storage upgrade option
I agree this sucks. But personally I am happy for Apple to focus on I/O performance at any cost even if it means no aftermarket upgrades. I just find that with so much being in the cloud and the size of USB drives increasing there hasn't been a need for a large internal storage drive.
If you've got the unibody (2012 was the last year), it's got an end-user replaceable battery. You can buy a third party battery from Amazon, MacSales etc and swap it pretty easily.
The experience is not quite so convenient with newer models.
EDIT: and most importantly, more battery chemistry per weight. Safety requires that serviceable batteries are enclosed in rather substantial cases whose internals are non-user-serviceable. Apple "cheats" by making this case the entire laptop, rather than a specific battery module.
I also think on at least the Android front Samsung has consistently demonstrated the ability to make phones with both SD cards and removable batteries for years without compromising form factor. The S3 / S$ / S5 and Notes 2 - 4 were all extremely thin profile despite supporting removable batteries.
This is just misdirection to try to persuade people its a good thing to remove choice. It is not, it costs basically nothing in manufacturing or size to make the battery / ram / hard drive removable, and the only reason Apple / Dell / Samsung (now) / every other Android phone manufacturer does it is either to rip you off on overpriced battery replacement or drive planned obsolescence to make you buy more shit you really wouldn't need if you could just replace your damn battery two years later.
A year ago, I wasn't sure how much longer my ancient (but still functioning!) 2008 MBP would be going on. So I went shopping. Found the same tradeoffs Marco mentions here: I didn't like the sealed nature of the newer offerings (and also, AFAICT no screen density can make up for the inexplicably missing matte displays).
I ended up buying a used 2.6Ghz i7 8GB 15" matte MBP instead of anything new from Apple, though.
About the only complaint I have is that Mavericks seems neither as stable or as well-performing as Snow Leopard, which seems to be the last time Apple released an OS that was a strict improvement over previous releases. Too bad it's no longer safe to run given the state of updates.
It actually runs faster now than it did with the stock HD and Mountain Lion! Granted, I'm not doing a lot of heavy computing with it. For web surfing and the basics it still works great.
Which is a shame because OS X is a nice operating system. I would like to use it.
The drives in the new MacBook Pro are blisteringly quick compared to just a stock standard SSD.
Edit: There are even some people in this thread, who I assume are "power users," that are willing to sacrifice previously sacrosanct things like ethernet ports for mobility. Personally I'm not willing to do so but I also don't have a pressing need for a laptop.
The display isn't the best, but close... the touchpad is bar none the best in any laptop, but I might be willing to sacrifice that when I need another laptop... I haven't been doing iOS native, and my work issued laptop is an rMBP as well, but may just create a build server for cordova out of a used mac mini if/when the need arises.
I never bought into iOS devices, mainly because of early ties to Apple, and I'm somewhat entrenched in Android's ecosystem. The poor software updates, broken SMB/CIFS support and a host of other issues has me more than concerned.
The issue I see is that the other side of the fence is not so sweet either. You cannot release a buggy OS that leads to my laptop bricking itself 3 times, and then jump right into another one with a hyper-aggresive update cycle, and expect me to follow along. Never. I risk losing massive amounts of work and significantly impacting my revenue at the same time.
I still have not decided if I will accept the sunk cost of Apple or a user experience downgrade to Linux, but hopefully I can put the decision off for a number of years like I did migrating away from Windows XP.
The entire modern tech ecosystem is rotten:
My drivers don't work. My OS doesn't work. The official development software for my target OS stinks. The official emulator to run it is dastardly. The api and functionality of the OS itself is pathetically broken, and less productive than battling bugs in php ten years ago. It all looks pretty from top to bottom if you squint, but the emperor definitely wears no clothes. 2016 is massively frustrating, and I long for the time when the basic premise of a computer being a tool that needs to function effectively was the norm.
They may be declining, but they still have an overall "least frustrating" experience, especially when I have to help my family members with Windows 8 or 10, or need to Futz with my nephew's Linux setup.
Also, just for clarification, do you mean self-repairable? The review said it, like the MBP, has non-standard screw heads making repair difficult. Thoughts?
I do use it plugged in most of the time, but I suspect that the review is spot on with the battery life. I maybe get a little more since I don't do much in the way of video, and I have my screen dimmed and my CPU in passive cooling mode.
And this is on a machine that shipped from Dell with Ubuntu 14.04 installed, so supposedly all the hardware is open-source friendly.
Just like people buy cars/homes/clothes/cellphones just because of how they look.
I'd argue they should look at the overall "package" when purchasing, but if looks are important to someone that's absolutely fine, and there is nothing wrong with valuing looks.
I was still using a MacBook Pro 17 from 2011 up until a few months ago. It is still rock solid with no creaks or wear/tear.
And let me ask you do you buy a car based on how it looks ? How about clothes ?
That's the benefit of plastic for portable, droppable, devices.
Oh, please. Apple has nothing to do with that problem. The problem is we're a throw away society hell bent on buying the latest greatest thing. If it's anyone's fault, it's our own.
That's not to say that this trend isn't convenient for the supply side, and that this doesn't play in, it's just to say that it's self-evident that you are correct - the average consumer does, in the end, prefer hard-to-repair and therefore shorter-lived devices, with the advantages they bring, to the alternatives.
If this wasn't the case, there's a HUGE amount of money on the table, and one of the other players would certainly have grabbed it from Apple, instead of mimicking their approach.
I love the thing and had the fried graphics card issue fixed some time ago instead of opting to replace the MBP with a newer model.
This old thing is struggling to keep up with El Capitan these days though and I'm now mulling a Thinkpad with OpenBSD as a replacement. I kind of wish I could get this same body with updated hardware and OSX 10.6 but that's not in the cards.
The worst part of this is that Apple's success has dragged the rest of the market toward things like non-replaceable batteries.
There are other battery technologies, such as lithium iron phosphate, which have much better lifetimes, but you give up some energy density. Sealed units should use one of those technologies.
I think that statement is only half right. Apple may have pioneered the move towards non-replaceable batteries, but I think it's only a symptom of increasingly integrated and small devices. If an inch thick device is thicker by 1mm because the battery is easily detachable, that's much less of an issue than on a 10mm laptop.
They may have done it in an egregious way first (gluing/soldering in components), but we probably would have gotten there before long anyway.
While I agree I know very few people that actually replaced their battery. Usually, when the battery died is about the time they replace that laptop anyway.
I bought a T550 minimal configuration, for $600 upgraded the RAM to 16G & 500G SSD for $200, after using MBP for 7 years.
Though the MBP is still kicking ass with an upgraded 8G RAM & 500G SSD.
... it may be too late: https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&sa=1&q=macbook+air+ba...