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Why I've never owned an Apple Product


apple with a bite I was in college back in the '80's when Apple first began offering discounts to students. Even though Apple would have given me a 50% discount on an new computer, I didn't bite the Apple lure. Here's why.

Even back then, it was clear that Apple was using discounts on their products to lure students into entering the Apple ecosystem trap. Most of us students understood that after we graduated we would be paying full price on our next Apple computer (and Apple software). And Apples were so expense, even back then, that the 50% discount did nothing more than bring their price into parity with the other computers that were available at the time.

About 25 years later, Apple was still offering the 50% student discount. A friend came to me and asked whether I thought her daughter, who was just entering college, should go for the discount and buy an Apple laptop. You should have no trouble guessing my answer. But despite my strong warnings, they bit into the Apple lure. I haven't kept in contact with them for years, but back in 2011, the daughter was still locked into the Apple trap, but now she had the problem of paying to have her laptop repaired--and not at a discount. In addition, they had also purchased an Apple TV, again despite my objections. What bothers me most is that my friend has never been all that financially stable. So, she really should have made a better computer-buying decision. However, even though I disagree with her decision, I do understand some of her motivation for doing what she did.

Reasons to buy an Apple Computer

There are some good reasons for buying an Apple computer. To begin with, they are easy to use and maintain. That includes being much more resistant to malware than PC's. Steve Jobs has, to an extent, delivered on his promise of making computers that are easier for the average person to use and keep running. It's no secret that Apple's software is mostly high quality and easy to use. Of course, that's compared to, in my opinion, the lousy software that Microsoft generally puts out. Apple computers themselves tend to be reasonably powerful and have more advanced features than most PC's--faster processors, higher file transfer rates, the newest port types, etc. Apple laptop monitors are known for their high resolution and otherwise generally pleasing appearance. These are all good reasons for buying Apple desktops and laptops.

There are also some not-so-good reasons for buying Apple computers. The fact is that Steve Jobs always was a great salesman. Everyone talks about the ability he had to keep people anticipating the next product and his ability to present it in such a way, that if not substantiative, was dramatic. He had the ability to keep the news media talking positively about his latest products. Sometimes that even extended to refusing to invite them to his product press release meetings, which Apple calls "Special Events", if they didn't talk positively about Apple's products. Another reason people, especially brand-conscious high school and college students, buy Apples is that Apple laptops are a status symbol, along with most other things that not everyone can afford to buy. One should never under-estimate the ability of peer pressure to motivate individuals to do things that don't really make sense.

Reasons not to buy an Apple Computer

When Steve Jobs hasn't been the head of Apple, in my opinion, the quality of their products has suffered. Jobs was kicked out of Apple and John Scully took over back in 1985. By 1997, Apple was nearly bankrupt, when Jobs once again took over. Opinions appear to vary about why Apple nearly died, but mine is that Scully just didn't have the vision and the same drive to create quality products that Jobs had. And the fact is that, since Jobs died in 2011, the amount of grumbling over the quality of OS X and Apple hardware in general has grown to the point where many who have left say that Apple quality is just no longer good enough to justify the high prices. And many have left partly due to their perceptions that Apple is no longer ahead of many PC's in processing capability and looks. Many people want more powerful laptops for the CPU-intensive work they do, and they feel that Apple hasn't been coming out with new computers fast enough to keep up with PC's since Jobs's death. (See this, this, this, and this.)

As I alluded to in the previous paragraphs, Apple products are still significantly more expensive than their competitors. Although it's difficult to compare, my estimate is that Apple laptops and desktops are somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% to 100% more costly than equivalent PC's. An then there is the $5000-to-$13348 iMac Pro. The price says all I need to hear, but there are still people who think this is a "great deal". I don't agree, of course.

Now we come once again to the main problem with Apple products, as I see it. They are intentionally designed to communicate only with Apple products. I was first made aware of this back in the late '80's when people explained to me that floppies from my work MacIntosh couldn't be read by a PC. The file format was entirely different. You had to buy software to do the conversion. I have a friend who recently bought a new Samsung phone. She asked me how to transfer files from it to a computer and back. At first, I didn't see the problem. My two cell phones act just like flash drives when I connect them to any of my laptops. Transferring files is trivial. Then I realized her problem, she has a MacBook Air. Game over. It's designed not to work with any phone not made by Apple. And this is just the beginning. Apple does the same thing with cables, monitors, and anything else they can manage to keep from working with competitor's products. Why? Because they want to sell you their product, including their $20 to $50 cables and adapters that competitors sell for PC's for as little as $5 to $15. Apple also got rid of the headphone jack on their recent cell phones, I have no doubt, because they want to sell you their $160 AirPod earbuds. If I want to listen to music on my cellphone, I can go to Walmart and buy earbuds for as little as $5, and I have a very nice-sounding pair that I bought for $14 on Amazon. And my earbuds don't have batteries to recharge or wear out.

One last problem I have with Apple products is that Apple does everything they can to force you to get their products repaired at their facilities. This includes making them very hard, if not impossible, to repair yourself, and opposing any laws that try to give you the right to repair any of their products that you may have (see also here.) And of course, many people complain that Apple charges too much for those repairs.

Now you should understand why I have never owned an Apple product, and why I say that you shouldn't buy their products either.

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