With Apple seen as the premium product for the professionals, the eye candy for non-professionals and the status for the rich, I would say that I would probably fall into the first category as I am a programmer/developer. However, I have never had the need to purchase an Apple product. Before I get into this, I would just like to point out that this is not a competition between Apple and the world as I do believe they have a place in the market however I do think there are better and cheaper alternatives than the Apple product and the other products will meet the needs of most people out there.
Needs vs Wants
I think when purchasing any product, these are the two questions you should ask yourself:
- Do I want this?
- Do I need this?
If your answer is Yes for want but No for need then I would say don’t purchase it. If however the answer is Yes for need then go ahead and purchase. It is important that you have available the correct tools to do what you need to do. Wanting something shows desire and desire shows ego however I won’t get caught up in that philosophical argument.
Obviously, we all know that Apple’s product in this market is their iPhone. The iPhone is such a well built product, I find it amazing. It was at the forefront of smartphones and I have to admit that without it smartphones would not be at the point it is today. It is a super product and it is something that every kid wants to have because it is cool, every celebrity wants to have because it looks good and most professionals because it functions amazingly.
My current phone is the Samsung Galaxy S3 which I believe competes with the Apple iPhone 5 in terms of specification. So what has lead me towards the Galaxy S3 over the iPhone 5?
- Java – I learned Java in University and Android apps are generally built in Java and I see this as the perfect platform for me to transfer my Java skills into practical use.
- Android – it’s an open source platform therefore the Handset manufacturer (whether it be Samsung/LG/etc) do not have to license the software and can make alterations to the platform as they see fit. In turn this could lead to fragmentation of the Android platform however it helps brings the best out of innovation and ideas and we aren’t dictated to by a single company as to what we can and can’t have or use.
- Specifications – Simple things such as the ability to change batteries, change SD cards, use the industries micro USB port. The fact that it has a 16:9 720p screen which is an industry standard therefore viewing video content will be at its most immersive.
- Modify – To fit my needs as a developer, I need to be able to do stuff to a handset which you cannot normal do so I have acquired root (super user) access to my phone which allows me to modify it such that the software fits my needs. Attempting doing this on an Apple iPhone (aka Jailbreak) can be very risky, frustrating, and Apple have made every attempt to not allow you to do this. This does have its advantages in terms of security however the disadvantages outweigh the advantages for my requirements.
- Price – The Galaxy S3 is simply cheaper than the iPhone 5.
You’ll probably find that 95% of the average things you would want to do is generally available from an alternative phone as well as much more for a better price.
When it comes to using a computer whilst sat at a desk, I have grown up with using a Microsoft Windows machine having used every main release of Windows since Windows 3.1 up to Windows 8.1. I have always found that building a computer from parts is a lot more cost effective and customisable than buying a pre-built machine. I also find that a custom built Windows machine has more choice of games as oppose the Apple Mac. When I see an Apple iMac or a Mac Pro being used at its best, this is usually for image editing or video editing, both of which can also be done using Windows/Linux. My issue with an iMac or a Mac Pro is that you are limited to what you are able to upgrade on the machine. It’s needless to say that an iMac or a Mac Pro definitely looks better on the desk but that shouldn’t be the thing that defines my thousands of pounds worth of purchase.
In my industry it’s normal to be surrounded by Apple Macbook Air and Apple Macbook Pro users as out of the box you can guarantee it will provide for those powerful and mobile needs with little worries. It’s also worth noting that the laptop industry is a huge industry with many laptop manufacturing companies looking to provide a solution for every need from your very basic ‘web browsing’ netbooks to your powerful Alienware portable gaming machines. In this department I think Dell has this covered to provide near to as good specifications as Apple do with laptops. In fact, I am a proud owner of the Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition which comes with Ubuntu 12.04 out of the box and Apple Macbook Pro like specifications with an Apple Macbook Air build quality with a cheaper price tag. So taking power, price and software into consideration, this was an easy alternative purchase for me to make.
Apple are renowned for the brilliant build quality of their products and they should well be as every little detail has been thought about. You’d even go as far as saying Apple are like the Bentley of computing. Obviously, when it comes to the products I have purchased from the leading manufacturers, I have still got excellent build quality and I have built my own desktop computer so that’s like my own baby. So, when it comes to paying the premium for the build quality, I think there are always alternatives out there for less of a premium.
I know that Apple staff in the Apple store love to look after customers should they have an issue with their product subject to the product being in warrantee. If the product is not in warrantee, things can get rather difficult and rather expensive.
I had a little experience when helping a friend purchase an iPhone cable from the Apple store which was rather abnormal. What should be a simple pick up your product and take it to the till kind of purchase, we had to do the following:
- Pick up the product
- Tell a member of Apple staff that we want to purchase the product
- The Apple staff looks for a scanner with an Apple iPhone built in
- Scans the product
- Asks us to fill in some personal information onto the scanner
- Takes the money
- Waits in queue of other Apple staff waiting to use the till which is located in a random table.
- Puts cash in the draw and creates a receipt.
- Hands receipt to us
Surely, that does seem rather overkill and unnecessary although a minor difference, it does show Apple do want to do things differently.
Once you buy an Apple product, you are part of their ecosystem. I relate this to how only Apple software and purchases will only work on Apple products. These are things such as iTunes music tracks and Apple apps purchased. Purchasing an MP3 normally means you can use it on many different devices and purchasing an Android app will stay linked to your Google Account and can be used on any Android device so you will never have to feel locked in. Unfortunately, you have to follow Apple’s rules when it comes to their ecosystem. Here’s an interesting article explaining every little element of the Apple ecosystem: http://gigaom.com/2013/08/31/9-smart-and-useful-features-of-apples-iphone-ecosystem-that-make-it-hard-to-switch/
In conclusion, I don’t have anything against Apple in particular but I think their ideology doesn’t fit my lifestyle at this moment of time. If I were ought to purchase an Apple Product in future, it would only be because I need to.