I’m in trouble.
It’s been seven years since I committed myself to the cause. In that time I have been transformed, seen incredible new things, and brought others to an understanding of the true way while rejoicing at their accepting this wonderful rebirth.
But now, it seems, my walk is faltering…inside are doubts I can’t suppress or ignore…my faith is beginning to fade.
How did it come to this? Oh Apple, why have thou forsaken me?
I think it began with the iPad.
Thanks to a generous birthday gift I was able to experience the new technology sensation shortly after it launched here in the UK back in 2010. I was immediately in love. The elegant dance of information beneath my fingers beguiled my skeptical mind and left me with the profound sensation that I was engaging with the future. It seemed a million miles from the Sinclair Research ZX Spectrum that had initially filled me with wonder all those years ago.
All was well until the release of it’s younger sibling twelve months later. I saw no need to upgrade as the addition of a camera was of no interest and the speed of my original iPad was more than satisfactory. Then I tried to download the newly released iMovie and discovered that it was not available for my tablet. Surely there was some mistake? I was on the cutting edge – probably for the first time in my life – how could my hardware already be redundant? Then other non-iPad 1 apps started to appear…it had begun.
I comforted myself with the thoughts that I probably wouldn’t have used them anyway, and my iPad was still the brilliant machine that it always had been. The pain subsided, I learned to live within my reduced but still rich digital environment and the hurt passed into memory.
Then Apple did it again.
iOS 5 sounded wonderful. The ability to have my documents synced between the iPad and my MacBook without any kind of fiddling around with importing or exporting was the kind of seamless thing I expected from the Cupertino boffins. And now here it was, all for the princely sum of nothing at all!
Only things weren’t quite how they seemed.
Within a short time of upgrading I noticed that my once very stable tablet was now crashing…a lot. Once it even locked up and required a reboot – something I’d hardly ever experienced in my time among the fruit people. The cause? iOS 5. Forums were alive with similar stories and the only fix it seemed was to wipe the disk and start again, then disable the iCloud settings. I duly did this and, in a fashion, it worked although my machine does still crash more than it used to – plus I can’t use the syncing feature for fear of the whole thing breaking again. I wasn’t even given the option of returning to the previous version of the iOS that worked perfectly with the iPad 1 because Apple don’t look back, only forward.
Then I discovered that upgrading my Macbook to the newly released OSX Lion would be problematic because its limited 2gb of internal memory means it will struggle to cope, plus the trackpad only supports two finger gestures which means it will miss most of the benefits that Lion offers.
So instead of a brave new world I was given a slightly more broken one. Not quite what I had hoped for.
Now I find myself in that awkward time when my main machine (the aforementioned old white Macbook) is beginning to show signs of age and will possibly need upgrading within the next year. But for the first time in a long, long time I’m actually finding myself question whether I want to pay premium prices for something that might be reduced to second-class citizenship a damn sight faster than I’d like. I’ve never regretted buying anything from Apple. Since my conversion I’ve bought and used heavily an iBook, Macbook, iPod touch Gen1, iPod Gen5, iPod Shuffle, iPad, and Apple TV. All of which have been brilliant. But as times get tougher my eyes are starting to wander.
The problem I’m faced with (and I realise that in the grand scheme of things it’s a trifling one) is that buying something new from Apple these days has the strange effect of making you feel obsolete so very quickly. I fully accept that the thing that makes them great is that they push forward all the time, but if you’re like me and only earn a modest income that precludes you from buying a new model every two years then it can get strangely depressing. Has it always been like this? I don’t remember it as such.
The thing is I can’t go back to Windows. I just can’t. So where does that leave me?
In recent months I’ve started exploring the idea of Linux….and it’s quite interesting. Sure it doesn’t have the simplicity of OSX, nor the beauty. But it does actually work, is free, and because of it’s home-brew nature doesn’t leave you in the dust only months after you’ve paid a fortune for something. I don’t know if I’ll be able to withstand the constant fixing that it will no doubt require, but I’m finding the fresh environment, the surprising fun of reconnecting with the workings of a system, and the frontier attitude genuinely refreshing. How long this will last I don’t know. Those MacBook Airs are mighty tempting. But at least here I can enjoy the idea of salvaging old machines rather than saving for new ones…
What do you think?