Every once in a while everyone has to update their electronics and for quite some time now I’ve been evaluating the different options out there.
Here’s my honest review on the reasons why I choose Apple computers and OSX when buying computers and laptops over Microsoft Windows yet Google Android instead of iOS (iPhone/iPad) when purchasing smartphones.
Computers: Why I prefer a Mac over a Windows
Mac: Drag and drop the icon into the Applications folder (5 seconds), that’s it, app installed. It took me some time to realize that was everything to it. To uninstall, drag and drop the icon to the Bin (maybe there’s some files in Application Support folder but they don’t usually weigh too much).
Windows: You need to follow the installation steps where they try to trick you into installing search bars, browser plugins and spywares. To uninstall, follow another wizard again, make sure to select everything, then delete the folder in Program Files, search the Registry for leftovers…
Mac: a single one-page:
Windows: 3 level deep lists with tons of options, links and hard to find menus.
Mac: Light, beautiful, durable, silent. Keyboard has light for working at night, shortcuts to volume…
Windows: Either the cheap plastic laptops or the ugly gaming ones that look like aliens. Why can’t we have something nice?
Mac: You got to be careful about what you download and open in OSX, but the chances are so small that it’s probably not worth it to install an antivirus.
Windows: Good luck, an antivirus is a must.
“Terminate process” or “Force Quit”
Windows: Whenever a process has become stuck and you want to Ctrl+Alt+Del and stop it, there’s nothing more frustrating than pressing that “Terminate process” button and see how Windows doesn’t give a fuck about it.
Mac: When you Force Quit, the system responds instantly.
Startup loading time
Windows: When was the last time you shut down or restarted your computer? Probably every day or two.
Mac: I hardly ever do it. Maybe once every two weeks to feel better. Just close the lid on your laptop and get going.
Annoying system updates
Windows: I have a Windows laptop I only use for testing, so every now and then I’ll launch it. Last time it had been a couple months since the last use and when I opened it I had to install… wait for it… 276 updates!!! What’s more worrying though is that I had to install them in batches and restart four times, taking one and a half days before I could use it. And don’t let me get started on unrequested restarts whenever Windows feels like it, humans should be in control, not the other way around.
Mac: Updates take a few minutes 90% of the time. For those big updates they can take as much as 10 minutes and a 20 second restart. Hell, you can reinstall the whole OS in an hour.
File/folder naming and structure
Mac system folders are way better organized than Windows and their name is better too (short, no spaces, lowercase…). For those of us who need to use the console, Windows hurts.
Very similar to my web server (Debian), setting both local and production server is a one-time job since they share all configuration files, also, testing is more reliable (there’s no “oh, that’s a bug that only happens in Windows/Linux” issues).
Mac: The Unix/Linux/Mac console is powerful, neat and perfectly integrated with the OS. The console is way more powerful in Unix systems than in Windows. As a bonus, I just need to learn Unix commands since as a web developer my web servers are Linux distributions also. No need to learn two different ways of doing the same thing.
Separate volume for headphones and speakers
Mac: Whenever you switch between headphones and speakers, OSX remembers your preference which is great if you are in an office for example: loud on headphones, low on speakers.
Battery charges faster + visual cue
No need to open the laptop to see if the laptop is fully charged, a green/orange light is always visible in the charger, in older Apple laptops you had a button that when pressed would show you the percentage. Also, it charges way faster.
No need to defrag
Mac: Defragmentation is a thing of the past on Apple computers.
Windows: You still need to defrag every once in a while.
OS/Hardware are designed for each other
Mac: No need for drivers and no incompatibilities, the same company that makes the hardware, makes the software.
Windows: Each hardware company chooses or makes its own components and then they need to develop their own drivers which usually is not a priority so they get fewer updates and are less reliable.
Mac: Maybe its me but the fans in OSX are much more silent than in any Windows laptops I’ve ever had.
Mac: A little detail, nonetheless has proven really useful every now and then.
Windows: You need to get a top-notch laptop for it, and most of them give you colored lights which are not suitable for professional/business environments.
Mac: Move your mouse to a top corner and see the Desktop, perfect for drag and dropping files quickly.
Cmd+Space for the win
Mac: Find files, use the calculator…
Magnetic charger plug
Mac: I must mention this one because it is pretty important and has saved the integrity of my laptop many times.
The feeling of user priority
Windows: When working with Windows I feel like there’s a thousand different processes running, giving less priority to whatever I’m working with at the moment, I am punished by lag and getting constantly interrupted by background stuff that needs to do whatever.
Mac: The opposite happens with OSX, I feel like even though there are other things running in the background, whatever is the app I’m working with has full priority and everything else is secondary. Human over machine.
And why I prefer Windows
After a few months I don’t need it anymore, although it was a frustration when switching from Windows to Mac. If you miss your Delete button you’ve got two solutions: press Fn+Backspace or install PowerKey to give that pretty useless Power button the Delete function.
Even though I am an occasional gamer, every now and then I like to try out a new game. The number of games that work on Mac is quite limited sadly. You can set up Windows in a Mac to have both systems but it takes time to set up and disk space.
You can get the same hardware specs for half the price.
Why I prefer Android to iOS
Above are the reasons why I like Mac OSX, not iOS, my dislike increases every day even though I’ve had iOS for all my life I am now pretty certain my next phone will be an Android (if they ever start making small phones again). iOS has many disadvantages and when it first appeared it was way superior to its alternatives. Right now, Android is much better though, here’s why:
Slow approval cycle
iOS: It takes at least a week to publish a new app or updates to it. Even “iOS expedite reviews“, which should be urgent updates to fix critical bugs, take 3 full days.
Android: You can get your App published for the first time in less than an hour, and updates are that fast too.
While you may think this doesn’t concern you as a user, it does. Being weeks behind a new update means you are constantly missing out on cool new features of your favorite Apps, and for the price you paid that is unacceptable. From an App Developer’s point of view, it means you need to constantly keep an eye on when the new update is launching to be ready for any bug or feedback as well as keeping backwards compatibility so as not to break anything between simultaneously running versions.
App censorship and hypocrisy
I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here, but this says it all:
“the problem with Apple is that they’re not clear as to what is legal or illegal, so to speak. They change when they enforce certain rules, how they enforce them, and often without warning.”
Read the full article here.
Nowadays, all smartphones start to run slower after a year of use, battery life shortens (loses 20%, in two years loses 50%)… In 4 years your device starts to become incompatible with most apps and starts having many faults, not just becoming slow, which is understandable since software keeps asking for more hardware power. But the unforgivable hardware problems such as the Home or Silent button not working anymore, the phone shutting down while still at 20% or the WiFi disconnecting intermittently.
To make things worse, Apple stops giving old OS any software updates at all and, what’s worse, Apps stop working. Now, some may think you need to update your phone every few years if you want to keep up with technology advancements and that might be understandable, yet the fact that you can’t even have old phones as a backup because they become completely unusable is a huge shame. You just end up with a paper holder that’s got no use except for throwing at the bin, not so “green” now, huh Apple?
iOS: The charger adaptors are also updated constantly so that you need to buy new ones frequently. I now have a cord in my office, a cord in my bed, a car charger and an extra one lying around. Well, they are obsolete so that’s $60 in useless cords. What’s worse, ALL Apple cords end up tearing apart and breaking although you pay a high price for them.
Oh, and now you got rid of the headphone mini-jack, great.
Inferior web apps
Web apps are the future, they use Open Source languages, are widely available across all devices, are tiny, can be opened anywhere (mobile, desktop, laptop, car…) and usually require less CPU compared to native apps. They are still not as powerful as native apps yet they are getting there pretty fast.
Android: Recently implemented push notifications for websites.
iOS: Still years behind in allowing any further advancements since Apple is not interested in such thing, they wouldn’t be able to have control over the apps or get their 30% commission on any sale so they delay the technology on purpose (there are errors reported and still open from more than 6 years ago).
Slower software updates
Apple takes longer to release new mobile versions than Android.
Less participation from users / Listening to feedback
Android has always been more open to listening to their users for new features while Apple really needs to have a public scandal in order to react to their customer’s wishes.
Many platform limitations
Android: With Android I have higher customization options that allow me to customize my phone the way I like it. It also has a richer internal hardware APIs which allows apps to do things you’d never imagine in an Apple ecosystem (such as the WiFi channel scanner or being able to hear all notifications while driving). While this may not be a big thing for most of humans, for a power-user it is, and anyone who is passionate about technology be it a developer or a geek should lean towards buying a high-end Android instead of an Apple device.
Smaller hardware API
Apple is very limited in allowing developers to use and access hardware functionality. While this may be done for “security” measures, isn’t it better to allow everyone and then block misbehaving apps rather than blocking everyone by default?
A few examples, in Android:
- Prey App allows you to track your phone if it gets stolen. A very useful feature is that it can disable powering off the device while the device is locked, that’s great since most thieves will turn off your phone and “Find your iPhone” becomes useless.
- Audify reads your notifications out loud, perfect while driving.
- WiFi Channel scanner scans close WiFi networks to see which WiFi channels are busier so you can improve your WiFi signal.
- Should I Answer checks who is calling you and checks with a huge phone number database to see if it is a scam or spam call, then blocks it automatically so you never get annoying phone calls
Hard to hack / Jailbreak
Android: You can change the Operative System that comes with it. I’ve heard very good words about LineageOS for example, an open source Android OS developed by the community and without any government, lobby or company putting their interests in it. In iPhone you get to use whatever Apple says, to upgrade when they want and never be able to downgrade.
Not everyone will want to change the OS, but just having the freedom to do so is important and shows you the attitude of these companies.
Android has better Google integration
Like it or not, I am a frequent user on many of Google’s products: Chrome, GMail, Drive, Spreadsheets, Calendar, Analytics…
More people have Android
Which means that if you run out of battery in the middle of a trip you will always find someone with a charger that works. Or if you don’t know how to enable something in your phone, chances are other people might be able to help. Or you can also get great app ideas from other fellows.
Why not use a mini-USB connector? Why does it need to be different from everything else? Chargers cost a lot of money and they become obsolete every few years.
No downloads or file folders
When you are browsing the Internet and want to download a file it’s fine if it is an image, but if what you are downloading a video or a PDF then you need third-party apps. Same stuff if you want to have a copy of your CV or a Powerpoint presentation in your iPhone.
Non-standard screws and difficult disassembly
While it can be a good idea to “protect your users” from disassembling their physical devices, Apple’s weird screws mean you need special screwdrivers to open your phone in case you want to replace its battery or broken screen. Not every repair is easy, yet the Internet is full of step-by-step tutorials and in 30 minutes you could fix that screen that would instead set you back $200, lose all data and be a few days without your phone. What’s more worrying is the attitude here and the sign that Apple wants to make money out of you, why would they use special screws if not? Also, why do they make it so complicated anyway?