It has been nearly two months since I scanned the headlines on Apple websites. It has been even longer since I wrote my last article on Apple at ReadWrite. I have been busy getting two books out the door.
I am not surprised that there is little to draw me beyond the typical Apple headlines. I got the feeling that Apple and I were heading in different directions as I was finishing up my books. I am one of those people who still work with desktop computers, build websites, manipulate photos and graphics. I suspect in Apple's world that I am something of a dinosaur. I judge platforms by the applications that they bring to me and the productivity that I find from using those tools. I do not own an iPhone or an iPad.
Still I am not here to argue that Apple is going to disappear, is poorly managed, or has crummy products. By most financial measurements Apple of 2013 is a great success. Unfortunately, all that success has not made it to my desktop. I am here to report that I see little reason to keep Apple on my immediate radar. I am actually down to two applications that only run on a Mac. I still cling to Pixelmator as a favorite graphics tool and I have a couple of websites where I use Rapidweaver, but that is it. The rest of my Mac experience is gone. I got tired of waiting for new versions of the iWork suite. iPhoto managled one too many photo libraries and why anyone would put up with iCloud and its services is beyond me. I use Postbox on Windows for my mail.
I did give Apple a fair chance at keeping my loyalty. I bought a new MacMini in January and with the OX 10.8.3 update it has become a stable and reliable partner. It is not nearly as fast as my similarly powered Lenovo desktop running Windows 8 but speed is not really the issue. The real issue is that there is no software that draws me over to the Mac platform and I am not that happy with the Mountain Lion interface which should scare folks since Windows 8 is my main other platform.
I thought iAuthor might be something that would be important to me, but when I found out that it would only work with an iPad attached, I gave up on the Mac as my publishing platform. Amazon has a very capable piece of software that emulates a Kindle which I can use to view my work before I publish. There are some subtantial advantages to being on the Kindle platform so it did not take much to kill the idea of moving my books over to the iPad. While I am not a huge fan of Word, it seems to be the best tool with the most specific instructions for creating books to be published on the Kindle platform. I actually tried my older version of Word running on the Mac but it just made for some additional work.
Then there is the whole cloud issue. DropBox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive all work very well and do what I need. I have still not met anyone who loves iCloud. I know Apple keeps making some incremental changes to Photostreaming to make it palatable, but I have been burned too many times by Apple's ever changing online photo storage strategies. I do not care about iCloud anymore.
This August will mark thirty-one years since I first came to the Apple platform. I got excited about it because I could do things with that first Apple II+ and subsequent Macs that I could not easily do with other computers. That has changed and I did fight the change. Over the years I campaigned for a better and more reliable iPhoto and even a small tower that would more closely meet the needs of those of us who still believe that creating quality content requires more than an iPad or iPhone. I even sort of grew to like Pages before I decided it had become just another abandoned Apple software product.
Even if Apple does come up with a tower, I likely will not be looking at it because I do not see a new version of Microsoft Office coming to the Mac in the near future. I have more hope that I will figure out how to use Google Docs to publish my books than I do that Microsoft is going to bring an upgraded version of Office to the Mac. It is not that I love Google more than Apple but they do update their core products regularly. Beyond the Office issue, Apple has become an expensive platform. If you want to argue with me on that consider first that I have purchased three I5 computers in the last six months, one Lenovo Ultra Book, one Lenovo tower, and one MacMini so I know what comes with each system. I am not really intrigued by ever thinner iMacs. I would rather have a more reliable one instead of the one in my equipment closet that died an early death.
As I watch Apple executing its huge bond deal in order to buy stock back to keep its stockholders happy, I have to wonder what it would have cost to get some upgraded iWork apps out the door and make OS X better not just glitzier. Some professional Mac users would have paid for those new Apple products. That the MacMini on my desktop is more a curiosity than my workhorse is a little sad. After all, over thirty years is a long time to live on a particular platform, but when all the signals to move on are there, it is hard to ignore them.
Years ago Apple gave me the tools to do some really neat things. Today the deep integration of Google's mapping software and its seamless integration with Google's cloud services for maps and photos let me create a rather unique travel guide. The mapping done on my Android phone would not have been as easy on the iPhone. Certainly the mapping tools in Lightroom sealed the deal for me. My decision to run Lighroom on my Lenovo tower came down to pure economics. The $599 MacMini came with a 500 GB hard drive and the $479 Lenovo came with a 1 TB hard drive and had more room for photos. Its storage is also more easily upgradeable than the MacMini's.
I will continue to keep an eye on Apple, but it will be more to fulfill my curiosity than to plan any further purchases. I have no doubts that there are plenty of folks out there sitting on the edge of their chairs just waiting for the next Apple product. I hope whatever it is goes well for Apple and for them.
If you are curious about my new travel guide, A Week at the Beach-The 2013 Emerald Isle Travel Guide, I have created a Kindle promotion with two free days, May 1 & 2, to download the book Amazon has free reader software that lets you read a Kindle book on anything including the iPad, iPhone, and Mac. In fact with the Amazon sofware you can easily have the book on all your devices. You will find the details about the free promo and software at this page.