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Apple is the world’s richest company and among its most loved brands (though it can’t keep growing forever Why Apple (Like Everything Else) Can't Keep Growing Forever [Opinion] Why Apple (Like Everything Else) Can't Keep Growing Forever [Opinion] There's no question about it: Apple's had an amazing decade. It's hard to recall, but it's only been ten years since Apple was just starting to sell a lame MP3 player with no wireless and... Read More ). But recent headlines make us wonder: is Apple finally losing its sheen? Are the fanboys disappearing?

Journalist Walt Mossberg explains the phenomenon of Apple’s legions of followers in a post titled, “It’s Not a Church, It’s Just an Apple Store“:

The biggest tech religion is the Church of Apple, with countless blogs defending its every move, regardless of whether it’s a good one.

Apple cultists are often quick to question not just the judgment, but the motives and personal character of anyone who dares to question the company’s magic touch. And, because they can’t see any other way of thinking, they assume that if you praise or use an Apple product, you must have signed up for the whole religion.

Our own Dave Parrack had predicted Apple’s decline after Steve Jobs stepped down Is Apple's Downward Spiral Inevitable Without Jobs? [Opinion] Is Apple's Downward Spiral Inevitable Without Jobs? [Opinion] All technology companies experience peaks and troughs. Products come and go, execs get up and leave, consumer tastes change. Just look at RiM and the fortunes of the BlackBerry platform for proof. Apple is just... Read More . While the reasons Dave cited might not be the same, there’s a case to be made that in the post-Jobs era, Apple’s most loyal followers aren’t as enamoured by it as before.

The Case Against Apple Software

Apple-fanboys-unhappy-with-apple-thumbs-down-mac

Marco Arment, the developer of Instapaper and a self-confessed Apple fanboy, recently wrote an article titled “Apple has lost the functional high ground”, in which he criticizes the Cupertino-based company for focusing on marketing instead of good software. He has since written that he regrets the original article for its sensationalism, but not the base sentiment in it — that Apple’s software isn’t as good as it used to be, and especially not as stable. Arment says:

“It just works” was never completely true, but I don’t think the list of qualifiers and asterisks has ever been longer. We now need to treat Apple’s OS and application releases with the same extreme skepticism and trepidation that conservative Windows IT departments employ.

In the article, he cites another long-time Apple fan, Geoff Wozniak, who shifted to Linux after increasing frustrations with Mac OS X. There are some OS X annoyances you can fix 8 Mac OS X Annoyances (Yes, They Exist!) Resolved 8 Mac OS X Annoyances (Yes, They Exist!) Resolved Mac OS X computers are the very model of simplicity and usability.When you plug one in and try to do something, it just works. There's no need to mess around with anything. Everything is in... Read More , but the problems are deeper than these. Wozniak has since removed the post, but you can still view a cached copy.

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In a discussion at Hacker News about this article, user brianstorms sums up the frustration of the loyalist: “It feels like Apple is abandoning its longtime users, the master users, the users who’ve climbed the pyramid, who’ve achieved a lot of game levels. It’s just going after that huge base of newbies and midlevel people who don’t notice or complain about all the changes that really, truly are not improvements.”

Journalist Glenn Fleishman, another long-time Apple supporter, echoed Arment’s concerns, but went into the details of each Apple software or service that needs to be fixed.

The Case Against Apple Services

Apple-fanboys-unhappy-with-apple-itunes

It’s not just the software, though. As a company, Apple has been at the forefront of innovation and delivered fantastic services time and again. A great example of this is iTunes, which started off as a super-simple music player that made it easy to buy music. However, despite hacks for improved functionality 8 iTunes Hacks For Improved Functionality 8 iTunes Hacks For Improved Functionality iTunes is a rich and feature-packed music management application, but that doesn't mean there's not room for improvement. Some simple changes and additional features can make the application even better. Read More , iTunes is losing its fanbase.

NPR reports that 2014 saw the largest drop in sales — 14% — as users shifted to subscription services like Spotify.  Users view Spotify as a simpler service, and long-time iTunes users  have switched to Spotify premium for $10.

“It’s so much easier to use”, said web designer Jason Mosley. He’s not alone:  our own Harry Guinness reckons Spotify is the end of iTunes Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify is no longer content to just compete with radio, now they're competing with the idea of even owning music. Read More .

Paul Stamatiou, a designer at Twitter, said Google’s services are what made him switch to Android. He calls Apple’s Photo Stream garbage, says Chrome and its browser sync is great, doesn’t use an iCloud email address (who does?), and is generally not relying on Apple’s services. “Most services I rely on daily are owned by Google,” he writes. “My world revolves around GMail and Google search. The list of Apple products I use daily largely amounts to OS X and Apple hardware.”

It’s too early to talk about it, but not many seem impressed with the new Apple Pay, which lets you buy things with your iPhone How To Use Apple Pay To Buy Things With Your iPhone How To Use Apple Pay To Buy Things With Your iPhone Your iPhone may some day be the only device you need to purchase products and services, but first you need to start using Apple Pay. Read More . Technology is meant to make our life easier, but Apply Pay’s problems make it a more frustrating experience, says Owen Thomas of ReadWrite. As Forbes puts it, Apple Pay is a solution in search of a problem.

The Case Against Apple Hardware

Apple-fanboys-unhappy-with-apple-keyboard-mouse

Finally, for a company that prides itself on its drool-worthy gadgets, Cupertino has dropped the ball lately. Take the recent launch of the Apple Watch and the iPhone 6 Plus Apple Reinvents The Watch, Unveils iPhone 6, Offers Free U2 Album, And More... [Tech News Digest] Apple Reinvents The Watch, Unveils iPhone 6, Offers Free U2 Album, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, other technology news not related to Apple. Honest. Read More .

The Apple Watch is not yet out, but it already got some weird and wonderful reactions iTime For An iWatch: Funny Reactions To The New Apple Watch [Weird & Wonderful Web] iTime For An iWatch: Funny Reactions To The New Apple Watch [Weird & Wonderful Web] The Apple Watch. It's a watch, a smartwatch, a watch that is smart. Sort of. And it's ripe for mocking. Read More . In our poll Will You Be Buying The Apple Watch? [MakeUseOf Poll] Will You Be Buying The Apple Watch? [MakeUseOf Poll] Apple has revealed its first smartwatch, but will you be buying the Apple Watch? Read More , 48% said they have no interest in this novelty item. It’s really not about whether the Watch will be good or not, it’s about what fans are expecting – and expectations aren’t high.

TUAW’s Victor Agreda Jr. writes, “My faith in Apple’s Watch launch is at an all-time low, but that’s largely because I look upon the glittering mass of issues the company has yet to address in a meaningful way and think, ‘So we’re just going to add to this mess, are we?'”

Meanwhile, the iPhone 6 is a great phone iPhone 6 Plus Review and Giveaway iPhone 6 Plus Review and Giveaway The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus is Apple's latest and perhaps strangest addition to its range of tablets and smartphones. Read More , but some consumers think Apple has lost its cool factor with it. A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 16% of respondents thought Apple has become less cool since Steve Jobs left. Users cited a lack of originality, claiming the company’s only new idea seems to be changing the size of its existing products.

Jim Jackson, a 55-year-old survey participant, thinks the iPhone 6 Plus is playing catch-up with the Samsung Galaxy Note series: “Apple is following Samsung at this point in terms of design. A couple of years ago they were making fun of Samsung because Samsung grew big and now they’ve gone big.”

Apple polarizes even tech journalists. Chris says there are five reasons to choose Android 5 Reasons To Choose Android Over iPhone [Opinion] 5 Reasons To Choose Android Over iPhone [Opinion] If you’re looking at buying a smartphone, you’re probably going to buy an Android device or an iPhone (sorry, Microsoft). What’s the difference, and which should you choose? We recently gave the pro-iPhone side of... Read More , and Tim counters with five reasons to choose the iPhone 5 Reasons To Choose iPhone Over Android [Opinion] 5 Reasons To Choose iPhone Over Android [Opinion] If you’re considering buying your first smartphone, you’ve got a fairly big decision to make. As well as choosing a carrier, plan and minimum contract period you then have to trawl through the barrage of... Read More . But our own Apple fanboy James Bruce puts across the reasons his next phone won’t be an iPhone Why My Next Phone Is Not An iPhone, From An Apple Fanboy [Opinion] Why My Next Phone Is Not An iPhone, From An Apple Fanboy [Opinion] I have been called an Apple fanboy on numerous occasions, so I may as well accept the moniker and move on. Yes, I love Apple products, and I shudder at the thought of touching Windows.... Read More .

The End Of The Fanboy?

Apple-fanboys-unhappy-with-apple-end

It’s too early to say that the Apple fanboy is disappearing. Indeed, it would be near impossible and there’s nothing wrong with it. Every tech brand has its group of core followers, be it Android, Linux, BlackBerry or anything else. But the growing voice of dissent among loyalists is louder than before.

What’s your take on Apple and its fans?

Image credits: imru2b12, SplitShire, thiagofest, Nemo, matcuz.

  1. macysthomas
    July 20, 2015 at 9:01 am

    I have used Macs since the Mac Plus. Never exclusively an Apple person. The Mac OS versus DOS was a no-brainer, even though Apple cost more. But the Mac OS has never been perfect

    Thirty years later and Apple is generating tremendous profits in an industry space that seems to feature low profit margins. And they owe a lot of shareholders a duty to maintain those high profit margins or see a tremendous decline in their market value.

    While lots of Google apps are "free", there is probably not a larger hoarder and data miner of your personal data than Google. One of the reasons I stay away from Android and Google calendar and other Google products (except gmail which I use from trash/low value email and Google search). The Europeans are right to be very wary of Google.

    When Apple's value equation is "We offer you cool and functional stuff but will charge you "extra" for it" I will sometimes sign onboard and others times not, but I appreciate the existence of this "space." But increasingly their value equation in the personal computer market is "Nothing really new other than processor upgrades, SSD upgrades that any PC manufacturer will offer but we will take more of the customer's money by making simple upgrades very difficult to do or very expensive to do or both."

    1. Desktop macs, Mac minis and iMacs (21 inch), that eliminate the possibility of upgrading the memory.
    2. MacBook Pros (Retina 13) that use proprietary connectors for SSD drives to make upgrading (currently) an impossibility except through Apple.
    3. Soldering memory onto Macbook Airs and Macbook Pros to extract the premium Apple charges for memory.
    4. Increasing the difficulty of upgrading a desktop's (iMac) storage.

    In addition, for the premium in pricing, I expect higher quality machines. I have not had tons of problems with Apple hardware but when I have a problem (with a 27 inch iMac from around 2009 and recently with a Macbook Air), Apple's ability to fix the problem was poor.

    It took over a year of repairs and returns and repairs and returns to fix the overheating problem with the iMac. Apple ended up providing us with a replacement unit (which is still working today). They replaced a lot of different parts (including the logic board) and still could not prevent the overheating which arose when using the machine for things like word processing or web browsing.

    The Macbook Air would not boot despite all of the PRAM resets, wiping of the disk and reinstalling of the Mac OS X. When I took it to the Apple Store, their diagnostic could not detect a problem with the video because the lid was closed but they concluded that the monitor screen was defective and needed to be replaced. I took the machine home to backup some additional files and then took the back case off just to see if anything obvious was wrong. Once the back case came off, the machine began working and has worked since then. My confidence level with the Genius Bar is very low.

    Bottom line: Apple is letting its short-term need to satisfy the "Market" undermine the core driver for its valuation: a satisfied customer base that believes Apple's premium is justified. This is a balancing act but Apple needs to hear from its customers that they are on the wrong track in deciding where that balance lies.

  2. Eliza Day
    June 13, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Totally agree. Apple has declined dramatically. RIP Apple.

  3. Chris
    March 15, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    As a former fanboy, I have to agree. Apple is lagging behind and I started to hate this company. Few reasons:

    - MBP chargers. I've had 4 of them in last 2 years. They broke easily (cord wears out). At $70 apiece it makes me feel like they are 'milking' me as much as possible. Even if it's covered by warranty (not every time), I still have to get it replaced. It's a charger, how hard is to make proper one??

    - Software. I replaced Safari with Chrome. Mail caused a lot of issues. Office suite was bad. And gaming? Haha, good luck with that.

    - Security. We all can remember few recent hacks aimed towards Apple. Fappening :)

    - Everything is just so damn expensive with Apple. Similar hardware from other companies is 30% cheaper.

    - Most recent announcements... MB Air has one universal port (you either charge your laptop or use external HDD or mouse - but just one at the time). Apple iWatch - most expensive model is 14000 dollars and battery lasts as little as 3 hours. Whenever I would see somebody wearing this watch, I would presume that he/she is the biggest iDiot I've ever seen.

    My solution? Regular laptop running Linux Elementary Luna (fast, stable, secure and open source) and phone running Android.

    I'll never gonna go back to Apple.

  4. Ryan C.
    February 5, 2015 at 12:13 am

    The trend-follower thing is based around something that has always happened with Apple.

    First, Apple unveils a product. That product gets quick public press, and, if it is good enough, is used by many people. This, in turn, leads to envy in the marketplace of Apple and the money they've made off of said product. These are the Macs, Apple IIs, and iPhone 1s.

    Two, other competing tech companies take the idea and make it their own. This has happened with almost every product that Apple has ever made, and comes in the form of Windows, Android, and the IBM PC. Not to say they are a blatant ripoff, however, they just preform similar functions. Often this early on, they are simply not as good as the Apple product.

    Three, Apple counter attacks with a new version (or two) of their new product line. These are the the Apple II+/IIe, the Mac II, and the iPhones up to about the unveil of the 3GS. These are the same product with a few more possible features and a snazzy new number.

    Four, others release competing products which can match or beat the Apple ones. These often are as good as, if not better than what Apple can provide, but the costs or lack of experience keeps itself out of the public eye for a while. These are the early IBM PC clones, the Android 2.0 - 2.2 devices, and Windows 3.1.

    Five, Apple releases a tie-in system. By tie-in, I mean something that is sort of a spinoff from the franchise into a new product. This is the Apple III, the iPad, and the (ugh) Pippin. Nine times out of ten it doesn't even catch on, and barely leaves a blip.

    Also, during this, they begin to lose a grasp on their audience. They begin to have flaws, which are thought for in a competing brand. The consumer starts to lose interest.

    Apple, however, continues to release their products. Usually, this begins with something very powerful that no one uses. This last blast is best represented with the Apple IIgs, which was a surprising end to the Apple II.
    It then may continue until it lives itself out, which happened with the iPod and seems to be happening with the iPhone, or just phase out into the next big thing.
    This is basically what happens with every Apple product, and is, honestly, quite simple, when words come down to it.

  5. Jackson
    February 4, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    At least with regards to hardware, Apple has never really "led the race" neither does it "play catch-up". They're only concerned with doing the best they can to provide the user with the best experience.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 12, 2015 at 6:21 am

      I disagree, Jackson. The first capacitive touchscreen phone; the first MP3 player with a mini drive; the thinnest laptop ever; Apple has often led the race in hardware, it just doesn't do it with a straight specs shoot-out like the other players do. And it often plays catch-up as well (and masks it with terms like "Retina Display" when you could have just said "HD" or "Full HD")

  6. sg99
    February 3, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    What goes around comes around. Here's hoping my children will not be forced to take out a loan to buy (mandatory) Macbooks for college/university in a couple years time! "Microsoft is not about greed. It's about innovation and fairness"...Bill Gates

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 4, 2015 at 8:57 am

      Ha, amen.

  7. -b
    February 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Fact: The world (a subset of which is the internet) is not falling out of love with Apple. Source: 2014 Q4 Earnings Report, it's all there. Let's face it, the internet isn't a good place to look for the consensus. The internet is primarily the home of the extreme reactions, opinions, and cat pics. You could argue that the Apple sky is falling and Q2 2015 will be a blood red quarter, but you don't seem committed. I'm not seeing any compelling enough arguments here to buy into any of the doom and gloom. But you seem to be trying hard, you even dug up iPhone defection articles from 2012. My take? It is the year of the iPhone 6, the watch will be a footnote, but some people will treasure it dearly. Will Samsung be able to stem the tide? Stay tuned...

    -b

  8. John-Paul Dimmers
    February 3, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Insert "It works.... just" where you see "It just works"

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 3, 2015 at 10:24 am

      Low blow, sire, low blow :D

  9. stephen shelton
    February 3, 2015 at 3:36 am

    I think there are multiple things going on with regard to apple. First there is a noticeable shift in how the company postures itself post Steve jobs. Mr. Cook does seem to accept and is now following other trend setters in the industry. He may not openly admit this but it is hard to ignore the move to larger screens, credit card pay with a phone, smart watch, etc.

    I think we are seeing a very slow transition in the industry from apple being a trend setter to an idea follower. It does apple no good to create what IT thinks the market wants when the market has in some instances spoken to the contrarey. You eventually need to lick your wounds and offer options that the market is requesting to stay relovent and give you opportunities to continue to expand.

    I don't think apples people are accustom to this change in business thinking, and at the same time seem to be suffering from post Steve jobs fresh thinking. I personally think they don't have the time. The cycle for new phones has continued to speed up and seeing as they are only one manufacturer/ software creator vs. Androids multi company , multi phone rollout, I see their current business structure unsustainable with the same level of quality they exhibited just 4 yes ago. They are being forced (by the industry, and public demand) to create and release a product at least equal to what the competition has once a year. The competition is releasing products all throughout the year with newer tech in each release by LG, Samsung, Sony, motarola, HTC, Etc. Just how are you supposed to innovate and stay ahead of groups like that. Most have their own manufacturing plants and are the primary creators of the new tech going into these phones.

    I am not saying apple products are bad. I am saying that their current competitive business model as it stands is completely unsustainable and needs to be changed fast or they will severely damage their companies image which will in tern damage their reputation and that will impact sales which will impact word of mouth etc. I believe we are swing the beginnings of this unsustainable business plan in how problematic their IOS software has been and continues to be after the release of OS 7. They simply do not have the time, manpower to correct issues with the current OS on all devices, plan new features to add to the OS and do proper R&D with these features to weed out the bugs let alone incorporate all of this into the design of their newest products and still leave time to innovate past the competition.

  10. stephen shelton
    February 3, 2015 at 3:35 am

    I think there are multiple things going on with regard to apple. First there is a noticeable shift in how the company postures itself post Steve jobs. Mr. Cook does seem to accept and is now following other trend setters in the industry. He may not openly admit this but it is hard to ignore the move to larger screens, credit card pay with a phone, smart watch, etc.

    I think we are seeing a very slow transition in the industry from apple being a trend setter to an idea follower. It does apple no good to create what IT thinks the market wants when the market has in some instances spoken to the contrarey. You eventually need to lick your wounds and offer options that the market is requesting to stay relovent and give you opportunities to continue to expand.

    I don't think apples people are accustom to this change in business thinking, and at the same time seem to be suffering from post Steve jobs fresh thinking. I personally think they don't have the time. The cycle for new phones has continued to speed up and seeing as they are only one manufacturer/ software creator vs. Androids multi company , multi phone rollout, I see their current business structure unsustainable with the same level of quality they exhibited just 4 yes ago. They are being forced (by the industry, and public demand) to create and release a product at least equal to what the competition has once a year. The competition is releasing products all throughout the year with newer tech in each release by LG, Samsung, Sony, motarola, HTC, Etc. Just how are you supposed to innovate and stay ahead of groups like that. Most have their own manufacturing plants and are the primary creators of the new tech going into these phones.

    I am not saying apple products are bad. I am saying that their current competitive business model as it stands is completely unsustainable and needs to be changed fast or they will severely damage their companies image which will in tern damage their reputation and that will impact sales which will impact word of mouth etc. I believe we are swing the beginnings of this unsustainable business plan in how problematic their IOS software has been and continues to be after the release of OS 7. They simply do not have the time, manpower to correct issues with the current OS on all devices, plan new features to add to the OS and do proper R&D with these features to weed out the bugs let alone incorporate all of this into the design of their newest products and still leave time to innovate past the competition.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 3, 2015 at 4:04 am

      "I personally think they don’t have the time. "

      You nailed it, I think.

  11. Chinmay S
    February 3, 2015 at 3:08 am

    Are you even aware of the recent financial results of Apple? In the last quarter, Apple had made an earth shattering $18 billion profit. Apple sold record 74.5 million iPhones, 21.4 million iPads and 5.5 million Macs. More and more people are ditching Android in favour of iPhone.

    The title of your article should be "Goodbye, Fandroids: Is The Internet Falling Out Of Love With Android? "

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 3, 2015 at 11:16 am

      I wasn't talking about the sales of the company. The article is referring to the extreme Apple loyalist, who swore by its products. I'm not questioning the largest company in the world, I'm questioning whether their fanboys have the same perspective as earlier in how they looked at the company's products.

    • Chinmay S
      February 20, 2015 at 11:59 am

      So basically you are saying that loyal Apple fans have abandoned Apple products altogether and the sales figure have come from people who never ever bought Apple products before.
      The sales figure was only possible if "extreme Apple loyalist" had also bought Apple products.

      After seeing the sales figure, anyone can make that your article doesn't makes any sense at all. I don't know what kind of logic you were thinking while writing this article.

      • Mihir Patkar
        February 21, 2015 at 4:30 pm

        The logic is that I can realize something is not awesome and still buy it. I don't claim my iPhone is the best phone in the world, but I still own one. I don't claim my Mac Air is the best laptop in the world, and I still own one. There is a difference. It's okay for an Apple loyalist to not think that Apple is the greatest company in the world and everything they make is magic, and yet still buy Apple products.

    • Chinmay S
      March 20, 2015 at 8:29 am

      That's the problem, you think that Macbook Air is not the best but the truth is that it is the best.

      PC Mag has ranked Macbook Air at #1.

      CNet has done the same thing.

      Truth cannot be modified according to personal preference. It reveals itself.

      • David
        April 4, 2016 at 11:00 am

        You sure do come across as an arrogant prick.

  12. vraeleragon
    February 2, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    I still love OS X because of Quicksilver. There are some Windows equivalents of it, but not to the same degree.

    The reason I don't use too much Google products is because at least Apple doesn't take as much data as Google does. I don't have any source for this, but we've seen how much Google knows about ourselves. At least I'm in a "walled garden."

    Macbook Air is the best (or one of the best) ultrabook in the market, and it's not expensive compared to other ultrabooks. Bootcamp makes life so much easier to partition Windows or Linux. Good luck trying to install OS X in a PC laptop. I also haven't found any touchpad that come even close to Macbook's.

    I admit I'm getting tired of my (only) iPhone 5 (my first smart phone was Android) and I've been looking at Nexus 5. I can do so much more with Android, but sometimes iPhone's simplicity is also its selling point. Sure you have so much freedom with it, but my time is better spent on something other than my phone.

    I guess you can call me a fanboy, but I've had my share of products from Apple, Android, Samsung, Windows, Google, you name it, and I like Apple better than the others. Everyone has different preferences, and we as consumers benefit from the competitions.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 3, 2015 at 4:02 am

      QuickSilver is awesome. A friend put it best: "OS X and Windows is not really all that different. QuickSilver is what makes OS X superior on MacBooks." Totally agree that nothing on Windows or LInux matches up.

      I think you'd be surprised by how much data Apple is taking :D

  13. Sue
    February 2, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    The last truly stable Mac OS was 6.8. Since then, much has been added, but nothing works as well. As the tech director at a school, I decided last year that there was no longer a reason to sick with Apple products. They're expensive, they no longer "just work" (which was my justification for buying them in the first place), and crappy chrome books do the education job better and for less. When I first spoke those words, everyone who knew me was stunned. I had been one of the biggest fangirls out there. I think Apple is doing well in new markets, but it will begin to struggle in old ones. Everything they do now is about increasing their bottom line with no interest in improving their product or its usability. Just look at their new MacBooks: they require iCloud or an external drive to transfer what I have on my current computer. It's really not what I had in mind.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 3, 2015 at 3:58 am

      Whoa, this is really interesting. You think Chromebooks can do the job of Macbooks, especially in schools?

      Google has been pushing them a lot in education, so your perspective is really interesting. Would you mind expanding on what makes you say Chromebooks are as good at doing the job for a cheaper price?

    • Sue
      February 3, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Mihir - There are highs and lows, but essentially, you get some truly extraordinary apps for very little money that permit you to do things that cost many thousands of dollars each on a Mac or Windows machine. The Admin Panel permits granular adjustment of settings for all users that can be easily handled even by a non-IS person. In Google apps, which are free, students can work collaboratively on projects and you can easily comment on what they do in a more detailed fashion than going over things in pen (though sheets is pretty basic). You can actually see what they're working on in progress and help before a project is finished. You can gain full control over a classroom using Google Classroom or the more sophisticated Hapara. You can interact with students, push out work to them and supervise their activity. GoGuardian has a filter system that permits you to track what students are doing, including word lists so that you can see if your students are harassing each other, and it permits you to track missing computers. There are many, many apps that have enabled to us to have audience response systems in all of our classrooms for pennies (or nothing at all, in some cases).
      The con here is that Chromebooks are garbage, especially when you're accustomed to having a MacBook. But I calculated the per year cost and, even if we replace the Chromebooks every two years vs. every five years for a MacBook, the Chromebooks are $40/year less than the MacBooks. And the MacBooks require piles of very expensive software. With a minimal technology budget, we will be one-to-one in a few short years. We could never do that with Macs. And our teachers are enthusiastically adopting the new Chromebook tools because they work in ways the teacher need them to. That said, Chrome on our remaining Macs is a nightmare, so this is very difficult to handle in a transitioning environment.
      Hope all that helps!

      • Mihir Patkar
        February 4, 2015 at 8:58 am

        Fantastic, thanks so much Sue!

    • Sue
      February 3, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      One more thing, Mihir - It seems that Google is trying to take over the world by pushing Chromebooks in schools. The simple act of giving unlimited storage to education users means that anyone on Google Apps will be wedded to Google and other companies will have to come up with apps that move an account from Google to their servers. It was a sly business move.

    • Jeo
      March 24, 2015 at 5:37 am

      "but nothing works as well" ... really, nothing?

      "with no interest in improving their product or its usability" ... again, really? What evidence do you have that have not improved their products or usability?

  14. Doc
    February 2, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I think one of the big things Apple has dropped the ball on is "it just works." :) With the OS X wifi problems (and others) plaguing Yosemite, the odd bugs plaguing iOS 8 (not to mention the so-so fingerprint reader), the fact is Apple's software is not as rigorously tested before release as it used to be.
    That and, starting with the iPhone 5, Tim Cook has progressively undone the limits that Jobs had put on things: Jobs was adamant at keeping the iPhone at 4", stating that nobody would want a larger phone they couldn't operate with one hand (the reach of a thumb across the screen). Now the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are even larger than the iPhone 5. This gives a faint misgiving that what Apple once said was set in stone isn't true any more.
    I, for one, am glad to see the Cult of Apple waking up and realizing there are other options...some of which will escape the Apple Walled Garden for good.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 3, 2015 at 3:56 am

      Heh, well, Jobs had a history of saying one thing and doing the other too. That's just how corporations work, I wouldn't read too much into it.

      I agree with your larger point though, which is the core of the fanboy's problem, I think. Apple is increasingly not "It just works" and that's a big, big problem.

  15. Stephan
    February 2, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    I've been an Apple user since the Apple II. I have mixed feelings about the progression of software. On the one hand OS X has had mounting finder issues since 2004 and Yosemite was the worst system release I've ever seen. On the other hand, 10.9.8 was probably the most polished macintosh system I've used since Mac OS 9.

    You also have to pair this with the realities of the changing device landscape. Notebook and desktop sales have been sliding for years. It's not an excuse for the hardware/software issues in os 10.10, but my guess is that they spent most of their resources on the growing market of iOS. iOS may not be nearly as advanced as Android, but it is still definitely the most polished and glitch free by a huge measure.

    Apple still has a huge edge in iOS software too. The deficit in apps available to Android was so huge this year that I was forced to switch back to iPhone after 5 years without it. As much as I preferred the customizable Android, being back in the iOS ecosystem has made life a lot easier.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 3, 2015 at 3:54 am

      Great points, Stephan, thanks for writing!

      I'll just disagree on the last bit. I don't agree that the deficit in apps available is huge. I think it's more about which apps *you* want to use. Generally, there are very few iOS-only apps without a good Android equivalent and vice versa. It's more about saying "I want this particular iOS app, it doesn't exist on Android."

  16. Jude Dunn
    February 2, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    I like Apple and its products. Many who know me describe me as a fanboy, and I admit the label fits. But the *reason* I'm a fanboy is because I like cool gear and software that helps me do the things I want to do. The moment another company does that consistently* better than Apple, I'm gone.

    *Consistently is the operative word.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 3, 2015 at 3:50 am

      That's a super healthy outlook towards tech products, Jude. I can respect that. I wouldn't call you a fanboy though, there's no blind loyalty here.

  17. Anish Parameswaran
    February 2, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I agree with some of the arguments made in this article. But, at the same time, some of the statements don't seem to bear any truth.

    The post-Jobs Apple had not declined in any way, shape, or form. Apple just recently had the best quarterly earnings of any company ever; and yet, this article continues to say the company is doomed.

    I agree that there is room for improvement in the hardware and the services provided by apple. This is true, however, with hardware and software services offered by many, if not all, other tech companies as well. But I wouldn't go as far as saying that the company is doomed and is losing support from its most loyal customers just because of these areas that need improvement.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 3, 2015 at 3:48 am

      I think you may have misunderstood my point here. I'm not saying Apple is doomed, far from it. I'm talking specifically about the fanboy. Unlike most companies and brands, Apple has had a different kind of following, a type of fanboy that is unique and loud about his loyalties. The article is talking about that phenomenon alone, not about Apple's success. It would be ridiculous to suggest that the world's biggest company is doomed :D

  18. J R Tur Pineda
    February 2, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    The main problem with Apple is the hardware. And greediness. Every new device is more expensive with less specs or almost no improvement. Take the new Mac Mini, for example, stripped of the i7 processor and impossible to upgrade its memory.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      I think the new Mac Mini is the only example of that. All the others have gotten significant upgrades without dropping price, which is pretty great!

    • Jeo
      March 24, 2015 at 5:35 am

      Greediness? This is a baseless claim. Because they make generally good stuff and make a profit doing so, they are greedy?

      • iiAm
        November 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm

        Fanboy defined.

    • Antionio Mendez
      April 5, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      It's not just the greediness and the dumbing down of hardware. They are also incredibly arrogant - will never admit to a faulty product design: Iphone 4 antenna reception problems, screen on macbook pro where Apple finally settled in court. And now with macbook pro there are huge problems with the anti glare coating coming off making the retina screen look horrible. Most of the thousands of users affected are declined a repair under warrenty for a 2-3,000 dollar device. They even remove negative comments on their user forums, even from posters who are only making critizing but relevant comments. Simply unheard of .

      It's also amazing how the old myths about Apple products still are taken to heart by the fans. "Ease of use" & "it just works", well in my experience with Apple products those are myths dating back to the launch of the first Mac in 1984 - that was definitely easy to use but also described as a toy that was useless for serious work. I bought an Iphone and an Imac last year and I have never spent so much time on Google just to find out how the most basic things work. Scratch the surface of IOS or OSX and you'll find all the limitations. I find the Mac impossible to use as work tool. I am now getting rid of my Apple collection of devices out of disappointment and strong disagreement/contempt with the business morale and ethics of Apple. I am really sad about this, because Apple has re-invented so many great products from the PC to smartphones.

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