Our love story began, like many, amidst the tumultuous, coming-of-age years of high school. Me, a wide eyed, optimistic 16 year old kid with a lanky, awkward build. I stayed out of trouble… choosing books over beers, and enjoying the simplicity of a life-before-adulthood. She was different. The new girl on the scene. A wide-bottomed goddess, pear-shaped to perfection, milky-white and miraculous. The talk of the town, if there ever was one. Her name? iMac G4.
There started my relationship with Apple products. Back then the majority of my time was spent listening to illegally downloaded MP3s, and making websites that showcased my angsty, school-aged poetry. However, like a lot of people I would imagine, I was hooked on Apple products. The beautiful and inspired designs surpassed only by the effortless functionality. Installing a new printer? That’s a simple as plugging it in. There was no messing around with drivers…. Things just worked.
It’s that functionality that brought Apple with me through the next decade as I carved out my niche as a photographer, eventually leaving my corporate life to go full time in this business.
Apple products aren’t just an integral part of my workflow, they are weaved directly into the life of my family and my friends. My wife and I currently own three iPads, two iPhones, two 2015 Mac Book Pro laptops, and a 2013 iMac that serves as a psuedo-backup server in our basement. I’ve documented thousands of photos (and hundreds of hours of video) of my family and personal life using the ever-more-functional camera on my iPhones through the years. My iPhoto serves as an album from the entirety of the second half of my life. I’ve documented every moment from hanging out with my friends in college, to holding my son in the hospital just moments after he was born. Which is why it pains me to admit - my eyes have started to wander. For the first time in over a decade, I am on the hunt for something better.
Beating a Dead Horse
PC versus Mac. It’s been done, many times. I don’t want to rehash that, but I think it’s important to talk about it. I realized that I hadn’t evaluated the PC market in over 10 years. The last time I had a Windows-based machine I was still using a CRT monitor to edit my 640x480 digital photos in Adobe Photoshop 7.1 Academic (that I downloaded from a friend of mine). It’s not really fair of me to base my opinion on non-Apple products off of when I last used them. Sure, in my cubicle life I had a Dell machine at my desk, but with XP installed as the OS and most of my work done in Outlook and Excel, it wasn’t really fair to pull from that experience either.
This is Not a Review
The thing about this article, is that I’m not actually reviewing anything. If you want to look over the technical specs of different computers, laptops, and tablets you can do so very easily online. There are a lot of people out there who are much more qualified to be reviewing electronics than I am (many of them write for Fstoppers). I’m coming at this from a slightly different perspective. I’m trying to hash out why myself, and so many others, are so brand-loyal to a company like Apple.
Like I wrote above, I think most people came on board years ago. Back then, Apple products were the gold standard. It’s what all the biggest filmmakers, photographers, and graphic designers were using. Having an Apple computer on your desk meant that you were operating at the highest level. You were one of the big boys, and you weren’t messing around. Apple knew this, too. They released product-after-product, and update-after-update that spoke directly to the professionals using their products.
This was pre-iPhone. Before the time when the battle for dominance in the mobile world had even started. The idea of a "smartphone" was a Blackberry that could get sports scores and email updates using data that was paid for by the minute. Apple, like many tech companies, was still in the business of making computers. Yes, they sold iPods, but they were still accessories to their core line of computers. Often times, they were bundled in with iMacs as an enticer to leave your PC and move to Apple. Things were just… different.
So, What Happened?
Well, a lot of things happened. On February 25, 2007 Apple released its first-ever commercial for this thing called the “iPhone.” The new smartphone hit the shelves a few months later. That was in 2007. The statistics on smartphone usage are widely available, and absolutely astonishing.
In 2010 about 62 million people in the United States had a smartphone. That number is estimated to hit about 223 million by the end of this year. This is why companies like Apple are innovating more in the mobile market than ever before.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
Even with all of that said, I realized something. It’s not Apple that’s the problem. Apple has been serving me well for years. I built my business with them. I make my living using their products. I’m typing this on an Apple product right now! See?
The problem is me. I have expectations of Apple that are based on a world that hasn’t existed in 10 years. Why should Apple care as much about the professionals using their products as they used to? Yes, we were there early, but the world is different now. There aren’t 263 million professional photographers buying a new computer every 18 months.
We live in a mobile-driven world. Just look at the usage stats from my website:
Almost 60% of the people who viewed my website last week did so on their phone. Be honest, when was the last time you even left your house (on purpose) without your phone? It’s more likely that I would forget to wear clothes, before I forgot my phone. It’s a physical part of me now (That’s kind of sad).
This Is Still Not a Review
I started this article by jokingly saying I was looking for a mistress. Maybe instead of blaming Apple for its lack of products that I desire, or it’s lack of functionality that comes with eliminating every usable port on their laptops, I need to look at myself. I’ve been loyal to Apple for a long time… probably too long.
I think it’s time I give a real look at Apple’s competitors. Is there a company or product out there I don't know about? If you're not editing on an Apple, what are you using? It’s been 15 years of fun with this polished aluminum line of products, but it’s time to move on. I love you Apple, but it’s clear we’ve grown apart. Let’s stay friends? We need to, for the kids.