An open letter to my old friend, Apple

Subject: An open letter to my old friend, Apple
From: The Disappointed Mac User
Date: 8 Sep 2016

Dear Apple,

I’m writing to say goodbye.

It’s a sad day for me, as I feel like I’ve lost an old friend.

There was a time where I would sit, with bated breath, eagerly anticipating the next Steve Jobs keynote speech. I would sit back afterwards, exhausted from the excitement, blown away by the Steve show. “Reality distortion field” or not, he always knew how to knock my socks off.

I would visit the pages of Macrumors on a daily basis, hoping for a glimpse of what Cuppertino would release next – scouring the Internet for leaked photos or technical specifications of “the next big thing”.

I would tear off the shrink-wrap around my fortnightly copy of MacUser with glee, feeling like part of a secret club of those “in the know” – scouring the free InsightUK brochure for my next purchase.

We had some good times, you and me. Some great times, in fact. Memories of colourful iMacs and iBooks, the first iPod/iPad/iPhone, hilarious and clever TV advertisements, and the excitement of my first ever visit to an Apple store – one in Tampa, Florida (we didn’t have one in the UK at the time).

Sure, there were some bad times too - puck shaped mice, exploding batteries, dodgy eMac screens that were distorted by their own speaker magnets, cube shaped computers that turned themselves on and off when near a radiator – but in general, you excited and inspired me. You made me fall in love with tech over and over again.

Alas, those days are long gone.

The company I once knew and loved is now unrecognisable. Gone is the innovation, the ground breaking industrial design, and the ability to poke fun at the rest of the tech industry (good old Jeff Goldbloom). I guess what we’re saying is: Tim Cook’s Apple is not Steve Job’s Apple.

Yesterday, you released the iPhone 7. I’ll be honest, I’ve not had an iPhone since the 4s. I was so disappointed with how unusable the 4s was that I’ve resisted another iPhone, waiting for that glint to reappear in my eye. I’d read that the new iPhone was going to be “the next big thing”, and for the briefest of moments, I had THAT feeling of excitement again.

My disappointment obvious for all to see. The industrial design that isn’t a move on from the iPhone 6, Mr Cook touted features that have existed elsewhere on Android phones for a couple of years, and worst of all – the removal of the 3.5mm jack. Ditching the useless floppy drive and replacing serial ports with USB was inspired – but there’s nothing wrong with the 3.5mm jack, especially if you favour sound quality over gimmicks. That, along with an uninteresting Watch update and an overpriced pair of wireless earphones that could easily fall down a crack in the sofa left me utterly disappointed, yet again.

I don’t hate you, Apple. Far from it. There’s still a special place for you in my heart. Like an old friend that you don’t really talk to anymore, but have fond memories of skipping class and listening to music with. But you and I have run out of things to say, and now I have much cooler friends, friends who capture my imagination and make me want to hang out with them. And in a way, I hate myself for feeling like this, but it’s the truth.

It seems that with the exception of Mac OS X, which I’ll admit, is still a big reason you’re still in my life, everyone seems to do something better than you. For music, I get more enjoyment from the sound quality a FiiO DAP and JDS Labs amp with Fidue IEMs. For a phone, I love my Huawei P8 - the hardware is sweet, and the Emotion UI is almost an Apple-like take on Android. And at home, I use a touch screen Chromebook that turns into a tablet – the battery lasts for days, cost £250, and has all the connection ports I’d need (I’m looking at you new MacBook).

I hope it’s not goodbye forever. And I know people still love you. The iPhone 7 will be a great success, and The Watch still seems to be something people aspire to (even though my $100 Garmin does everything I need). But for someone who followed you through thick and thin, someone who was touting the benefits of G3 processors to Pentium users in the late 90s, someone who endured the Gil Amelio days, someone who bought and stuck with the Mac OS X Beta Preview, someone who bought Mac after Mac after Mac (and still uses a MacBook Pro at work), I need something more from you than just “me too” tech.

Please, Apple. Blow me away. Do something truly amazing. Inspire me again. Show me that you’re not just another consumer electronics company like Samsung. Make a TV advert that actually says something. Launch something that’s never been done before. Please, “Think Different”.

Until then, I’ll miss you. I’ll keep using El Capitain at work (because let’s face it – you’ll always be better than Microsoft), and I’ll check in at apple.com every once in a while.

Look after yourself.

The Disappointed Mac User

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