Love my Mac Starting to hate Apple.

Keep it up, Apple, and I’m going back to Windows.

I was a Windows customer for many years.  Despite running virus/malware protection and being pretty good at doing the right things security-wise, I had to completely rebuild Windows at least once a year — and it usually happened when I really didn’t have the time for it.  It happened one too many times and said, “that’s it,” and I bought my first MacBook Pro. (The last Windows OS I ran on bare metal was Windows XP.)

I made the conversion to MacOS about 4+ years ago.  During all this time, I have never — never — had to rebuild MacOS. When I get a new Mac, I just use Time Machine to move the OS, apps, and data to the new machine.  When a new version of the OS comes out, I just push a button and it upgrades itself.  I cannot say enough nice things about how much easier it is to have a Mac than a Windows box.  (I just got an email today of a Windows user complaining about what he was told about transferring his apps and user data to his new Windows8 machine.  He was told that it wasn’t possible.)

My first Mac was a used MacBook Pro for roughly $600, for which I promptly got more RAM and a bigger disk drive.  I liked it.  I soon bought a brand new MacBook Pro with a 500 GB SSD drive, making it cost much more than it would have otherwise.  (In hindsight, I should’ve bought the cheapest one I could buy and then upgrade the things I didn’t like.)  It wasn’t that long before I realized that I hadn’t put enough RAM in it, so I did.  (I didn’t account for the amount of RAM that Parallels would take.) 

My company’s second Mac was an iMac. After we started doing video editing on that, we decided to max out its RAM.  Another MacBook Pro had more RAM installed in it because Lion wanted more than Snow Leopard, and on another MacBook Pro we replaced the built-in hard drive with an SSD unit and upgraded its RAM.  We are still using that original MacBook Pro and it works fine — because we upgraded to more RAM and a better disk — because we could. It’s what people that know how to use computers do — they upgrade or repair the little parts in them to make them better.

The first expensive application we bought (besides Microsoft Office) was Final Cut Pro 7, and I bought it at Fry’s Electronics — an authorized reseller of Apple products.  I somehow managed to pay $1000 for a piece of software that Apple was going to replace in just a few days with a completely different product.  Not an upgrade, mind you, a complete ground-up rework of that product.  Again, anyone who followed that world knows what’s coming next.  I wish I had known at the time.

First, Apple ruins Final Cut Pro

For those who don’t follow the professional video editing space, Final Cut Pro was the industry standard for a long time.  Other products eventually passed it up in functionality and speed, but a lot of people hung onto Final Cut Pro 7 anyway because (A) they knew it already and (B) it worked with all their existing and past project files.  They waited for years for a 64-bit upgrade to Final Cut Pro 7. 

Apple responded by coming out with Final Cut Pro X, a product that was closer in functionality to iMovie than Final Cut Pro  — and couldn’t open Final Cut Pro 7 projects.  (In case you missed that, the two reasons that people were holding onto Final Cut Pro 7 were gone.  They didn’t know how to use the new product because it was night and day a different product, and it couldn’t open the old product’s projects.)  FCP X was missing literally dozens of features that were important to the pro editing community.  (They have since replaced a lot of those missing features, but not all of them.) And the day they started selling FCP X, they stopped selling FCP 7.  Without going into the details, suffice it to say that there was a mass exodus and Adobe and Avid both had a very good year.  (Both products offered, and may still be offering big discounts to FCP customers that wanted to jump ship.)

But what really killed me is what happened to me personally. I thought that while Apple was addressing the concerns that many had with FCP X, I’d continue using FCP 7.  So I called them to pay for commercial support for FCP 7 so I could call and ask stupid questions — of which I had many — as I was learning to use the product.  Their response was to say that support for FCP 7 was unavailable.  I couldn’t pay them to take my calls on FCP 7. What?

So here I am with a piece of software that I just paid $1000 for and I can’t get any help from the company that just sold it to me.  I can’t return it to Fry’s because it’s open software.  I can’t return it to Apple because I bought it at Fry’s.  I asked Apple to give me a free copy of FCP X to ease the pain and they told me they’d look into it and then slowly stopped returning my emails.  Thanks a bunch, Apple.  (Hey Apple: If you’re reading this, it’s never too late to make an apology & give me that free copy of FCP X.)

Apple ruins the MacBook Pro

Have you seen the new MBP?  Cool, huh?  Did you know that if you want the one with the Retina display, you’d be getting the least upgradeable, least repairable laptop in history?  That’s what iFixit had to say after they tore down then 15″ and 13″ MBPs.  You won’t be able to upgrade the RAM because it’s soldered to the motherboard.  You’ll have to replace the entire top just to replace the screen — because Apple fused the two together.

When I mention this to Apple fans and employees, what I get is, “well it’s just like the iPad!”  You’re right.  The 15-inch MacBook Pro is a $2200 iPad.  This means that they can do things like they do in the iPad where they charge you hundreds of dollars to go from a 16 GB SSD chip to a 64 GB SSD chip, although the actual difference in cost is a fraction of that.  Except now we’re not talking hundreds of dollars — we’re talking thousands.  This means that you’ll be forced to buy the most expensive one you can afford because if you do like I did and underestimate how much RAM you’ll need, you’ll be screwed.  (It costs $200 more to go from an 8GB version to a 16GB version, despite the fact that buying that same RAM directly from Crucial will cost you $30 more — not $200.)

Apple’s response is also that they’ll let the market decide.  You can have the MBP with the Retina Display and no possibility of upgrade or the MBP without the Retina Display and the ability to upgrade.

First, I want to say that that’s not a fair fight.  Second, can you please show me on the Apple website where they show any difference between the two MBPs other than CPU speed and the display?  Everyone is going to buy the cheaper laptop with the cooler display, validating Apple’s theory that you’ll buy whatever they tell you to buy. (Update: If you do order one of the Retina laptops, it does say in the memory and hard drive sections, “Please note that the memory is built into the computer, so if you think you may need more memory in the future, it is important to upgrade at the time of purchase.” But I don’t think the average schmo is going to know what that means.)

Apple Ruins the iMac

I just found out today that they did the same thing they did above, but with the iMac.  And they did this to make the iMac thinner.  My first question is why the heck did the iMac need to be thinner?  There’s already a giant empty chunk of air behind my current iMac because it’s so stinking thin already.  What exactly are they accomplishing by making it thinner?

One of the coolest things about the old iMac was how easy it was to upgrade the RAM.  There was a special door on the bottom to add more RAM.  Two screws and you’re in like Flynn.  Now it’s almost as bad as the MacBook Pros, according to the folks over at iFix it.  First, they removed the optical drive.  Great, just like FCP. They made it better by removing features!  Their tear down analysis includes sentences like the following:

  • “To our dismay, we’re forced to break out our heat gun and guitar picks to get past the adhesive holding the display down.”
  • “Repair faux pas alert! To save space and eliminate the gap between the glass and the pixels, Apple opted to fuse the front glass and the LCD. This means that if you want to replace one, you’ll have to replace both.”
  • “Putting things back together will require peeling off and replacing all of the original adhesive, which will be a major pain for repairers.”
  • “The speakers may look simple, but removing them is nerve-wracking. For seemingly no reason other than to push our buttons, Apple has added a barb to the bottom of the speaker assemblies that makes them harder-than-necessary to remove.”
  • “Good news: The iMac’s RAM is “user-replaceable.” Bad news: You have to unglue your screen and remove the logic board in order to do so. This is just barely less-terrible than having soldered RAM that’s completely non-removable.”

It is obvious to me that Apple doesn’t care at all about upgradeability and repairabiity.  Because otherwise they wouldn’t design a system that requires ungluing a display just to upgrade the RAM!  How ridiculous is that?  And they did all this to make something thinner that totally didn’t need to be thinner.  This isn’t a laptop.  There is absolutely no benefit to making it thinner.  You should have left well enough alone.

Will they screw up the Mac Pro, too?

I have it on good authority that they are also doing a major redesign of the Mac Pro (the tower config).  This is why we have waited to replace our iMac w/a Mac Pro, even though the video editing process could totally use the juice.  But now I’m scared that they’ll come out with another non-repairable product.

Keep it up, Apple, and I’m gone

Mac OS may be better than Windows in some ways, but it also comes with a lot of downsides.  I continually get sick of not being able to integrate my Office suite with many of today’s cool cloud applications, for example.  I still have to run a copy of Windows in Parallels so I can use Visio and Dragon Naturally Speaking. 

You are proving to me that you do not want intelligent people as your customers.  You don’t want people that try to extend the life of their devices by adding a little more RAM or a faster disk drive.  You want people that will go “ooh” and “ahh” when you release a thinner iMac, and never ask how you did that, or that don’t care that they now have to pay extra for a DVD drive that still isn’t Blu-Ray.

Like I said when I started this blog post.  I like my Mac.  I love my new iPad Mine, but I am really starting to hate Apple.


----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Architect at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.

7 thoughts on “Love my Mac Starting to hate Apple.

  1. georgeacrump says:

    Curtis,

    As you know I am an Apple fan from way back. But I agree with you mostly. I don’t mind my MBP Retina not being upgradeable. I’ve never upgraded an Air, so I don’t think that will be an issue. I use them for a couple of years and get rid of them. The imac / Mac pros are diff. I don’t get the thin-ness thing at all. Who cares? For the Lab I am investing in mini’s with the Other World Computing PCIe Thunderbolt slot. Waiting for the Pro revision does not seem like an option. OWC seems like the way to go.

  2. cpjlboss says:

    “I use them for a couple of years and get rid of them.”

    That’s because you don’t upgrade them. If you spent $50 and a little bit of time, that MacBook or MB Air would last a lot longer then two years.

  3. ashulpin says:

    It looks like a new tendency in IT. Every company/brand thinks it could bring a holy grail, silver bullet or whatever: Cisco UCS, Oracle Exadata, Brocade VDX and so on at high-end side and Apple, Sony and so on at consumer side. Looks like we are going to a la Mainframe era but based on open systems standards 😉 No other way just use only monobrand solutions…

  4. rshimizu12 says:

    Apple makes a good product, but their proprietary lock-in is getting worse all the time. Apples command and control attitude is also irritating. This why I will never buy their products.

    The PC laptops will catch up this year. The Ultrabooks already match Apples in terms of thinness. We will see retina display laptops this year.

  5. Guest says:

    I couldn’t agree more. – and I’m an Apple user since 1984. I defended my Macs through years of PC fan attacks and insults, but am now ashamed of them for so many reasons.

    Apple makes powerful toys now, not designed for those who wish to look under the hood, customise, etc. What was once an ethic of user friendly simplicity, is now a plan to lock down App sales and keep users dependent on mother Apple for decisions.

    For weeks I’ve been pestered (on my new SSD retina crapbook) by little App store reminder announcements that an upgrade was ‘available’. Even during fullscreen video viewing they wouldn’t go away. There’s no way to stop them unless you want to completely disable any upgrade notifications.

    So, I broke down and opened the App Store window to do my upgrade and restart in the middle of my movie. I assumed that it had background downloaded and wouldn’t take too long. An hour later, the crawling installation bar had finally gasped to completion, and the following, lengthy restart procedure left my too tired to watch my movie.

    Thanks for thinking of everything for us, and pestering us with constant demands to make us steady App store junkies Apple.

    I just bough a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phone after years of iPhones. WOW. Did that open my eyes as to how inferior iOS is! According to Forbes and other sources, the youth market is abandoning iOS in favour of Android. I couldn’t be happier, nor understand that move better!

    Oops, gotta go. New Updates Available on my MBP!!

  6. Guest says:

    I agree with Curtis entirely!

    Because of the ‘wants’ of executive staff where I do IT support, I’m forced to purchase i*** products to satisfy the curiosity of the staff at a cost 4x more than any PC products. This makes no sense and causes a support nightmare.

    Where Apple REALLY frustrated me was that a client that I do work for bought an iPAD and for whatever reason connecting it to her PC Laptop meant that the users’ Outlook2010 addressbook was automatically now part of the iCLOUD contact list and removed from her local contacts. It took me some time to figure out what had happened, but another reason why I won’t spend a penny on Apple.

  7. cpjlboss says:

    4x the price? I think you might be exaggerating a little bit. I actually really like the quality of Apple hardware, and believe that their price (which IMO is not 4x of anything other than the cheapest POS you can find on ebay) is arguable considering how long their equipment lasts. I am going on three years w/my MBP and it’s still going strong. I’ve never had a PC laptop last that long physically, not to mention how smoothly I have upgraded the OS twice during that time. I would easily be on my second Windows laptop by now and would have reformatted the drive, re-installed the OS from scratch and had to restore all my data at least twice.

    Having said that, I still don’t like being locked in and so I’m saying so. What really irritates me is that I’ve now physically touched the new MBP Pro and MBP Pro Retina and they did make the latter much smaller, lighter, and sleeker without giving up any power. My next choice will be hard. Do I buy the heavier MBP Pro that will allow me to upgrade or the lighter MBP Pro Retina that doesn’t? I don’t like being forced to make that choice.

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