It was January 2008 when I had just arrived in the United States to start a new chapter in my life. School was done, higher education was calling and the world suddenly seemed like it was mine.
At the time, my daily driver was a Nokia E90 Communicator and I got work done with my Dell Inspiron M1520 laptop. Back then, those were the big names. Dell (and by attachment Alienware), HP, Acer, Asus, Fujitsu, etc. These were the go-to’s for anything tech related!
And then out of nowhere, it started.
I started noticing Macs here, there and everywhere.
There’s no denying it: the iPhone took the world by storm. And the rest of Apple wanted to join in on the fun.
Granted this was the US and Apple were quintessentially part of the scene here, and granted as well things like the iPod and the lesser-known but still established iMac and Powerbooks (you know, the ones with the pretty colours) were already slowly building back up the reputation of a once great but significantly chastised being that was Apple.
But this was different.
Apple, or at least the PC side of it, used to be this segregated concept, reserved only for those who were artistically inclined; those who were different, unique and not of the same mould as the rest of society. In short, those who were more likely to “Think Different”. Apple was for them and them alone.
This time though, things were about to change.
Fast forward to the end of 2009 and the iPhone 3G was going strong. And I wanted to get in on the action!
I was tired of my keypad-ed, semi-unsure mobile phone deciding whether it wanted to be a touchscreen or a button-pusher.
I wanted in. I wanted in on the hype. I wanted in on what looked like the perfect synergy between man and machine.
Where the device was so responsive, so quick to discern what YOU wanted that it seemed to know YOU personally and thus what and how YOU would require and request.
I wanted an iPhone. And then I got one.
My first foray was with the iPhone 3GS. It was indeed an eye opener.
How could technology be this slick, this smooth, this amazing?
Swiping made it look like this was pages in a book.
It had everything – a browser, songs, games, texting, calling and pictures that were, quite honestly, amazing at the time.
“That’s it!” I thought.
There’s no way things can get better.
Oh, but they did!
After the iPhone, I bought a MacBook Pro and I could not believe what I was experiencing.
No viruses, no lag, instant start up, no slow degradation over time.
What was this? What magic?
Back then, any Windows machine only had a year or so before significant issues like slow response, lag and inevitably, viruses came trotting along.
Your Windows machine only had a life expectancy of 2 to 3 years before it had to be reformatted and it was all downhill from there.
And there was this thing that I had in my hands. This beautiful, aluminum-clad wonder that just worked so well. So seamlessly that it seemed to be a living, breathing entity. Not some inanimate object.
From then on, I was hooked. I kept filling Apple’s coffers. I kept up with iPhones, bought new Mac’s and even got my wife involved in the madness.
This company was lightyears ahead of everyone else. So advanced that it forced everyone else to advance with it or risk going extinct. And maybe … that’s the start of its downfall.
As the years went by, Apple continued to advance.
Some things worked, like the iPad (I was seriously impressive how thin the iPad 2 was) and the continuing improvement of the iMac and MacBook lines. Some things looked promising but never really caught on (iPod Nano, anyone?). But still, Apple was leading the way. Truly innovating, truly inspiring.
And then, everything changed when Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011, after battling pancreatic cancer for nearly a decade. He was 56 years old.
Yes, for a time Apple kept going. Their phones were still getting a little better every time, a little thinner, a little lighter, a little faster.
A little, a little, a little …
It was definitely still better than the stuff everyone was making, but this time you couldn’t deny, they were catching up.
The enemy was at the door and even I, a die-hard Apple user, knew that it was only a matter of time before the inevitable.
Then, in 2017, it happened: I made the switch.
After seeing the iPhone 6, 6S & 7, I could not lie to myself anymore.
I could not turn a blind eye and say, “Apple was still the best, still innovating.”
Because in truth, they weren’t. They were in unfamiliar territory; they were trailing behind.
Switching was tough. I was still using a MacBook Pro, an iPad and most of my contacts, chat logs and back ups were all well within the ecosystem. All my music was on iTunes. All those App’s I had paid for, I would lose. But I had to do it. I had to break free. So, I bit the bullet, and moved only my contacts and whatever pictures I had the foresight to store onto Google.
Everything else was sacrificed.
This wasn’t my first time dipping my toes into Android. I had tested the waters before but with sub-par hardware and an operating system that showed potential, but still was not quite there yet.
This time, though, the time was right.
However, getting used to a new user interface – a new way of doing things – was definitely a learning curve.
After the initial shock, though, I was reaping the benefits.
I was using a Huawei Mate 9 loaded with Android 7.0.
It was the most painless iteration of Android for any Apple user to switch to because it was fairly similar.
That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed everything that healthy competition brought.
The hardware was fantastic: an Octa-core chip and 4 GB of RAM in a phone!
“What ridiculous ambition,” I thought as I couldn’t contain my smile and my fingers were gliding seamlessly along it’s 5.9-inch monster of a screen at the time.
Furthermore, the Leica-tuned cameras on the back showed me what I had been missing this whole time.
And the battery … oh my goodness … the monster 4,000-mAh battery that ensured days of fun.
The best part was this; I could get all this tech for the price of a low-end, pre-generation iPhone (Yes, please!)
Nowadays I look at what Apple continues to churn out with the same tagline Tim Cook has to force himself not to laugh at as he says it – “This is the most advanced phone, yet.”
And I think to myself, “How do they keep doing it? How do they continue to charge such a premium of sub-par, last-gen hardware and still expect to be taken seriously?”
As I’m writing this for Neue’s website, the new iPhone 11 has just been released.
Let’s take a quick look at the iPhone 11, shall we?
A less than FHD screen with a notch so hideous it makes me cry, a camera array that just started catching up to the 2-year-old ultra-wide-angle hype but with a meager 12MP main shooter and a 12MP secondary. (I guess better late than never right?)
Oh and the price tag? An eye-watering US$699 for what they claim to be their BUDGET iPhone 11. Lord only knows how much the iPhone ‘Pro’ models will set you back!
Do you know what else you could get for US$699? The OnePlus 7 PRO, which in my opinion, sports a better camera array, a better screen with higher resolution, better screen to body ratio and faster refresh rate, the latest Snapdragon processor and all the bells and whistles you can expect from a non-iOS device.
Right now, as I sit here glancing over at my Galaxy S10+, I feel sad for Apple.
From reputation alone it still has a leg to stand on selling everyone what they wrongly believe to be better phones at premium prices.
But for how long? How long until people finally stand up and say that they’ve lost it?
For nostalgic reasons, I hope they find that old Apple spirit and start innovating again.
I hope they give me a reason to come back to their side one day.
They did right by the world by dragging it to the future where we, the consumers, are reaping the benefits.
I can only hope that one day they keep on forcing the world to advance, and not get left behind in the dust of its own wake.
Do you agree?
What do you think of the views expressed by ‘The Cynical Consumer’?
What other mobile phones or tech gadgets would you want ‘The Cynical Consumer’ to look into next?