From “Apple Forever” To “Apple? Whatever…”

Today, Apple is steadily losing people like me. I’ve been a Mac user since Apple created them, and have been a loyal user ever since. There was also a certain exclusivity to Apple products,

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A contact of mine commented on my light-hearted FaceBook post about it being time to stop using Apple products like iPhone etc. 

She wrote, “Apple til I die”.

That made me think how in 1996Apple was written off for dead, and my web post (before it was called blogging) Imran Anwar’s Opinion on The Future of Apple Computers told Apple users not to give up hope as Apple would survive. Yet now I have no love for Apple now, which acts far more monopolistic than Microsoft was accused of with its Internet Explorer domination back then. 

Today, Apple is steadily losing people like me. I’ve been a Mac user since Apple created them, and have been a loyal user ever since. There was also a certain exclusivity to Apple products, the same market share as Mercedes Benz and BMW was not a bad thing to have with a company that was still profitable and made really cool stuff. But, even before I joined Microsoft, I had been getting fed up with Apple.

In the interest of full disclosure, since last year I have been working with Microsoft, on a strategy consulting project at the Department of Defense. But, my frustration with Apple, which began a few years ago, and has reached total disgust levels, is easily seen from my posts (many even deleted by the criticism-rejecting-content-Nazis at Apple’s discussion boards) on the Apple customer fora. 

More and more often flakier and flakier services (including being ripped off by the class-action lawsuit worthy Music Match that never worked, and the promised refund that was never delivered), major bugs Apple idiotically tried to ignore (antenna gate, the known but never acknowledge static noise bug in iPhone 4S), stupid ugly apps (like GameCenter, PassBook, etc. that you cannot delete and can’t even push to end of apps lists off the phone screen, Apple deliberately shoves them to front screen on reboots), the Maps app that various police departments have called LIFE-THREATENING-TO-USE, Apple’s total lack of variety in phone models, making iPhone 5 a bit longer and with no truly desirable new features, … the list goes on.. would be enough. But even the air of exclusivity is gone… on top of the actual ability to deliver major innovation.

I am not a fan of Android at all, but, I have to give credit to Samsung for really shaking things up in more and more categories, while Apple is playing defense even in segments it made commercially successful.

So, I am not dumping my dozen old Macs and MacBook Pros, iMacs and tens of thousands of dollars in Mac OS based software I bought. But even as an Apple tech (not company) fan, I did not buy the iPhone 5, I did not buy the iPad mini, I did not buy the MacBook Pro Retina, etc. {Though I apparently will need to spend money because the 2010 MacBook Pro I use is apparently one that has a known manufacturing defect. Apple will quietly replace the logic board on it — if you can afford to part with your machine for nearly a week — but I can’t do that as I had since then upgraded to a larger hard drive and do not know where my original drive is). 

I am not the only one from the core Mac loving Apple customers who find the company is due to be kicked off its high horse, that has been limping even more noticeably since Steve Jobs’ passing.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Apple will right itself, go back to innovation, and actually building quality products again?

PS Note, these are my personal opinions. I do not even work on any products or software for Microsoft but do strategy consulting for one of its clients.

Product Review: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro FireWire 800 USB 2.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive for Mac STBB750100

The drive runs fine, fairly quiet, fairly fast. Not MUCH faster than the FW800 external powered ones, but quite good for bus powered. I did not notice the interface overheating as I have read some reviews mention. Pretty warm, but not burning hot. I did not test the USB one yet. The 200GB Carbon Copy Clone and even the 160GB iPhoto library moved over quite fast and without any errors or problems. Overall, satisfied with current (new) use. I cannot speak for long term reliability (e.g. the interface cable cheaply glued to the unit is said to be susceptible to breaking) but it is cheaper looking than it should be at $175 or so.

IMRAN.TV Product Review: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro FireWire 800 USB 2.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive for Mac STBB750100 (Personal Computers)

Hopefully the background of my decision will help you in making a decision, especially if you’re using an older Mac laptop.

Having an early 2008 Apple MacBook Pro (which I got with the faster 7200rpm 200GB drive rather than the slower 250GB one) meant my having to keep my iTunes and iPhoto files on external bus powered USB-drives for several years. Generally I use Carbon Copy Cloner for my internal drive clones to external FireWire ones, and am OK using the USB powered drives like Iomega 320 and WD 160 in the past to keep my libraries.

I did want to upgrade my internal drive to the 750GB Momentus and keep all the data in one place, but opening up the MBP, going through that hassle, and then hopefully getting an early 2012 MacBook Pro with something like a 75pGB or 1TB internal drive (whenever they come out) would mean wasted money and effort on this older laptop. So, an external bus powered drive was my practical choice for now. When I saw the 500GB bus powered 7200RPM Seagate on the shelves of the Apple Store I was tempted to buy it immediately. Then I found that this 750GB 7200RPM Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro FireWire 800 USB 2.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive for Mac STBB750100 version was also available in the market, and decided to go this route.

As always, ordering from Amazon was a pleasure, and even though it was fulfilled by another vendor (HPP Enterprises), even as part of a larger multi-item, multi-shipper order, everything went smoothly. The shipper was very quick in responding, understood my request to ship the drive soon as I will be traveling soon, and the drive arrived very quickly. The packaging was great from the shipper, and the Seagate packaging was OK too.

First thing you notice is how cheap, flimsy and low quality the Seagate product is in manufacture. It is a plastic case with silver sort of painted on it. It looks like some child laborer was given a spray can to paint drives, as the paint is uneven. The drive itself is light (considering how much data it lifts 🙂 ). The 2 interfaces included were nice to have, the FW800 and the USB2 to use on PCs. It came Mac formatted but that was irrelevant to me, as I partitioned it into 3 with Disk Utility.

The drive runs fine, fairly quiet, fairly fast. Not MUCH faster than the FW800 external powered ones, but quite good for bus powered. I did not notice the interface overheating as I have read some reviews mention. Pretty warm, but not burning hot. I did not test the USB one yet. The 200GB Carbon Copy Clone and even the 160GB iPhoto library moved over quite fast and without any errors or problems. Overall, satisfied with current (new) use. I cannot speak for long term reliability (e.g. the interface cable cheaply glued to the unit is said to be susceptible to breaking) but it is cheaper looking than it should be at $175 or so.

I am hoping the new MBP that comes out will have a 7200 rpm 750GB in it so I can then use this as the take-along on trips backup while larger desktop drives are stay at home backups. Hope this helps you in your decision as you consider a portable external drive for your Mac or PC. Please oblige with your acknowledgement if it is. Thanks.

Imran Anwar

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