An Apple a Day

Or how a fanboy loses the plot

An Apple a Day
Possibly the most perfect picture of Steve Jobs

If you’re the type of person to believe in cosmic events, in happenings that change the course of your life, then a present on December 25th, 1986 was a big one for me.

The day started inauspiciously enough, I unwrapped what seemed like a shitty present ( sorry mom ), it was small, about the size of a pack of cigarettes, rattled when shook, and for more than a few moments post opening, I didn't understand what was going on.

The present that morning was a box of 3.5" floppy disks.

💾 < — this is a 3.5” floppy disk, we used to store files and applications on them, they were tiny and occasionally went kaput. We’ve come a long way since then, thank your gigabytes.

My father must have seen the confusion on my face, his next words “go downstairs to the office”, sent me to find the real present that morning, a shiny ( as shiny as beige gets anyway ), new ( only to me, it was used ) Mac Classic.

While that snowy Christmas day was wasted playing Dark Castle, Deja Vu and Scarab of Ra ( games people, I was 11 ), it wasn’t long until I was neck deep in everything that little beige beauty could do.

I made music, “designed” flyers, created rudimentary applications and spent hours and hours understanding how things worked and what else I could make a computer do. As the years rolled by, my digital world expanded, Compuserve, BBS’s, a very early internet ( hands up those who remember NCSA Mosaic ), I posted messages and communicated with people all over the world, and I loved it. I discovered a company called Adobe and consumed everything there was available on how to use early versions of Photoshop, and After Effects, I learned HTML and honed my web development skills, the basics of computer networking, and fell deeper and deeper into the wonderful wide world of web nerdery.

Years pass, I learn more, I build complex digital things and somehow ( and to this day it seems unexplainable ) this leads to a job, a real one ( looking at you Grey Advertising / Interactive ) and what is now an over 20-year working life in all things digital; design, development and production.

At every step of that career, powering everything was Apple.

The Mac Classic, a Quadra or three, a Power Macintosh tower ( no clones ), a handful of Powerbooks, old and new Mac Pro’s, Bondi Blue and slim iMacs, Macbook Pros, later the iPhone and iPads, original and Pro models. I’d hazard a guess that I’ve owned somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50–60 major pieces of Apple hardware, buying new laptops, iPhones and iPads yearly since 2009 and never once have I been disappointed or let down in this “partnership”.

**aside: have any of you ever come across the calculator that calculates how much money you’d have if you bought Apple stock instead of each new Apple hardware release in the past 15 years? Yah, DON’T.

I have been, by every possible measure, an Apple, fanboy and anyone who knows me, will no doubt testify to the veracity of my Apple devotion.

It is with all this in mind, that I get to the point of what has been a nice stroll down memory lane.

I’m out of the Apple game.

I have turned in my membership to the Apple fan club and will for the first time in my life, build, consume and produce work on devices made by someone other than Apple Inc.

My MacBook Pro is gone, iPhone handed off, iPad in a drawer ( I’m keeping it as an emergency backup device ), the Apple TV disconnected and my Apple Watch ( oddly this one was the hardest, have you seen the state of the non-Apple wearables industry? ) banished to Craigslist.

Going forward I’m going to use two devices for my digital consumption and creation needs; A Google Pixel 2 XL and a Google Pixelbook.

Yes folks, I am going to the dark side.

The new Google Hardware Family
Ok to be fair, I’m going to write about what life with Google devices is like inside of a home that has endless other technology…so when I say Google hardware is what I’m using, I mean “that is it” when it comes to devices that do the heavy lifting. Our home is full of technology; multiple Sonos speakers ( including the new Alexa powered Sonos One ), a smart TV from LG ( running WebOS interestingly enough ), a Nest ( still not really a Google device as far as I’m concerned ), a Sony a5000 digital camera, my no-name gaming PC that runs Windows 10. I consider all of these items adjacent to life with a smartphone and laptop / tablet, so while they’ll be part of the story, they are not the focus. Recently I’ve added a Chromecast and a Google Home Mini to further commit to life in the Google ecosystem.

So why? Well the more in-depth explanation will come in the second post in this series. For now, what I can tell you is that the impetus for this change, came from something that Sundar Pichai said at Google’s October 4th hardware launch event.

We’re moving from mobile first to AI first

Sounds rather benign and yet as I reflected, I couldn’t get past how profound a statement it actually was, and that simple thought cemented for me the out front position Google occupies in the future of mobile and computing.

I’m going to explore life inside the Google ecosystem; experiencing their take on how we should go about using these devices that so dominate life in the connected world. Most importantly, I’m going all in on finding out whether Google can deliver on an AI assisted lifestyle, because the promise of another quote from the same event, sounds precisely how things should be.

In an AI first world, computers should adapt to help people live their lives — Sundar Pichai

That’s it, I want my machines to do more of the work. We were promised jet packs and flying cars and if we can’t have those…well then we damn well deserve devices that help to a much greater degree.

Before the internet does, it’s thing and decides that this is another tale of Apple failure, let’s be clear about a few things. I still love Apple. I still very much believe in their future, their ability to innovate and push boundaries and I remain fervent in the belief that Apple and Apple alone make the best devices and the best software for the majority of users ( looking at you Mom and Dad ). It would be nearly impossible for me to be convinced that the Steve Jobs vision, from the get-go, wasn’t the correct one and that his legacy, alongside the great team at Apple are doing most things right.

It’s not Apple that’s changed, it’s me, I’m more demanding ( and maybe a little needier ) and I want the future…now.

I’m going to break things down into the areas I think would make the most sense for anyone reading, so if you’d like to skip ahead to certain topics, by all means, do so. I’ll add new entries below as I write them.

Part 2: On the switch from Apple to Google

One quick final note and this could and probably should be an entire post unto itself, but thank you, Steve Jobs. Thank you for what your ideas have helped to create, for the places they’ve taken me and for the people I now have around me because of all that Apple have enabled me to bring to life.

There’s lots of ways to be as a person. And some people express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out. And you never — you never meet the people, you never shake their hands. You never hear their story or tell yours but somehow in the act of making something with a great deal of care and love, something is transmitted there. And it’s a way of expressing to the rest of our species our deep appreciation. So we need to be true to who we are and remember what’s really important to us. That’s what’s going to keep Apple, Apple, as if we keep us, us. — Steve Jobs

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