Monday, February 22, 2016

Re-thinking Apple.

So,just over a year after making this post about Why I don't own anything apple sells, I found myself the unwilling owner of an iPhone, forced upon me by my company. Then a few months later, company policy changed, and Android phones, and some Microsoft phones were added to the list of allowed devices. I was of course stuck with the iPhone for two years, and I was eagerly awaiting the day when I could switch the thing out and be done with it.

That time is fist approaching, and now I find myself second guessing.

From a technical perspective, my views haven't changed much, I still find them fairly equal. For me, apple is frustratingly restrictive. I am constantly annoyed by the seemingly simple things I can't just easily do on the apple device because, I am apparently not doing it the way apple thinks everyone should do it.

My chief example of this is alarm clocks. I don't think I am asking for that much. I want the ability to assign a playlist as my wake-up   alarm and I want the clock to randomly select a song from that list (nothing ruins a favorite song more quickly than using that one song as your wake-up alarm every day. I want it to start softly and slowly fade in, so as to gently wake me, rather than jar me awake.

It was easy to get this working on Android. Not so on apple. first it was not easy to find an app that had this feature set. And then none of them actually work reliably. If you forget to leave the app running on the fore ground before you go to bed the alarm won't work at all. And I can't let the alarm clock override the Do not disturb function. If I set the alarm, I do in fact want it to 'disturb' me.

I still don't like Apple's business practices. I still find them to be innovation killers. And I still disapprove of their practices in China.

However. I have been gaining some new political education on the subject of  "conflict minerals". You see much of the fundamental minerals used in the creation of electronic devices comes from conflict areas in Africa. In a number of cases, mines have been taken over by guerrilla forces, who then implement genuine slave labor from the locals to extract these minerals for profit to warlords. Apple's behavior in China is downright civilized in comparison to this.

I haven't been able to find any numbers more recent than 2012. But for 2102 company progress at eliminating conflict minerals, Android companies aren't making much of a showing. Motorola is the one exception. Microsoft is Neck and Neck with apple, and Nokia is right in close. So Apple or Microsoft gain a strong lead for me, in spite of my general preference for the Android ecosystem.

So which of those two? I like Cortana better than Siri, she's much more personable. And in my experience she seems to work more reliably. But, then I also like Speakto it Assistant, and that one is cross-platform.

I like the Microsoft ecosystem, I like the convenience factor of my phone and laptop all peaking the same language. That is likely to lead to better integration and cooperation. I really like the efforts Microsoft if making int he area of family safety. I like the controls they offer to monitor and manage children's devices.

On the other hand, Microsoft is still struggling in the phone space. The current round of Lumias aren't performing well, and rumors are they are going to drop that line. There are rumors that they might pick up with a new phone based on the Microsoft surface platform, but for now, that it vaporware.

What to do, what to do?

No comments:

Post a Comment