Alex's Agenda

Why I’m done with Apple

By Alex Wood 14 June 2016
image: istock/Cristie Guevara
The short of it

Siri: try harder.

Dear Tim,

I’m a big fan. I’ve got the lot – iPhone, iPad, Macbooks and even the wretched Watch.

We’ve been together for over 15 years, sharing the good times and the bad. I built my first website on a shiny iBook and shot my first viral video on an iPhone 3G from the barricades at the G20 riots in London. You were there when I needed you and made my life better.

I believed all the hype and got my chequebook out.

But last night’s trainwreck sent me over the edge. Where was the hardware? Updates for professional tools? All you gave me was “emojification”.

l’m done. It’s over. And here’s why.

1. The iPhone is fundamentally flawed

My next smartphone will not be an iPhone. I know I’m not the only one thinking this. I can’t go on apologising for this poor excuse for a “smartphone”. Remember the iPhone 4? I even believed your bullshit about the antenna, but yes, it really didn’t work. I spent a year of my life with dropped calls, thanks for that.

I couldn’t care less that the latest iPhone doesn’t have the best camera on the market. What does grate is that I can’t even get a day’s charge out of it – I became so desensitised I started to think this was normal. The solution? I bought an expensive battery case, just to keep the damned thing going.

And there are still so many niggles that plague iOS. The Mail app is a joke. How hard can it be to search for an email in 2016? Gmail’s been doing it since day one.

Spotlight search works about 50% of the time and don’t even get me started about the plethora of stagnant apps you force onto my device. Like most Apple users, I stuffed them all into a folder called “Apple junk”.

If you were priced along with the rest of the market this would all hurt a lot less. But you still charge me a massive premium for an inferior product. A smartphone is only “smart” when it can still handle basic functions like phone calls and email.

It’s no wonder why Huawei and Xiaomi are going to eat your lunch. Good riddance.

2. Apple TV – still half finished

I enthusiastically bought into your vision of the future of TV from day one.

For £200 you gave me a broken product that never worked from the get go. “It’s a version 1 product” I told myself and like a sucker I bought in to the next generation. Somehow you made it half the size and half as useful. Whenever I turn my unit on, without fail I have to rip the plug out of the back and start again.

I love how you tricked me into renting the HD version when you know it’ll take forever to stream on my miserable British broadband connection, knowing full well I won’t even notice the picture quality. It’s not magical. It doesn’t make my TV “smart”, it turns my Friday night in a total disaster.

When I bought my in-laws an Amazon Fire TV for Christmas I found it JUST WORKS. I don’t even care that it’s locked into Amazon’s content. For £29, it makes your Apple TV look amateur.

3. The Watch is an omnishambles

This should have never seen the light of day. Never has a piece of technology made me more miserable. How did you let this one get through quality control?

People ask me if they should buy one and I always say the same thing: The Watch is not fit for purpose. It fails miserably as a fitness tool – good luck waiting for it to measure your heart rate. Navigation – it uses Apple Maps, always a useful tool for discovering new parts of your city.

The most staggeringly irritating feature has to be how inhumane this prototype is.

It’s 2016, how can a piece of wearable tech be so unaware of what I’m doing? You know I’m busy, you can see inside my calendar. So why do I have to tell my Watch not to disturb me in a meeting? Or worse still shake my wrist like crazy when I’m on a live TV set?

No amount of “collaborations” with luxury brands like Hermes will fix this disaster. It’s the software that’s the problem. You could learn a lot from Vinaya – make a wearable that I actually want on my wrist.

You said last night your new software update will make apps “load instantly” – it’s too little too late.

Tim, think different

Tim, I have a lot of respect for you. You were one of the first business leaders to be out and proud and put green at the heart of your business.

But I’m tired of making excuses for substandard products. Last night was a game of catch up and it’s too little too late.

My time as an unpaid beta-tester is over. I’m done.

For more unicorns, cats and cultural imperialism, read Alex’s Agenda.