I’ve tried, I’ve honestly tried but it’s SO tough to break free
Apple’s ecosystem – it’s a phrase that gets trotted out regularly and almost gets glossed over…but I’m here to tell you that it’s an actual thing.
As you’ll probably know a month ago I added to my hoard of Apple gear when I bought the M3 iMac and I’ve totally hammered it – working on it as often as possible and using it more than any of my other Macs over the past 30 days.
And it was when I was working on it one night this week that I realised a couple of things. First just how much I love working on iMacs and second how seamless it is to work on any of the Macs and not miss a beat.
Building that Apple ecosystem
It creeps up on you – and that is the clever part about this bloody walled garden that Apple builds around you. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t resent it in the slightest but those boys and girls at Apple are crafty little sods.
I guess in my case, as with many of us, it started ever so slowly years ago with my first iPhone. The iPhone is kind of the gateway drug of the Apple world. Once the iPhone is in your hand…well, that’s when the building blocks of the ecosystem begin.
Photos mean the world to all of us. They are our memories, emotions and life’s precious moments and they were the sucker punch for me – and quite possibly you as well. And of course, once you start to build up a bank of photos on your iPhone, then they are in your iCloud library – which means you can access them anywhere but most importantly you can get them across all your Apple devices.
My road to being fenced inside Apple’s garden was probably very typical – the iPhone as I mentioned was first, then an iPad and finally the Mac.
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The music man
The fact you can take a photo on your phone and by the time you get to your desk it’s waiting for you is no longer unique to iOS users – but importantly, Apple was the first. Back in the early 2000s, it seemed like the work of the devil and it had me hooked.
But the photos were just the first hook – music came next.
Music is right up there along with photos when it comes to making memories – and Apple was ever so clever in its approach. Streaming is only part of their strategy. As much as streaming is convenient and adequate for most – it’s the fact that Apple also let you buy music and upload your music library too that makes them unique.
Whilst I’ll begrudgingly admit that Spotify’s algorithm is better than Apple’s it is limited by the fact you can only play the music they have on offer – yes I know you can technically link a local folder to Spotify – it’s a messy workaround.
It’s the seamless integration that makes being an Apple and iOS user brilliant – your biggest and most cherished moments and memories are everywhere, with super-easy access all the time – across platform and device and always up to date and perfectly in sync.
It keeps on coming
Music has always been at the core of Apple – we know it was close to Steve Jobs’s heart and Apple many years back made it easy to listen to your music at home or in the car.
The first HomePod meant that you could easily play your music around the house with no need for wires and cables. HomePod minis followed at a more affordable price – and then Apple casually added CarPlay to the list.
Playlists, streaming, podcasts and albums from your collection are always available – all very normal now…but as I keep stressing Apple was the first.
A day in the life
I was thinking the other day just how many avenues of my life Apple enhances and plays a part in.
I’m not the best of sleepers – so the iPhone gets used for podcasts. Out walking or running again the iPhone or Apple Watch…and of course, AirPods are involved.
In the kitchen, it’s a HomePod mini. In the living room – an Apple TV 4K and a HomePod and in the car CarPlay and Apple Maps.
So when I said that the ecosystem is a real thing you can see what I mean…
The hidden gems
It’s surprising that Apple now finds itself behind the curve when it comes to AI and the smart home – as they were first out of the gate with Siri and that along with the HomePod should’ve secured their pole position…a chance missed – not often Apple is guilty of missing a trick.
But back to that night this week at the M3 iMac…
Handoff is one of those macOS/iOS gems that never steal headlines yet I use it all the time…not only from phone to Mac but also, and probably more often from phone to HomePod – once again the ease of Apple.
I lead my life by the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ rule. If it works why look for alternatives? I am Apple all the way – Notes, Reminders, Calendar, Pages & Numbers. I’m sure if you are a heavy Excel user it has its unique benefits, but for my simple needs, Numbers is just fine.
And when it comes to passwords yet again I see no need to start shopping around for third-party apps when Apple’s version works just great. The Passwords app got a bit of a makeover in the latest macOS update and it’s even better and more intuitive to use now.
I often have a couple of Macs that I’m working with at any one time – as I am right now actually – so Universal Control is a big winner for me. Just one mouse across all Macs and being able to drag and drop files too – yup, I’ll take that…
And quite possibly the king of all features…AirDrop. If I had a pound for every time I used it each day I’d quite likely be as wealthy as Tim Cook by now!
On the big screen
FaceTime is now bundled into tvOS so you can take your calls on the sofa in front of the TV in full LCD/OLED large-screen pleasure.
With every release of Apple’s OS, there seems to be another little function or feature that makes life easier or better. Continuity Camera is what lets you make FaceTime calls on the TV – but it also doubles up to make your iPhone a bloody good webcam as well. After all, your iPhone’s camera is probably the best camera you own – so the fact you can plonk it on top of your Mac makes perfect sense. And you know what I’m going to say next don’t you? It’s easy too.
This summer I gave Android life a good go – but it’s just not for me. Yes, there were a few bits I liked and some fudges to use Android along with a Mac – but overall there was no one main thing that was screaming out to make me change.
Some Android users accuse us of being mindless sheep for being a slave to Apple’s ecosystem- but you know what, I’ll take the jibe on the chin because I know how well it works for me.
If you fully embrace what Apple has to offer it’s pretty much unrivalled by any other company or range of products.
Apple is with me every step of the day and as long as it keeps serving me this well I see no point in leaving or looking to switch.
Now, if only they could sort out auto switch for my AirPods – the one feat that even Apple seemingly can’t pull off!
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