Is Apple Over?

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Credit: Apple
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I started personal computing on an Apple II circa 1977. It was a big step up from the Heathkit and Radio Shack DIY projects I tinkered with in grade school. When IBM introduced the IBM-PC circa 1981, I semi-defected, and in 1984 I became bi-computeral (you know why).

My company functioned in a computer multiverse for some time. Macs were for art, music and publishing; PCs were for business; DEC minicomputers were for science, math and engineering. The minicomputers went away by 2000, and then we were just Mac and PC. In 2006, shortly after Macs became Intel inside and Parallels Desktop (a utility that enabled users to run Windows programs on a Mac) debuted, we became a 100% Apple shop, and we never looked back.

For more than a decade, if Apple manufactured it, we purchased it – in bulk. There was no reason to hyper-evaluate the new specifications; we just sent a purchase order to Tekserve (now T2 Computing) for as many of the new Apple devices as we needed (and maybe a few we didn't need). There are so many Apple devices in our offices, someone once said, "It looks like Steve Jobs threw up in here."

That was then.

What malevolent force could entice me to seriously consider a PC? What wickedness could tempt me to contemplate a transitioning back to Windows? What could possibly lure me to the dark side? Only Apple itself has such power.

My iPhone 7 Plus Chronicle

On September 7, 2016, I stood on line for an hour to pick up my brand new iPhone 7 plus. I had made an appointment to be one of the first to pick one up because I was still a blind faith follower of the cult of Apple. There was going to be an issue with the headphone jack (well documented in my first treatise of dissent, "Apple iPhone 7: Are You F#$king Kidding Me"). But being one of the faithful means putting aside common sense.

The moment I started to transfer information from iCloud, I was in trouble. Some apps worked, others were greyed out, and certain features were hit or miss.

Two factory resets and four hours later, I called Apple Care. After 30 minutes on hold, I was told that my iPhone must be defective and needed to be replaced.

What?

"OK, I'll just go to the Genius Bar and have it replaced." "No, sorry," said the Apple Care person, "we don't have any extra iPhones at the stores; you'll have to send it back to us." "But because of the 'new phone every year' plan you sold me last time, you took my iPhone 6 Plus back. What will I do for a phone for the five to seven days you're telling me it will take for me to get the replacement?"

(Note: Because I review technology as part of my job, I had plenty of other smartphones, but if this happened to most people, they'd be offline for a week.)

It took two tries for Apple to send me a new phone. The first replacement was lost in shipping, and the second is the one I'm carrying now. I was without an iPhone for about two weeks. To make matters worse, Apple charged my credit card $950 for each phone, so although I had no iPhones, Apple put $2,850 of charges on my credit card, saying it would refund the difference when the missing phone and the bad phone were returned (which it ultimately did).

How could Apple not have replacement phones available for the inevitable number of defective phones it might sell? Here's a better question: Did Apple sell too many defective phones for its supply of replacements?

With the number of iPhones Apple sells, some are bound to be defective – but this was not an isolated incident.

My MacBook Pro Chronicle

I wrote my second treatise of dissent, "Apple MacBook Pro 2016: WTF?," about the all-singing, all-dancing 15-inch MacBook Pro before I received my unit. Here are two videos you may enjoy about unboxing my second MacBook Pro and its battery life. Second? Yes, second. I'm writing this article on my third 15-inch MacBook Pro because the first two were defective.

After I waited more than two months past the promised delivery date, Unit #1 arrived with a bad "E" key. After three hours on hold with Apple Care (I should have taken a screen shot, because no one believes that I actually let it go that long, but I did), I was told that there was no way to fix it at any Apple Store in the area and there were no replacement units available. I had to return it to T2 Computing for replacement. T2 was awesome, BTW. Apple could take a customer service lesson from them. Unit #2 lasted about two hours past its unboxing and battery life video shoot. It crashed so hard that even the techs at T2 could not bring it back to life. Their head tech said, "This MacBook is no more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late Mac. It's a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. It's rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-MacBook."

The Odds of Bad Units

What are the odds of receiving one bad iPhone and two bad MacBook Pros in any six-month period in the post-iPod era? What happened to Apple Care? What happened to Apple's customer service? What is the point of the Genius Bar if it doesn't have the genius to repair or replace brand new defective units?

Insane Design Decisions

Who is making decisions about dongles and jacks at Apple? To be incompatible with the competition is expected. But for Apple's products to be incompatible with thousands of dollars' worth of equipment that Apple forced you to purchase borders on insane. If the iPhone 7 series has only one lightning connector because the future is wireless, then why doesn't Apple's flagship 15-inch MacBook Pro have a lightning jack too? Fanboys may keep buying its products no matter what, but normal consumers are going to have a hard time with this kind of nonsense. And what was the motivation behind removing the MagSafe power adapter? Dongles?

Disclaimer and Apology: This video is a super cheap shot at the Dongle issue. It's an old meme video, but it really made me laugh.

Microsoft Surface Book Pro, Samsung Note 8 and Other Stuff

There is nothing special about the 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016). I own one because it is powerful enough, features the most amount of internal storage (2TB) and the display is extraordinary. BTW, the new MacBook Pro (2017) specs have been leaked and will feature Intel's Kaby Lake processors. (The 2016 models feature the older Skylake processors). This will not be a big deal unless you are really pushing your MacBook Pro to the limits. Although, the rumored 32GB of RAM is kind of a big deal. That said, if Microsoft made a Surface Book Pro with the same specs, I would take a very, very hard look at it.

As for my smartphone, Samsung's new Note 8 looks amazing, and Google is doing an exceptional job with its Pixel and Android OS. Some of the most productive business apps on an iPhone are Microsoft's Office Suite and Google Apps for Business. I don't use any Apple apps on my iPhone and there are easy workarounds or excellent third-party alternatives for any Apple software I use on my MacBook Pro. Why do I need iOS and OS X?

I'm reminded of Kylo Ren's last words to Han Solo in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens": "I'm being torn apart. I want to be free of this pain. I know what I have to do but I don't know if I have the strength to do it."

Author's Note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions.