It started with installing Linux. For fun and to see how it worked on my old, slow iMac. It was meant to be a fun geeky project and it turned out to be a teachable moment in my Apple Indoctrination (fancy talk for: "I'm not so sure Apple is the Messiah anymore").
Sure, Apple is still the User Interface (UI) king, but even then, it's by a small margin.
A few steps back
To rewind a few years... Apple's success lies in the genius of Steve Jobs the way they created a seemless, uniterupted link between software and hardware by focussing on design and user experience. But the negative has always been their communist approach to software, limiting access and control.
Back to my linux
Once I loaded Kubuntu (a version of linux) I was amazed at how far along the Linux platform has come since I last tried it out. It's still not the robust user experience of Windows and Mac OSX, but it's getting there, and there's even some great paid software for it now. In fact, I would say the only thing holding Linux back is good, professional software like Photoshop.
And then I started using Google Chrome
Since getting into Apple and committing to my iMac/iPhone experience, I have ditched Chrome, for the more stable and well put together Safari by Apple. I now realise that is now no longer necessary. Chrome is awesome. The Chrome apps have come along way and security has improved as well. And with my Linux - Chrome partnership I started to forget about Mac OSX altogether, until I need to use Adobe Lightroom (but aparently there's a form of Lightroom on the way for Chrome).
Also, Google app environment of email - music - maps - calendar and how it all works together is quite impressive.
Back to Apple and the evil
Following this journey I heard Rich Mulholland on Cliff Central this morning getting preachy about how we need to become agnostic about tech. He is the last prick in my Apple bubble. Well... he is not specifically a prick, it's an analogy, stick with me...
Honestly, in discovering that Chrome is not shit and that I can use it anywhere - Android, iOS, Windows, OSX, Linux, I realise that Google are bridging the gap where Apple failed. They're walking the open source vs Apple-communistic-user-experience line. And, in many ways, they're succeeding. For example:
Google Play Music
Although not as feature packed as Apple Music, you can use it anywhere via a browser and you can easily load your personal music onto the cloud, without having Apple tell you you aren't allowed to play the mp3's you bought with your personal money in your country... communism! (There is also Spotify, but it's not available in South Africa yet)
Google Play Apps
Try the Chrome Polarr photo editing app - if you buy the paid version for a mere $19,99 you get quite a few handy features such as radial filters. It's now Lightroom or Photoshop, but you might manage with GIMP for the more high end features, which is available on all operating systems and it's free.
If I'm being honest...
If I am being honest, the Apple glory-bubble started leaking a few weaks ago when I looked into the Huawei P9 phone - sure, they've ripped of the Apple user interface, but then it's all open and free. So you get your Apple-like experience but with no communism. Because digital communism is bad.
To repeat the gist of Rich Mullholland this morning: if you see new tech and you realise you're trapped in your current tech experience (i.e. Apple Music) then there's a problem. We should be free to choose the tech we want. And right now Google, Android, and Chrome offer the most unified, yet open experience out there. And, until recently, the hardware accompanying stuff like Windows, Android and even Google's Chromebook was relatively rubbish compared to Apple's hardware, but that's all changed.
The playing fields are becoming increasingly level and it's time to rethink the way we interact with tech as sold out Apple fans. Sure, we may have less hang ups and niggly issues with Apple, but at what cost?
Personally I've reached a point where I think, "I'm fine as long as I keep buying Apple products", which was fine during the Apple hey day. But those days are coming to an end and I want the freedom to choose.