All In

I’m going all in on Apple.

At the beginning of 2021 I wrote a blog post about ecosystems and how this year I was moving to the “most mobile” of each piece of any ecosystem. For example: Apple Photos isn’t available on Android but Google Photos is available on iPhone so Google Photos was the direction I went. I stand by that blog post as a great guide to anyone going that route.

But in the last few weeks I’ve been watching as many of the Macworld and WWDC keynotes from 1997, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, forward. Apple wasn’t on my radar until the late 2000’s when I finally broke down and bought an iPod. I missed at least a decade of Apple “magic” and while watching these videos (almost all are available on YouTube in completely horrible formats) with 20/21 hindsight my appreciation for the vision and innovation of the Steve Jobs era has grown.

I guess sometimes you need the origin story to better appreciate something. So I’m giving Apple another shot and going all in. Of course you can’t go ALL in on any of the ecosystems, as I discussed in my earlier blog post, but I’m going as far as I can with Apple.

Here’s my journey.

Hardware

Desktop: I’ve shut down the HP Omen tower running Windows 10 one final time. As much as I’d like an iMac I’m holding off until they come out with an iMac running the M1 processor. In the meantime I’ve ordered an M1 MacMini – the cheapest one available. I’m slightly panicked about 256 GB of drive space (compared to the 3 TB of on-system drive space on the Omen) but I’ve decided to buy an external 5 TB Lacie drive for a couple hundred bucks and I’ll use that for backups. No matter which cloud drive I’ve used I’ve ALWAYS downloaded my files locally to the machine so I can back them up. This time I’ll refrain and see how it goes.

Laptop: I’ve shut down the Surface Laptop – a laptop which I honestly do adore. I’ll use my 2 year old MacBook Pro instead. It’s aging but still hanging in there. I’m waiting for a 16″ M1 to come out before considering replacing this one.

Tablet: I’ve always used an iPad and will keep using it. The Android tablets are just trash.

Mobile: For a while I was carrying both an iPhone and a Pixel 3XL. This is what lead me on my path to detach from any one ecosystem earlier this year. Now, for the moment at least, I’m pretty over Android. It’s just not impressive. Since work now has me carry 2 iPhones I’ll just make it an even 3 and carry only my iPhone from here on. RIP Pixel.

Watch: Still using my Apple Watch and I love it.

The Apple Stuff

AI/Assistant: I’m going to use Siri as much as possible but our home is FULL of Google Home products so I’ll be using Google Assistant and Google Home still. Luckily both have apps for iPad and iPhone. I don’t feel like Siri is fully up to speed with Google Assistant and I hope Apple’s working to change that.

Auto: Apple’s CarPlay was already the winner here. Sticking with it.

Bookmarks: I was using a 3rd party for bookmarks but now I’ll use the bookmarks/favorites built into Safari.

Books: All my e-books were in Apple Books already anyway.

Browser: I’m fully on Safari now. Suck it, Chrome. I really feel like Chrome is going off the rails. On the professional side I have to participate in rolling out new versions of Chrome to endpoints and it seems like this is happening weekly now. Why is Chrome so susceptible to hackers? No thanks.

Calendar: I was already pretty agnostic about calendar apps since I have all my calendars sync across all my accounts. I’ll keep doing that but use my AppleID and Apple Calendar apps now exclusively.

Contacts: Just like Calendar I’ll keep my contacts synced across all of my accounts but will start exclusively using the Apple Contacts apps now.

Documents: Hello, Pages! Goodbye, Word. The only thing I don’t like with the Apple “office” apps is that they rename your file extensions but I guess as long as I’m all in on Apple I shouldn’t care. Until I’m not again, I guess.

Email: OK. Here’s where I go nuts. Yes, I’m going to use iCloud and the Apple Mail apps. BUT – I still remain enraged that there isn’t a bring-your-own-domain program at Apple (outside of the Apple Device Manager program which requires a S&P ID) but I’ll move my email to iCloud again and keep my O365 private domain account attached to the Mail app so I can still send from my private domain name when sending outbound. Additionally I remain nonplussed that Apple hasn’t added another domain for iCloud beyond iCloud.com. I grabbed the most professional alias I could but for sure chrisbarnes@icloud.com isn’t available and probably hasn’t been for YEARS. Please add another domain, Apple.

Health: I was already using Apple Fitness+ and the health gathering systems related to it. I honestly still haven’t participated in any of their instructor lead programs but I’m happy with the way Apple tracks my 3 x daily adventures on the treadmill.

Keychain/Passwords: I’m going to make an effort to move away from LastPass and on to Keychain but I want some assurances that Keychain is safe first.

Maps: I’m going to try to live without Google Maps and move on over to Apple Maps. We’ll see how this goes but I’m hopeful.

Music and Movies (Media): Sticking with Apple’s Music and iTunes Store is a no-brainer. I still haven’t seen a music service better than Apple Music and it’s also included in my Apple One subscription.

News: Like maps I’m going to give Apple a shot with their News app but Google really does do News very well.

Notes: Out of the OneNote fire and into the Apple Notes fire. I really don’t use OneNote that much – mostly for relatively static documentation of stuff. I like Notes and really encourage Apple to continue the development of that app.

Operating System: Goodbye, Windows! Managing Windows environments for work I’ve noticed that Windows is just PLAGUED with problems now. It seems like every single system file and every single application built for Windows now has a vulnerability that needs patching. It’s kinda crazy. I now have a respect for the Darwin Unix base system that MacOS is built on and am excited to try MacOS as my only daily-driver.

Pay: Apple Pay is still where it’s at. I do still wish they had a better way for me to see my Wallet transactions other than the Wallet app, though.

Phone (calls and text): OH BOY! Do I have an update on this one. I gave up on Google Voice because when I’m driving the Jeep with CarPlay up on the dash and someone would text message me I wouldn’t get the message! If I was driving for hours it would be hours before I saw you texted me and/or replied. That didn’t cut it so for that reason I ported my number back to Verizon and am using Apple Messages again.

Photos: Well, this became a dumpster fire. I was solidly on Google Photos but have moved back to Apple Photos. Apple came out with a way to transfer your Apple Photos to Google Photos and it works great! Sadly there isn’t yet a way to transfer FROM Google Photos TO Apple Photos so I had to go down the Google Takeout route. At 2 GB per Takeout zip file I had 19 of them just to move my photos back! Then the process of importing THOUSANDS of photos in to Apple Photos on my Mac would crash every couple of thousand photos and I’d have to restart the app and go again. Additionally, this process has resulted in me losing all my XIF information like photo date taken and location. What a pisser! The whole process means I now have TONS of duplicate photos in Apple Photos and as far as I can tell there’s no automated way to remove the duplicates. #MESS

Podcasts: Apple’s Podcasts app is actually pretty good and now available on MacOS, iOS, and iPad OS.

Presentations: I’ve never HAD to use Keynote but I also don’t use PowerPoint that much so I guess it doesn’t really matter. If Keynote was good enough for Jobs I’m sure it’ll be good enough for me.

Spreadsheets: I promise to give Numbers a fair shake. I’m not an Excel power user but you do get used to a way of doing things.

Stocks: I’ll use Apple Stocks but really all my investments are through E-Trade so I use their app primarily.

Storage: Boy is this a big one to take a chance on! I’ve moved off of Google Drive (via my Google Workspace account) and O365 OneDrive and am now 100% in iCloud Drive. I sure hope they’ve made improvements from the last time I tried this a few years ago! Again, plenty of storage comes along with my Apple One subscription.

SSO (Single Sign On): WHY can’t I use my AppleID to log on to my MacOS devices? This drives me crazy. I shouldn’t have to create local accounts and THEN turn on iCloud. This should all be integrated now. In the meantime I still love JumpCloud which integrates with MacOS.

ToDo: Back to Reminders and away from Microsoft ToDo. I’m not as good at this stuff as I should be anyway so this wasn’t a huge lift.

Video Conferencing: in my personal life I don’t use this much so whatever system I use won’t make much of a difference anyway. FaceTime all the way, I guess!

Everything Else

Antimalware: Apple doesn’t have an antimalware product and I don’t know that they officially partner with anyone to do that so I’m sticking with Cylance on my Macs.

Authenticator: Apple doesn’t have an authenticator app. Their authenticator is built-in on Apple stuff but for everything else you need an authenticator app. I’m sticking with Microsoft Authenticator here.

Cameras: I’m sticking with my Nest cameras. The cost to replace all these Google Home devices is just too much AND these things work pretty well despite some recent web service outages.

Database: Admittedly I don’t use Microsoft Access much. I don’t work much with databases at all but if I ever need to I guess I can jump back in to Access since Apple doesn’t offer a database program.

Home Automation: I have to stay with Google here. Their stuff just works and my house already came with so much of it. Sorry, Apple. Send me a check and we’ll talk about replacing all this stuff with HomeKit.

Mobile Service: Apple doesn’t offer a mobile service like Google’s Fi so I’ll be staying with Verizon which has pretty good coverage in my area.

RSS: sadly I don’t know of an Apple RSS reader so I’m sticking with Feedly.

TV: while we are for sure living off the Apple TV we are still using YouTube TV for live television viewing still.

Closing: if you read this far, THANKS! I’d love to hear your comments on going all in on Apple. Do you live entirely on Apple or entirely on Google or entirely on Microsoft (I guess you don’t have a cell phone?)? Let me know your experience in the comments below!

One thought on “All In

  1. Welcome back to the fold! I waffle too much between non-Apple and Apple ecosystems and like you, I like being “all in” on one platform. You’ve inspired me to go back to all in on Apple.

    I have a 3rd party password manager (Bitwarden) but with the cooperation of sharing passwords between Apple IDs, I might switch back to keychain. It has been rock solid for the rest of my family and has had no issues whatsoever.

    Like

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