Apple Introduces the Iconoclastic Network...

I bought my first tablet, an iPad 1, right after it's introduction in April, 2013.  Since then, I've owned (and still own) a Nexus 7 from Google, and an Amazon Kindle Fire.

I've also owned the original MP100 Apple Newton tablet, and off-brand discount tablet which was crippled to the point of embarrassment (but, hey, it was only $99),  and an early version of the Kindle rendered in two-tone grays.  I guess you also include several generations of Palm Pilots and Sony Vaio palmtops in this mix if you wanted to be technically accurate...

Point is, when it comes down to making purchasing decisions, having tried both iOS and Android, I'm solidly favoring Android.  Additionally, and much to my personal surprise, my Kindle Fire has become my go-to tablet logging the most "on-hours" of any of my three. 

At one time, I really, really, really liked my iPad.   I was more integrated into my Mac-world in 2010 - I had an iMac as my home desktop computer and was using a mac book as my development platform.  I've always been an early adopter of Apple hardware:  the Cube, iPod first generation, Mac mini, etc., and the iPad was no different.  I had to have one!

I used my iPad for a lot of stuff - taking notes at work, using OmniGraffle on the train for documenting data relationships in my software (OmniGraffle is probably the only reason why I still keep my Mac desktop around today - it's that awesome!) the iPad version of Mail and iTunes were all mainstay programs.

I left my current position and obtained a developer position in a cold start-up where my development platform shifted over to a Linux platform and, just like that, my iPad lost a lot of relevance.  Instead of being integrated into my work flow, it became more of an entertainment platform.  As  the original promotional videos showed, I used my iPad for browsing and email from places of comfort instead of trudging over to my desk to use my Mac.

The iPad2 was released and I was happy to see that it received the camera upgrade that had been rumored.  But I didn't want to invest many hundreds of dollars in a replacement device when the previous version was still relevant.

Somewhere around this time, I acquired a Kindle -- the small one with the single button and the battery that lasted for weeks.  I used this to read while on the train during my commutes because it was less-cumbersome than the iPad.  I liked the Kindle a lot as a single-purpose device - reading - because it did that function really well.  I didn't particularly like the lack of back-ground lighting on the device, but I could live with limitation.

Sometime last year, early in 2013 I believe, Apple made the decision to deprecate the iPad-1 by no longer releasing updates for the operating system.  New software is incompatible - Google Mail, Blizzard's Hearthstone, and similar packages either refuse to install, or refuse to run once installed. 

Great.  I paid almost $800 for a device that had a limited 3-year span of relevance yet is still perfectly functional.  I mean, think about it:  one of the biggest selling points for investing (one does not simply "buy" a Mac...) in a Mac is that it's relevance is probably twice that of a PC.  

My iMac is an 11,1 model - released late-2009, so it's about five years old.  Yet I can still run the current version of OSX on it and I expect to be able to continue to use it as my desktop for several years to come.  Unlike the iPad-1.

Before I bought my Nexus, I went looking at new iPads - the mini's had just come out and I was intrigued by the new Retina displays.  I really liked the new iPads but I couldn't justify the price points.  If Apple decided to yank-out the carpet on my original iPad after only three years, how long would I have on one of their new iPads - and is this aggressive upgrade path (see: iPhone) going to trend into their tablets?

That's why I bought the Nexus 7.

The Nexus-7 had a front-camera for video chatting, ran on Android - an operating system I'd become familiar with from my mobile phones and, best of all, had a price-point of under $300.

My Nexus became my work-horse tablet.  It handled all my work requirements, like note taking, email, texting, document management, etc., and it handled it's responsibilities flawlessly.  To date, my one and only complaint about my Nexus is the Google Play store and their idiotic account/payment requirements.

Last year, I loaned my Kindle to a friend and it got lost/stolen at an airport.  W00t just happened to have a sale on the Kindle Fire ($99) which was what my Kindle originally cost me.  My friend acquired two refurb'd Kindle Fires and gave me one to replace mine.

It took a while for me to not treat the Kindle as a single-purpose device (reading) and once I broke out of that mold, I started using the Kindle for applications (mostly games, tbh) and some light work (email mostly).  Since Google doesn't have their mainstay apps available for the Kindle - competing devices and all that - I've not used the Fire as much as I would like - but I am using it more than any other tablet I currently own.

I am also not worried about either the Nexus or the Fire remaining relevant in terms of lifetime support.  Unlike the iPad, my Android devices continue to receive updates and I anticipate them continuing to do so for several years.

At yesterday's WWDC, Apple announced seamless integration across their devices.  The catch, of course, being that you have to have their devices and, preferably, the latest revisions of those devices.  I also believe, from even the most casual perusal of the iPhone release map history, that Apple has realized their continuing profitability for mobile devices is pivots around a strategy of continuously upgrading your hardware.  Given the pricing of Apple's mobile devices, I wish them well as I am generally adverse to the practice of throwing-away money.

Following yesterday's WWDC announcements, one of our office's Apple fans was touting the "seamless integration across the Apple product line" - as he enumerated each of the new features, another co-worker kept asking him: "Oh, you mean like Google Voice?".  

He has a point.  When I receive a Google Voice call,  my laptop rings, my Mac rings, as does my Nexus tablet, my Motorola phone and my iPhone (which is basically now only an iPod).  (My iPad stays silent.)  

With the WWDC announcements, Apple is now promoting an iconoclastic network based on it's hardware platform for interoperability and communication.  Instead of trying to communicate with all the devices in your electronic life, Apple's new strategy is focused on making only your Apple products talk with each other.  Like some exclusive little fraternity that no one really knows, or cares, about.

I've been using a Linux development environment now for several years and I'm sold; I have no desire to return to a mac-based dev box.  Breaking out of the Apple comfort zone greatly reduced the relevance of the Apple lifestyle.  I now use an android-based phone, android-based tablet, and android-based home-entertainment console.  Because, android works and plays well with others.  It doesn't say "oh, I'm android so I am only going to talk to other android devices."

I also don't anticipate Google yanking the rug out from beneath my devices by limiting their relevance to only a couple of years.

Yesterday's WWDC announcements left me feeling more "meh" about Apple than I've ever felt before.  How terribly sad that your keynote presentation promotes exclusivity over integration.  I'd have been  much more impressed if you'd announced that you finally fixed the flaws in OS-X finder instead.