iRecognition: I am no longer Apple’s Target Market

I get it. I am no longer a “Mac” and it has taken a while to recognize. But now, I get it. It has been a good run. I can’t tell you have many times I went into companies and people scoffed at me running networks and servers from my PowerBook or MacBook. They laughed and thought I was nuts to come in and run Windows networks and servers with Macs. But, I did it and did it well. I brought Macs in where there were none prior to my arrival. I bridged divides between networks at companies that had “Mac people” and “Windows people” in the 2000s. I did a tremendous amount of magic every once and a while and it was always from a Mac. But now, that all has changed. I no longer am Apple’s market for devices. Here are a few reasons why.

I don’t like your glued-together hardware. I don’t want to buy metal glued together with glass and the inability to upgrade. You can make thin metal goodness and glue it all together and put screws designed to not be accessible for end-users, but I’m not buying it.

I don’t want my computer to be a tablet.  I make things on my computer. There is no “convergence” for me. I don’t comprehend your reality. We have an iPad. The first generation one. It was neat. It is still kind of neat even if you stopped supporting it after a couple of years.

I don’t want my operating system to be more like an appliance. I happen to like computers and personal computers because I am not looking for someone to make decisions for me on what tools I can use on devices that I own.

I don’t need you to protect me from the world. I don’t need your curation. I rarely go into your OS X App Store and only get app updates from my jailbroken iPhone 4 for iOS apps. The curated App store is crazy. There are thousands upon thousands of apps that I have no need or desire for.

I didn’t jump at the iPhone 5. I wasn’t in-line on day one like I was with the iPhone 3 and iPhone 4. I am unsure why I just didn’t care anymore.

I don’t want more devices that do the same thing. Steve Jobs was right. The iPhone was the best tablet and it was correct to release it first. The various iPads are neat to consume with, but are not functional enough for people that happen to do more than just email and Facebook. The users that got you through the dark days were people that used your equipment because it was the best to create and make things with. I cannot say that anymore.

You gave up on servers and a real server operating system. XServes were actually nice devices. I bought a few. You left it for dead and those that still try to run your server add-on stuff are nutty.

iCloud is a joke. Like eWorld. Like .Mac. Like MobileMe. You can’t do this stuff. It’s okay. But, the fact you try reminds me of the dark days of Apple in the mid-90s. This was the time Apple was ready to die prior to Jobs returning.

You are a consumer electronics company now. Flavor of the month. You might be popular now, but the public is fickle. Ask Sony. They were just like you in the 1980s. Now, they are not.

You are about unit sales now. You need more and more consumers to want to get the latest Apple device. I get it. I don’t agree with it, but that is where you are now. I remember I was always able to explain to people that Macs lasted longer than PCs because of quality and ability to upgrade. Also, oddly, when software upgrades came out, they often make old hardware run faster. This doesn’t happen anymore. OS X 10.7 and 10.8 turned decent equipment into absolute pigs.

For the last few years and about every six months or so, I would always take the latest RedHat or Ubuntu distro and install it on a separate hard drive to see how it would run on my MacBook Pro or iMac. The experiment would always always start hopeful and end abruptly because I just couldn’t deal with the features I missed in OSX. My Apple hardware would always run faster, better and slicker with the latest and greatest Mac OS X version. My attempt to move to Linux full-time for my primary machine would last (at most) a couple of days before I would go crazy.

After 10.7 and 10.8, I repeated this experiment expecting the usual results. But, since October, have yet to return to the Mac. I am now running Ubuntu 12.10 full-time on my MacBook Pro 8,2 and have been the happiest I have been really since 10.6.8. It actually freaks me out. I would have bet against it.

I wish you the best on your consumer and mass-market model but for the first time in as long as I can remember, I know my next laptop and phone will not have a Apple logo on it.


Leave a comment or reply

  • I don’t know how you stayed with non-standard screws this long as since the Mac original, they have had non-standard screws.
    I use laptops built for Windows on Linux since 12.04 landed and absolutely happy with Linux after a life with DOS(3.0)+windows(1.0).
    But I am not happy with Non-Mac hardware. I use Thinkpad x220 but it does not even come close to MBP/Air on hardware.
    You would be coming back to Macs no matter what you run in them.

    • I agree with the hardware part. That’s why I think, at least for myself, I’m stuck. Unless I get last year’s model. With the Air, no choice, but such a comfortable form factor. And the hardware is durable. Not long enough to see how the Air/Retinas will perform but outside of using shitty (Fujitsu, I think) HDDs that failed, most last gen MBPros like the 17″ are the best notebook hardware yet. The previous generation was equally good, maybe even tougher.

        • A genius in an Apple store told me the problem with the final-generation 17″ MacBook Pro was that it sold only 50k units.

          I had four 17″ MPBs over their years and loved every one. The last of those was the final rev in the old pre-unibody design, and now belongs to my 16 year old son, who dreads the day it dies or Apple fully obsoletes it. The thing is still faster and better all around running, say, Adobe Photoshop CS5 than my unibody 15 MBP with the i7 cpu is on CS6. That old unit has one of the special-order higher resolution screens, and it is just beautiful. I can’t tell what the screen resolution is though, because the Displays control panel no longer reveals resolutions. Nor does it allow the user to reset resolution, nor to put display info in the menu bar. BTW, I am with Jonathan top to bottom in this post. Now I think I’ll put Ubuntu on one of the old 17″ MBPs and see what happens.

          • I just really want to see what happens with a reply that’s a bit long and so late in the reply chain, there does not seem to be space to indent the comment anymore…

  • The recent little change within Apple was triggered by Steve himself. Apple has been always greedy about what customers are supposed to do with their computers.

    A couple years ago I have been an ubuntu full time user and switched to Apple for all the the little beautiful features you won’t get with ubuntu. Since the new expensive iMac with less value and the iPhone 5 is available I am almost ready to leave Apple as a customer. The only problem is, I worry that ubuntu is not what I want.

    • I totally hear you. It is different. I was very used to the iApp-stuff but have been solid without it. I did hack VMWare Workstation to run a OSX 10.6.8 guest just in case and I did use it a lot when I first made the switch, but used it less and less over the following weeks. I do a lot with labs and laptop carts, so ARD is pretty useful but Office stuff and other tools are there with WINE and Crossover if needed and they work pretty well. Better than I was planning-on.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting!

      • Quick question, for curiosity’s sake: when you say you “hack[ed] VMWare Workstation to run a OSX 10.6.8 guest”, was this performed on a Mac machine running Linux? Or was it on a “built-for-Windows” machine? As a related question, do you still run Ubuntu on your MacBook for the hardware?

  • Fully agreed. I upgraded to OSX Lion the day it went out, I kept it 2 days and cracked (it’s bloody powerful hardware, why tf do extra useless animations make my computer so slugish?), downgraded back to OSX Snow Leo, and will keep it until the day my 2010 macbook pro gets out of usage (new macbook pros refuse to install OSX prior to Lion). After what I’ll go back to Linux at last.

    Everything went shit when Jobs left. Just like you said, the reasons why I used to love Apple (quality products for a professional use) don’t apply anymore, and that’s pretty sad.

    • Thanks again for talking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.

      Great little (hardy watched video clip) on YouTube when Jobs was announcing the Think Different campaign to Apple employees.

      When you hear him and what he was trying to convey was at the “core” of Apple at the time, it really struck me how far they have strayed.

      • Can you map multitouch gestures to e.g. scrolling and space/desktop switching in XFCE? if so, I’d be tempted to switch…

        Do you recommend Ubuntu over, say, SuSE for any particular reason?

        • Desktop switching = yes. Virtual desktops the way they were always meant to be. Multitouch = no. But, I haven’t done much to investigate that. The standard one and two finger clicks, etc. work fine but beyond that, no.

          • This is why I love ThinkPads. For me, the ‘nub’ (ie, trackpoint) replicates the key functionality of multitouch (which is effortless fully 2 dimensional scrolling), but they actually do it better once you get used it it.

            In the last year I have had a current gen MBA, a first gen MBP unibody, and this used $150 X61 Thinkpad. I had never had a Mac before. I thought OSX was quite alright, but I honestly prefer the X61 for pretty much every use.

            The trackpoint is a killer feature, IMO.

  • I feel and have done exactly the same! I’m sure this is a trend among us developers, which means it will be trend among regular users in a year or two…

  • I am thinking the same thing for the past year, and I am still searching for a viable replacement. So, far every part of my search is in vein. The high-end Lenovos are my first choice right now and by the end of 2013, I’ll move to them, but not quite sure yet.
    By, the way I am thinking of moving more to FreeBSD, which I already use, but not as my main OS. Ubuntu, is just another trend, it’s good, but how much is it going to last? They have made many improvements, but still they make some changes, that I don’t support. The UI is really bad, though you can move to the old UI.

  • Apple is running away from selling computers and professional products, as you mentioned regarding the Xserve. Within 5 years, I expect they’ll have stopped making computers altogether…

  • Damn, right in the feels.

    Relate to this a lot. I come from it as a video creative. Feels like we’ve been abandoned. Last Mac tower was 2010. Final Cut Pro slain. Actually heading to PC next time around. So long Apple.

    My personal belief is that the Apple cool has a shelf life of 5 years max. It’s the designers and creatives they now ignore that initially gave them the cachet. Once the transformation into a solitary tablet / phone company completes, I see them migrating to the “premium generic” brand-scape of Sony and fighting a war of attrition.

    But … I guess as long as we keep room open for the next wave of innovators, who really cares, right?

  • At some point people have to wake up and realise that Ubuntu is out there and it is completely free (and of very high quality). Apple has become a fashion, and although I really like the design of my MacBook and my iMac I can’t justify their price.

    I really hope that another player will make some decent looking hardware pretty soon. The only thing that allows Apple to stand out is the slick aluminium cases. Besides that, the rest is just the same old crap.

    Also, I still have an iPhone 3GS and I can’t find a good reason to upgrade (o.k. I could do with a better camera….)

    • I did some research before buying my current laptop and ended with a (refurbished) June 2012 macbook pro. From my investigation:

      I really wanted an ubuntu for the same reasons that were stated in this post. Plus I use it a lot with vagant anyway. What held me:
      * Chaotic buying options for new laptops. I could not distinguish which ones would fit me and which ones would have all hardware supported etc.
      * A nasty bug with ubuntu GUI @ work. We use ubuntu laptops and for the current configuration there was a graphics card bug that randomly froze my screen. Too scared that this would happen also on my “other” computer.
      * Options available had windows pre-installed. Don’t like that.
      * I have seen (I use a unity machine 9hrs per day) some inconsistencies and hickups with the engine
      * I still don’t like the unity/kde/gnome fragmentation
      * Multiple screens


      * I believe that unity will be OK in a couple of years
      * There will be good support for my current hardware
      * (I hope that) At least one of the GUI alternatives will die so there will be more boost on the rest.

      I think that in 2013/4 I will fully switch to Ubuntu/Redhat… forever

      @Dimitris (same named): Dell just did that with sputnik. Let’s see

  • You’ve summed up my exact thoughts!

    I’m so glad I got to experience Apple when they were great. They used to be about the creatives, now they’re trying to bring in the average consumer but they’re forgetting about the people that made them great!

    The only thing holding me back from Ubuntu is adobe! If I could have premier and indesign and photoshop running smoothly I’d switch in a heartbeat.

    and don’t get me started on the iphone. Their sandbox approach is actually a pro for me but not so much on the ipad.

    windows 8 is poo, osx is poo, ios is poo, android is getting there but still not perfect ‘out of the box’ and the same goes for linux. Whats a gal to do!

    I say we all go back to pen and paper!

  • Apparently many of you are still living in a fantasy. Apple sells hardware, nuff said. Always have. Now as for lack of upgrading, well Intel is about to do it to you by removing upgrade ability and force PC makers to follow suit, so at that point the scales should be balanced, are you going to still whine about Apple? For those that think they need more or different hardware than current or future options which you ‘cannot mess with’ you are just making excuses, has nothing to do with productivity.

  • I liked this story when windows weenies first started writing it in 1992. It was much better then. Back then you might believe that someone actually was this stupid and actually preferred the crappy windows UI.

    The reality– you are an apple hater, and you are irrational. You’re also ignorant and dishonest.

    This is just another apple bashing article by someone pretending to be “one of the faithful” to try and get credibility.

    And you’re not fooling anyone who knows anything about Apple.

    • Thanks for alerting me to that perspective on my post. I never imagined I would elicit such a personal attack like this. But, it’s actually helpful for me to understand where people might be coming from and where they want to take it.

      • Ok – I know he’s my main squeeze – but “Engineer” your comments – aka your judgments – are off the mark regarding his being an apple hater and ignorant on the subject he was writing about. And you are completely incorrect regarding calling him a liar.

        1. He’s been continuously using Apple products, of his own free will, since apple’s first home computer. So that makes it over 20+ years now….

        2.The man is not ignorant about his own opinions on the direction of the mac products and whether or not he’s still “on board” with the direction of the company or continuing to use their products.

        3. If there is one thing you could never call Mr. Mergy – a Liar would be it.

        That’s all. Argue, debate and discuss the points of his or for that matter anyone’s opinion pieces, posts etc. without resorting to name calling or personal judgements. It makes you appear, well, dare I say it… ignorant.


    • “Engineer,” you obviously do not know Jonathan and are speaking out of your ass. I can personally vouch that Jonathan brought Macs into a strictly PC environment. A move that was met with sighs of relief by the design department. He, himself, worked from a MacPro laptop in the IT department. This is not some “apple hater,” but a man who has supported the Mac platform in a corporate, PC-centric world. If Jonathan is disgruntled with Apple, it’s worth paying attention to.

      • Thanks Jim,

        It’s funny now though that since the post back in early December, there have been more and more people ditching the Apple platform. I think people want to believe but it will be interesting to see how people can hold-on as Apple’s reality differs more and more from builders and creative professionals.

  • I was liberated from the Cult of Mac early enough to reap the benefit of running GNU/Linux and FreeBSD based systems full-time.
    When my friends were raving about the G4 Cube, I was helping a friend deal with the fact that the beloved cube had cracked due to insufficient cooling, a perfect manifest of design over substance that had taken over Apple (and in my opinion, shortly before The Other Steve left).
    The last nail in the coffin of Apple use for me had been my unsuccessful attempt to upgrade the OS on an ImacG3, which permanently fried the computer (there were rumors that Apple had done that deliberately, but I had never invested the time to research properly)
    Far from an Apple hater, I simply decided early on to invest in computers I could upgrade easily and slap on different OS as I saw fit.
    Sure, deciding not to embrace an ultimately prepackaged platform had perhaps left me out of the early Iphone appmarket bonanza.
    But then again, I have been using Apache servers to run a hosting and web business for 8 years, with very little additional education needed.
    In short, I am glad that I saved thousands of dollars in hardware costs and many thousands of hours of re-educating myself on new Apple ways of doing things in their closed ecosystem.
    My girl, an Apple fanatic, is now bitter over how much more closed down the user experience had gotten, she had huge problems upgrading to the latest iphone with the icloud or whatever their shared user account system is called.
    In conclusion, I hope your embrace of more accessible hardware and open software will lead to time saved and money earned, as it has been the experience for me.

  • I completely agree on this.

    Apple has been going down rapidly ever since Lion was released. And even the iPhone 4s. I own one, just like a iPhone 4. And every other iPhone prior to that. The iPhone 4S dissapointed me a lot. It was exactly the same as the 4. Sure, twice as fast, but since everything is sandboxed it doesn’t really matter. My friend’s new macbook pro had a broken screen, and the repair costs were insane.

    I don’t like iOS 5. 6.

    I don’t like Lion, Mountain Lion.

    I don’t like your “Sandboxed” hardware.

    I don’t like your new devices.

    I recently bought a new MacBook pro, and I selected it by checking if it was able to downgrade to Snow Leopard, the best OS ever. Found and and bought it. But soon I realized I couldn’t do anything. Newer Xcode Versions aren’t supported, iCloud intergration ( Mail ) never came, Final Cut required a higher OS…

    I know, my next phone WILL be a iPhone, but as weird as it might sound, I’m going to use my 3GS again. Downgrade it to iOS 3, and enjoy my jailbreak.

    When ever a new iOS comes out I think : Whoa, this is amazing, but then I realize it’s just like the previous one. But worse. After iOS 3 it started to suck more and more.

    Apple, whut you doin’ ?

  • @ engineer

    Sir, I’ve been one of Apple’s most loyal customers, ever since the iMac G3 came out, I basically bought EVERYTHING. I still have 5 iPhone 2g’s here.

    The truth is, Apple IS going down a bad road. Can you honestly say you think the iPhone 4S, Mountain Lion, Sealed Hardware, and unsupported stuff is positive? If so, good for you. I don’t. I miss the days when Apple products were’t mainsteam. And the days when Jailbreaking was really special.

    If you miss those days, you’re a true apple fan.

    Probably no body cares, or knows, but compare it to Green Day,

    Great Band, but because of business, money, fame they became a really sucking band.

    Apple is going to be “Just one of those companies” in the future too…

  • This is silly nonsense.
    Everyone is going to “glued together” laptops for size, thinness, and weight. Get over it.
    Don’t like the app store? Don’t use it. Nobody is forcing you to. What does it matter if there are apps there you don’t want? Weird.
    Don’t like some of the convergence features like Launchpad? Don’t use it.
    Apple is flavor of the month and will be like Sony? Laughable and tells us you know nothing about either company.
    No the iPhone is not the best tablet and that is not what Jobs said.
    This silly blog entry is a cry for attention and only works with people who know nothing.
    Oh and I’m typing this on my Retina MacBook pro. Show me a better laptop and operating system at any price.

  • Nice post Jonathan.

    You captured some of the things I was having a hard time expressing about the “new” iphone 5 and me not really being excited for it.

  • The only difference between apple now and apple in the past is they are making more money. Design, focus, ideology are all exactly the same as they have always been, if anything things are a lot more customizable and hackable then they used to be.

    I had a mac classic II when I was a kid. It used customer unfriendly screws. It ran sys7.5, since 8 made it run like a dog. The control panel had half the choices it did now, no command line, and shipped with no dev tools or abilities for automation.

    If you like linux more, thats cool, more power to you. If you hate apples closed eco-system, I can understand that. But I think it is probably because you have changed, rather then them 🙂

  • Bought my first MacBook back in early 2009 (aluminium MacBook), but sadly I think it’ll be my first and last.

    Over the years I’ve upgraded the RAM from 2GB to 4GB, and then to 8GB, and replaced the hard drive with a nice fast SSD. With the new MacBook Pro I’ll be limited to whatever I’ve bought for the lifetime of the product. It just makes the purchase incredibly hard to justify when you’re paying for a premium product.

    As for OS X itself – I love how the UI works and having a UNIX laptop with all the dev tools I need, but sadly the performance of it is just awful. Even with 8GB of RAM, it goes into swap – this shouldn’t happen so easily, it’s not as if I’m using Photoshop! After around 10 days uptime, the machine starts to feel slow and awful to use.

    Over Christmas I’ll be giving Ubuntu another go and removing OS X entirely.

    • Great points. I have always messed and been able to improve my Apple equipment. I can’t think of a Powerbook or Macbook that I haven’t tweaked by upping RAM, swapping-out and adding larger hard drives, etc. Starting from the G3 Powerbook to the TiBook to the last PPC powerbook and the last few Macbook Pros – I always made them better because I could and kept them going.

      When I came into my current position, my bosses just got the Macbook Airs (the initial 2008 models) and I ended-up having to replace them for them in early 2010 because 2GBs soldered RAM and an 80 gig drive weren’t cutting it anymore and there was nothing I could do about it. I did end-up putting XP and Linux on them to keep them going for other uses. I suppose that first Air experience should have been a clue.

      Anyway, appreciate the comment.

  • Dear Mergy,

    When cousin put his white macbook in my hands in 2006 i knew i had to get a mac. and in 2008 i got one, mind you i was one of those crazy kids with water cooled pcs and super powerful hardware. But all that changed when i touched a mac.

    Now everyday that goes by i lose “faith” in apple. They keep porting stuff into the platform like notification center which is really annoying and its use is really questionable: do i really need to open the notification and cancel all notifications of emails i’ve already read? come on! Process unloaded.
    The system seems like its getting tighter and tighter with more bugs and ported features which have no place in an OS.

    Like you, this has me looking for other options. and man when i tried ubuntu unity 12.10 did i fell in love.

    I’m virtualizing it with parallels atm and have been reading forum posts for quite a while, could you kindly tell me if there’s any trouble running it on an MBP ? (if you have one) .

    I know graphic switching doesn’t work and i’m hoping to find a way around it since i really need this.
    Also i’m wondering if FW drives work :).

    Thank you!
    Best Regards,

    • Yes. Ubuntu 12.10 was not the greatest on my Macbook 8,2 i7 but the early alpha of Raring Ringtail is REALLY nice (except for the power management, but you can suspend manually.) The Broadcom wireless and bluetooth is MUCH better than 12.10. Video is also much improved with updates coming hourly.

      • Dear mergy,

        Thank you for your reply. You happen to have the exact same mbp as i do ;). May i ask how you got around the graphic switching issue ? I wouldn’t mind sticking to intel graphics if i didn’t need external displays at home.

        i might just be willing to go full native :p

        Best Regards,

        • Currently I am not doing anything around graphics switching. I am using the non-ATI proprietary drivers. It is working great, but it is a power-suck. Stay on the standard build versions (12.10) to be able to get VMWare working. They are always a little behind on kernel mods. I haven’t spent the time to hack the mods for my 3.8.0-5 right now on Raring Ringtail 13.04 yet, but finding I really didn’t need a VM of Windows and OSX 10.6 as much as a thought. CrossOver and WINE have really come a long way.

  • I’m just a basic consumer but have owned a varient of the iphone for half a decade. Disillusioned by a bleak future for the iOS jailbreak community and tired of feeling criminal for being part of it, I recently traded my iPhone 4S for Google’s Nexus 4.

    I feel like the company has turned full circle and now represents the opposite of their iconic 1984 television commercial.

    Still don’t have the time to implement Linux into my daily life. I have had a go with a few distros but am reliant on tech support for anything outside of GUI.

    • It’s funny. The post is now a couple months old, but my exodus from Apple makes even more sense. We have also seen many more well-known people move on and past Apple.

      Thanks for taking the time to post the comment. I think everyone is eager to see how a post-Apple world looks.

  • The tools for network management, development, and everything else have only gotten better. There’s even good tools on the iPad. This idea that Macs are becoming less useful and iOS is for consumption is ludicrous. Only people who demand configuration and maintenance tasks are unhappy. That’s why sales are up. macs are becoming more “the computer for the rest of us” than ever before.

    It sounds like you want a computer to work on, rather than with.

  • I was a very late comer to Macs, so probably more tolerant to some of the rot than many of you.

    I got my first Mac in 2010 at the age of 25. It was a 1 year old 17″ MacBook Pro. I had grown up with and loved IBM Thinkpads (always the 1400×1050 or 1600×1200 T**p’s), my move to the Mac was because the Thinkpads had lost their edge having recently been sold off to Lenovo (there was rot there too).

    After a month or two of getting my head round OS X, I was hooked. Sadly now (especially after ‘upgrading’ to El Capitan) I can really feel the rot. I found your page after reading your comment on (AppleCoreRot). I ended up on his site after experiencing the dumbed down Disk Utility – just a disaster.

    I never experienced xServe, but thought it was sad when it got chopped. When the 17″ MacBook Pro got dropped it was sad. When they released the trash can Mac Pro, it was sad, especially as I would be happy to move to a proper ‘desktop’ machine now. I can cope with the glue on the laptops if they’d do a 17″. I heard the other day that they have stopped doing displays now too, sad. I do not want a display with ‘DELL’ written on it.

    If only they could spin off a fairly autonomous ‘Apple Pro’ division…

    • Richard,

      Thanks for the comments and taking the time to post a thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it. I really started to see the shift back when I was dealing with MacBooks in schools. The carts, the software and hardware bugs were strange to see from Apple. I had always been the hardcore Apple guy because of the superior hardware and software I always felt I had. But a few years later, it’s very much common knowledge and universally understood that Apple has devolved. It’s sad to see.