Why You Shouldn't Listen To Person X

I've written, to some extent, about this topic already, but it is tough not to come back to it in light of so many people clamoring to have their opinion heard and judged "correct" by the masses. The concept is simple:

[W]e’re beyond choosing by number. Choose an OS/Hardware combination that appeals to you based on the experience provided.

Anyone, henceforth labeled "Person X," who is a "fan" or "evangelist" of any company or technology will only see the good about their preference, and will view any opposition as negative (feel free to go look up the psychology behind it, as it is quite fascinating. Here's a link to get you started - Why Changing Somebody’s Mind, or Yours, is Hard to Do.). For our purposes, the above statement will serve well as a basis for understanding the rest of this post.</p.


Apple is a bit of a unique case for this discussion, because it is the only company that controls the hardware and software for their entire product line-up. This is, in no small part, a large reason for both the negative viewpoint and the positive viewpoint possible in any discussion involving the company and its products.


Google is often looked upon as the antithesis to Apple's approach, choosing to work with hardware vendors to bring its operating system to the masses instead of direct control and release of products. Of note is the collaboration between Google and Samsung to provide a curated hardware/software solution that is, perhaps, the closest we've seen to a complete "Google" solution.


Microsoft is an interesting blend of two approaches. Initially, Microsoft only supplied software and worked with vendors to supply hardware. Recently, with the Surface specifically, Microsoft has started working on a simultaneous approach of providing software for those manufacturers who want to build hardware for their operating system, while also pursuing the path of developing their own hardware/software solution. In many ways, Microsoft and Google still share the same approach.

Note: The above summaries are brief and not necessarily completely accurate across all product lines. This is aimed to provide a general starting point for the discussion that follows.</p.

Person X

We all know one (or maybe a few dozen) person that constantly reminds us of how great a particular product is, or of how a particular product can do something "better" than the way implemented in the competing product(s). We tend to smile and focus on something else while they rant, eventually realizing we have to say something to reassure them that their position is understood and valid if we want them to finally move on to another topic. Typically, however, this person really doesn't care about whether their "solution" is actually better for what you are trying to do, they only want to get you to look at their solution as the only one that makes sense.

Before I elaborate further, I'm going to reiterate the one piece that you need to remember throughout all of these scenarios/discussion:

[W]e’re beyond choosing by number. Choose an OS/Hardware combination that appeals to you based on the experience provided.

Personal Notes

Anyone who knows me knows that I prefer the Apple/iOS platform, both for my home computer and for my mobile devices. Most do not realize I also have a Windows PC, a Linux notebook, and work with Linux and Windows workstations and servers at work. I've used a handful of Android devices (specifically the Motorola Atrix, the Samsung Galaxy SII, the Samsung Galaxy SIII, and the HTC One X+), and I have no hands-on experience with Windows Phone 7/8.

When I originally set out to determine which platform worked for me, it was while I worked for a small computer repair shop in Columbus, Georgia. I was a die-hard Windows user, and nothing could convince me to even look at what could be done on any other platform. When my laptop of the time died, I was suckered into purchasing an Apple PowerBook (G4, running OS 9.2). I loved the aesthetic design and attention to detail, so I finally decided to give in. After receiving the laptop I was disappointed, primarily because I could not do anything without fighting the operating system (I was trying to approach it as though it was Windows, which I was used to). After getting frustrated and shelving the unit for six months, I finally decided to give it an open-minded, objective shot.

Fast forward a bit, and the Mac became my preferred platform for everything other than computer gaming. Cell phones were still just phones, and the big feature on a phone of the day was a color screen, I started looking a little closer at Linux as an option for the home, but I never really made any progress. It made more sense to just have my Mac and a Windows PC as a backup/gaming machine.

Fast forward a while later and I picked up a brand new Blackberry on the Nextel network (this was the big silver one with the Java-based OS, I can't remember the model number). I really liked the ability to get email on the go, as I was an IT Manager for a regional institution at that time, and while it worked it was, truly, a horrid experience most of the time. We're going to gloss over this portion, and jump ahead again to 2007.

When the iPhone launched I was instantly interested. Here was a device that was nice and slim (the Blackberry was far too cumbersome not to wear it in a holster), and seemed far more pleasing to use for my needs. Within a month, I bought one.

Since then I have grown to appreciate looking at solutions for their worth, and seeing if a platform or device compliments my workflow, just alters it, or hinders it. For me, the Mac/iOS combination is the best feature set, most seamless experience, and all around most pleasing to use. I like aspects of the other platforms that I've looked at, and I believe the Android OS has come a long way from when it was first introduced. What irritates me is when someone proclaims a device better for something that isn't actually true, or isn't something that matters to me.

Do yourself a favor, evaluate what works for you and make a choice based on that, not on "Person X" trying to sway you with their opinions.

The iPhone 5

Now that I have had some time with the new iPhone, I decided it might be a good idea to try to offer an objective, tempered write-up about a few of the different things I keep hearing in assorted conversations. This is not designed to be a full review, as there are plenty of really detailed write-ups out there already. Instead, this is designed as a piece that reminds us all that everyone's experience with Apple's newest device is not necessarily equal.

Maps in iOS 6

This has to be the one topic that has garnered the most scrutiny and discussion I've seen since the "Antennagate" debacle that was blown way out of proportion. Let me be clear, I have no doubt that a number of users are experiencing the problems they are describing. What I want to remind everyone of is a simple concept, but one that every publication seems to overlook: your experience and my experience will differ, just as your experience is not necessarily the defacto experience everyone will have and neither is mine.

The new maps app in iOS 6 has been absolutely phenomenal for me. I've had more accurate results than what I had with the old maps app in iOS 5. I know that my experience isn't the same as everyone else, but I really would like to know just how many people are having a frustrating experience versus how many are having a phenomenal experience.

As a quick and limited experiment, I took an iPhone 4 that I still have, my Garmin nuvi, and my iPhone 5 and compared basic usage (finding my current location and searching for a couple of places) and had basically the same results across the board. The Garmin and the iPhone 5 pinpointed my location slightly more accurately, and the iPhone 4 returned a couple of additional results that were unrelated to what I was looking for, but overall the result was pretty much the same. I'm not a heavy maps user, but the key takeaway is simple: each users' experience will differ.

Aesthetics and Design

The other point I wanted to emphasize is the one thing that no picture or write-up can truly explain: the iPhone 5 is absolutely gorgeous. The device reminds me of what makes Apple products so appealing to some - the care and detail taken in manufacturing a beautiful, functional, and classy device. For some of us, this is what attracted us to Apple products a long time ago (the only reason I initially bought an Apple laptop was because of how sexy the titanium PowerBook was, and it was from that point forward that I slowly became a complete convert to Apple and OSX).

Seriously, I cannot describe the iPhone in a way that will do it justice. Everything from the look and feel of the device at first glance, to the scrutiny and appreciation of an up-close and personal examination of each and every detail of the phone is a beauty to behold. Remember when the MacBook Pro went to an unibody chassis? Yeah, that type of appreciation for aesthetics in manufacturing simply cannot be described.

Apple versus Samsung/Google versus Nokia/Windows

Without going into any of the legal battles going on, and without biasing any thoughts based on experiences with different devices, I want to emphasize one other key point about the assorted devices now or soon to be available to consumers: everyone prefers a different experience (gee, sounds a lot like the maps concept above, doesn't it?).

My platform of choice is Apple/iOS/OSX. I have a laundry list of reasons for my choice, but the overall idea is simply that I prefer the experience and workflow those devices provide me over any alternatives I have explored. I like a lot of aspects of the Android operating system, and some of the phones out there running the Android OS are pretty nice. I like the concepts shown to us with Windows Phone 8, and if I were looking at going with something other than an iPhone the Nokia Lumia 920 is a very appealing device aesthetically. There are great devices and reasons out there for each platform. Figure out what you need and make the choice based on that, not on the ridiculous notion that you have to compare the specs between devices a, b, c, d, and e and choose based on a number.

In short, we're beyond choosing by number. Choose an OS/Hardware combination that appeals to you based on the experience provided.