Wednesday, July 18, 2018

My Increasing Frustration with Apple Services & Products

October 16, 2011 by · 99 Comments 

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I’m increasingly finding that Apple’s control of my information in a closed fashion is preventing me from getting the utility that I need from my devices for every day use + I’m also starting to get worried about device and media portability for the future.

Let’s look at the following situations that I find myself in regularly with Apple’s services and products:

1) I’ve bought music over the years from iTunes, and the older stuff is still DRM protected, so I haven’t been able to do anything else with it, and I don’t want to pay the upgrade charge that I’d have to pay to unlock it, even though the same song today costs the same as it did when I paid for it back then. Now, I’ve just shifted almost entirely to Spotify because this was just getting silly and I was starting to fear for the ‘investment’ I was making, vs just considering the Spotify model of ‘renting’ for use and not caring which device I consume it in.

My friend Jason Ball has also had this annoyance

2) My pictures in the new Photo Stream tie me into iPhoto instead of giving me the option to publish to Dropbox or any other of the services most people are using these days.

3) My contacts are entirely in Google Contacts because that’s where people that use Google Apps for work have them in. Yes, Google sync is a ‘workaround’ but it uses Exchange’s protocols, so you are limited to a very finite set of fields and the mapping of contacts to fields isn’t great… on iOS for example, it is very limiting. Now with iCloud, I can’t even synch iCloud with Google Contacts the way the the local address book can… and why not?

4) Google Calendars, the now standard, again, nothing for me to be able to do with iCloud.. I am forced to pick, why couldn’t iCloud becoming a pseudo-web-client for any kind of calendaring with sharing capabilities surpassing those of GCal? It could have been so awesome had they done that… Effectively taking the desktop iCal app , putting it up on the web, and allowing people to choose it as the default calendaring app for any kind of purpose not just Apple’s specific use cases and closed ecosystem.

5) I have moved countries and as such my purchases tied with one apple ID are at risk that as soon as my credit card expires from the country I left, any subsequent upgrade is going to be missed and I may need to buy the apple all over again. Actually, this applies to ALL of my content. ALL of it is at risk of being lost unless Apple allows data and purchase portability without concern for region. Let me move my data to any country with me. I bought it!

However this is highly unlikely because of regionalization laws for media, but surely with older stuff they should be more flexible? And with applications and data?

6) Not allowing applications to share information with each other, the way that Android allows it, makes the workflow of using an iOS device increasingly clumsy, and involving multiple clicks of the button.. Additionally, stuff like the Address book, from my previous point, is getting awfully dated due to the inability to plug into other services to augment the data that is already stored within the address book.

7) iBooks that I’ve bought are tied into my iPad. That’s the only place I can consume them. How come not on the web like with Amazon’s cloud reader? How come not part of iCloud? How come I can’t take those books and read them on a different device in case I don’t want to continue buying iProducts? Can’t we de-couple digital sales from proprietary hardware? Can’t we decouple digital sales from regions and credit card validity periods?

All in all, I’m starting to feel like Apple’s simplicity in OS design is becoming to show its limitations because they are staying static on how some things, like the address book evolve. What once was awesome because there were no other services to plug into or use, is now starting to feel dated because of how many cloud services people use to aggregate their media and data. I hope Apple wakes up soon and starts player ‘nicer’ with the ecosystem merely by just allowing others to plug in to their services and they themselves doing more projects like what they did with Twitter… integrating and enhancing, not re-inventing the wheel others have already made.

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