So Long, Apple

A brief history of my last Apple product purchases.

13" MacBook Air

Bought brand new in 2011, maxed out. Somewhat underpowered, but fine for most things I did. Great design. A good computer I was happy with. After three or four years, I’m thinking of a newer one, but there have been zero compelling upgrades. A couple processor bumps, but they’re all the same Ultrabook CPUs with the same number of cores running at the same speeds. I replace the battery instead.

Then, one day, I try to wake it from sleep. Instead of resuming from suspend mode, it boots up like I’d reset it. I put my disk password in, it gives me half a progress bar for a few minutes, then resets. Try again, same story; the disk has failed at the block level and can’t be unlocked. I boot the recovery partition, but it can’t repair this failure. My only option is to reinstall.

That’s fine, since I have backups, but I’m never trusting the storage on this machine again. The storage is soldered to the motherboard and can’t be replaced. Whoops.

I consider buying a new MacBook, but see that my options are another Air without significant upgrades, a low-end MacBook Pro, or a mainline machine with the terrible keyboard with a row of keys replaced with a touchscreen.

I buy a Dell XPS 13 instead.

Prior to this, I owned numerous Macs: The very first first MacBook Pro, then a Core 2 Duo, and a 27" iMac -- not including several I had for work.

iPhone 6

Bought launch day. I soon discover that it’s too large to use comfortably. The metal case bends within two weeks and I get the whole phone replaced. It has that godawful camera bump. It’s the first iPhone that I disliked.

iPhone SE

The iPhone SE comes out, and I buy one as soon as I can. It’s the perfect form factor, has no camera bump, and it’s fairly inexpensive despite being a very good performer. I like it a lot and am very happy with it.

iOS 11 happens, and it’s terrible, easily the single worst iOS release ever. Performance takes a huge hit, battery life suffers significantly, and the number of obvious, embarrassing bugs is through the roof. Text overflows its containers, controls are obscured by other things so they can’t be used, Night Shift mode makes the whole device slow down, and it keeps popping up errors about the iTunes store when I’m not doing anything related to it. I loathe it.

The hardware sleep/wake button fails. The phone thinks it’s always being pressed, which makes it bring up the power-off screen constantly. I power it off. It turns back on because the button is pressed, but before it can finish booting, it turns off again because the button is stuck.

The phone’s 18 months old and I don’t want to spend $100 repairing it. I don’t want to buy a new one, because they’re 18 months out of date and barely run the current iOS. Every current iPhone is too large and still has that camera bump. I hold out for a bit, hoping they’ll refresh the SE, but it doesn’t happen.

I buy a Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact instead.

Prior to this, I’d owned at least every other iPhone generation back to the very first model, and have never owned an Android phone.

iPad Mini 4

Having owned the first two iPad models, I was very excited to own an iPad Mini. It’s the perfect size. I buy them for everyone in my family. My daughter breaks hers and I buy myself a nice Mini 4 and hand her down my Mini 3.

Years pass with no upgrades. I break the screen on mine, and again, can’t justify the repair cost, and there is no new model of the same size.

I buy nothing instead.

Prior to this, I owned the very first iPad, an iPad 2, and iPad Mini 1.


It took me a while to write this, and in the interim, there have been new iPad Mini and MacBook Air models released. I don’t think I’ll be buying them. If I buy now, it’s going to be another four years of neglecting the hardware, while the software makes it more and more frustrating to use.

I love vintage hardware, but it loses its charm when you can’t run the same vintage software -- and Apple makes it difficult or impossible to do so.

It’s very clear to me that Apple doesn’t care about the parts of their product lineup I did. It’s very frustrating to see the parade of new stuff I will never, ever buy (Apple Watch, HomePod, AirPods) while chomping at the bit for a refreshed iPhone SE.