What phones and laptops I’ve used in my life, and how I finally become a fan of Apple
This post is a recap of how I got involved in the Internet and IT, what phones and laptops I’ve used, and gradually replaced them to the Apple ecosystem, and me becoming a fan of Apple.
As a former fan of Android and Windows (not that I hate them now, I just like Apple ecosystem over them now), I wanted to give my two cents about the things that Apple does better than others, and share my story of becoming a fan of Apple.
This is not a thorough analysis. Rather, my personal story of how Apple ultimately satisfied my needs regarding IT devices.
# My early experience with Apple
When I was a kid, my grandpa had an iMac. And I vaguely remember goofing around with it few times, but nothing serious.
Around 2010, my mom got an iPhone 3GS. It was the first iPhone released in South Korea. And it was really revolutionary. Even to the eyes of 10-year-old me. It showed the Internet and played videos and shit. In a handheld device. It was like a fucking magic.
In 2011, when I was 11, I got a chance to get a first smart device. A tablet PC, to be exact. I contemplated my choice between iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1. My little brother, who was already an Apple fan back then and have already bought iPod shuffle 4th (to lose it about a week later lol), insisted I get an iPad. But I chose Galaxy Tab 10.1. It was not that I didn’t like Apple (at least) back then. I think I was just more inclined to Galaxy Tab 10.1 because it’s Samsung, the company of my country. It was not like I compared specs and benchmarks. Anyway, I really loved it, because it played videos lol. I watched hours of YouTube videos with my Galaxy Tab (and stumbled upon the first porn. It was a Japanese AV, with a doctor dogging a nurse. You know, back in the wild days of YouTube. I was kinda shocked because I really didn’t have a knowledge about these stuffs back then, and couldn’t get my head around why he was sticking a penis in the bum. I just wanted see some tits).
# Smartphones I’ve used
## Blackberry Q10 (2015 Aug-2016 Aug)
The first smartphone I got was a Blackberry Q10 (It was not my first smartphone, per se. But it wasn’t a really serious or major smartphone player in the market, so I will skip the previous one). My little brother was fascinated, and so was I, with Blackberry because they got a ***whole damn QWERTY keyboard*** in a phone, and it was fucking awesome. So we both got a Blackberry Q10.
It was a quite decent device, IMO. I really loved the keypad. Though, the lack of app ecosystem was a huge blow. I didn’t really have a game to play with a Blackberry.
## Nexus 6P (2016 Aug-2018 Jun)
It was just about the time that I really wanted to try either Android and Apple, two serious players in the smartphone market.
At the time, Android had a tech-savvy impression for me. That was what I was looking for. On the other hand, Apple was just an overpriced, and not-so-tech-savvy option to me. My logic was `powerful customizability == tech-savvy`. It was back in the day when the jailbreak was still a thing, and I thought, “Why would you need to go through so much hassle just to tweak some stuffs?” So, the choice was obvious. Android.
I originally considered getting Samsung Galaxy, but I really loved the idea of having a *pure Android phone*. So I chose Nexus 6P.
I really loved it. It was snappy and beautiful. And I loved the customizability of Android. I liked tweaking stuff, and Android was just the right OS for me.
## iPhone 7 (2018 Jun-2018 Sep)
I’ve been using Nexus 6P without an issue (although I could feel it was getting slower), but one day in Jun 2018, I dropped it and it shattered. It wouldn’t turn on. It was not a serious problem though, since I’ve using cloud to backup important stuffs like photos. That’s when I got a first Apple device. iPhone 7.
My brother, who’s been a fan of Apple already, had a spare iPhone 7. Although I still thought Apple was overpriced, but if I’m not going to pay for it, it really doesn’t matter, right? And I also wanted try Apple to, so I gladly changed to iPhone 7.
At first, I was kinda worried that I wouldn’t be able to get used to iOS. But it wasn’t. iOS, compared to Android, was more simple and unified. Although not as customizable as Android, it didn’t bother me much. I just didn’t need to.
While using iPhone 7 for about three months, my impression on Apple changed. From an overpriced phone to a phone with a decent OS.
## Galaxy A8 Star (2018 Sep-2019 Oct)
My little brother, the original owner of the iPhone 7 I was using, needed it back. So I had to change a phone again. So why didn’t I change to iPhone 8, you might ask. Well, it was mainly because of an app called `Kanji Study` developed by Chase Colburn. Seriously, it’s damn impressive. It’s the best app you can find for studying Japanese. I loved it so much that I became a volunteer translator for Korean of that app. Unfortunately, iOS version of the app was few more years behind than the Android version as the developer was focusing on Android. Besides, I also wanted to try Samsung phone too.
So that’s what I got. Galaxy A8 Star. Although not on the flagship lineup (such as S series or note series), it was a really powerful device, positioned right below the flagship lineup. And Samsung did a great job of polishing Android too. I was quite satisfied.
## iPhone 11 (2019 Oct-)
In 2019, I started to consider iPhone as my next smartphone, and I waited until iPhone 11 was released in South Korea, and bought it right away. And I can’t be more satisfied choosing an iPhone. My positive experience with iPhone 11 made me seriously go into Apple ecosystem.
So why did I finally decide to switch to iPhone again after all these 4 years? Few factors played into this.
### 1. Apollo App
I’ve been using reddit since 2017, but I only came across with the existence of Apollo app in early 2019. From the descriptions and appraise from the users who’ve used the app, it really seemed like a decent app. At this point, I already have been browsing reddit quite a lot everyday, so I really wanted to experience a decent reddit app. Although the official reddit app was quite great, I really wanted to know what the fuss for Apollo app was about.
### 2. Apple Pay
Having visited Japan before, I’ve already experienced how fast and convenient Suica card is. Seriously, you barely swing it around the reader and it’s done. And almost every vending machine and convenience store accepts Suica. As I was having a plan to visit my friend in Japan in late 2019, I really wanted to use Suica with my phone. Unfortunately, for Android devices, Suica is generally only supported by Japan-specific models due to licensing issues. On the other hand, iPhone supports Suica on every model, starting from iPhone 8. So if I wanted to use Suica with my phone, I had to get an iPhone.
### 3. Updates
This is the point where I was quite disappointed with Android. Even though Samsung being a major manufacturer in Android, it took about *a year* to get an Android 9 update on my phone (Android 9 was released in Aug 2018, and Samsung rolled out update to Galaxy A8 Star in Jun 2019). Seriously, ***a year***? I could’ve gotten a Google phone. But Google discontinued Nexus series at this pointed and launched Pixel series, and I didn’t like Pixel series much.
On the other hand, Apple was known for releasing updates quite frequently, and providing updates for devices released more than 3 years ago. Apple began to seem like a really attractive option for me.
### 4. Pre-installed Apps
This is the another point I was disappointed with Android. Frankly, compared to iOS, pre-installed apps from Android, Google or Samsung, was lacking in quality-wise. Having used iPhone 7, I began to miss the simple, beautiful, yet powerful pre-installed apps, such as fitness tracking and photo. Google and Samsung apps did the job too, but overall experience wasn’t as satisfying as Apple apps.
### 5. OS
This is the point I become to like Apple. Apple seems have more unifying language around the iOS. Experience is consistent and expectable. Design is unified across the apps. Android was more fragmentized. Design and experience differs across the apps. I’m not saying that being fragmentized is the bad thing. It was the reason I originally liked Android. But I realized I liked unified experience more.
# Laptops I’ve used
Just like the case with phones, Mac was never an option for me. I’ve been growing up using Windows, and all the programs I needed was on Windows. Besides, I really didn’t have other Apple devices back then.
## ASUS laptop (2016 Mar-2017 Mar)
As I went to the high school, I needed a laptop for school stuff like homework and such.
The first laptop I got was a cheap ASUS laptop around $300, which I can’t even remember the model name. It doesn’t really matter anyway as it didn’t really have a distinguishable model name. It was advertised as a budget *gaming laptop*.
It did the job, but it was clunky and super heavy (about 3 kilos), and it constantly made the fan noise, and it got really hot after the moderate usage. I needed more light and slick laptop.
## Dell XPS 13 9360 (2017 Mar-2019 Feb)
I originally contemplated between MacBook Pro and XPS 13. I did my research, and hardware-wise, MacBook Pro was the top notch. Without considering OS, I wanted to get a MacBook Pro. But XPS 13 was also a very decent laptop, and was considered a “Mac killer”. As I couldn’t picture myself using macOS. Bootcamp was not an option for me neither. So I chose XPS 13.
XPS 13 was fantastic. It was light, slick, and fast. I really loved the aluminum feeling of the machine. The coil noise bothered me though.
## Surface Pro 6 (2019 Feb-2020 Jun)
In 2019 I went to a university. That meant I needed a note taking device. I didn’t want to carry physical notes. When you can just take notes and have them in cloud, why would you need to carry physical notes, which are prone to damage and loss?
So, two options for me. iPad, or Surface Pro 6. My logic was “Why would you need to carry two devices (laptop and iPad) when you can use both of them in one device (Surface Pro 6)?” So I chose Surface Pro 6.
Surface Pro 6 was a really decent device to. It was lightweight, and Surface Pen was great. Though the heat when I use it as a note was quite bothering. I could feel it with my palm. And the edge of the device made my wrist sore.
## MacBook Pro 13-inch 2017 (2020 Jul-)
Because of coronavirus, all classes this year was done online. It meant no need for note taking. No need for note taking meant that, Surface Pro 6 didn’t have a real advantage over traditional laptops.
And after I bought my Apple Watch in April, I’ve become more fascinated with Apple ecosystem, and wanted to expand my experience with the ecosystem.
Windows 10 experience also pushed me into trying Mac too. It periodically acted up, and I spent lots of time fixing them, or formatting the whole machine (these experiences gave me deeper understanding in computers though). Installing IDEs such as PyCharm or Anaconda broke things in Windows 10. And most of all, fonts and overall aesthetic in Windows really sucked. It was like a dumpster fire. HiDPI was a half-assed feature. It worked on some, but didn’t work that well. Oh yeah, CLI tools in Windows 10 suck too. At least not as good as in Linux or macOS.
And again, whole experience was too fragmentized. I wanted my laptop to work as is. When I got a new Windows laptop, what do I do first? Format the whole machine and do a clean install of Windows 10 because it’s filled with useless craps from the manufacturer. I started to feel being tired of needing to tweak things constantly.
So as soon as my first semester this year ended, I got MacBook Pro 13-inch from my brother. And it’s much better than Windows experience, at least for me. Things work as is, as I expected. Aesthetics are beautiful, and there are much less issues related to legacy support (e.g. file path length limit in Windows). Although macOS has its own learning curve, I adapted quickly. Having used Mac for about 3 weeks now, I wonder why I hadn’t switched earlier.
# My Current Apple Devices
Currently, I have four Apple devices.
– iPhone 11
– AirPods Pro
– Apple Watch Series 5 (44mm)
– MacBook Pro 13-inch (2017, two thunderbolt 3 ports)
And I really love them! Maybe after this corona thing calms down and I take offline classes again, I might get an iPad as well.
# What do I love about Apple now
Now having used a phone, laptop, and smartwatch from Apple, there are few points I really love about Apple.
## 1. Simplicity
The design, and overall experience can’t be copied by other companies. In iOS, gesture controls are self-explanatory and intuitive.
This includes not only iOS and macOS, but their web pages too. Apple web pages are just astounding. It shows what their products are, and how these products are great for you. It’s simple yet holds all the information you need. On the other hand, Microsoft and Samsung webpages are too bloated and not simple enough, IMO.
## 2. Running smoothly out of box
This is what I really love about Apple. There is little to no need to tweak things. I can turn turn it on and get the things going with Apple devices.
## 3. Powerful ecosystem
This is what only Apple can do, IMO. Sure, Microsoft, Samsung, Google has their own share in their field. But when you see the whole thing, only Apple successfully deliver unified, powerful, and interconnected experience across every device: smartphone, laptop, OS, tablet PC, and smartwatch. Windows and Android has their own strength in their own field, but when it comes to using them all together, Apple really is convenient.
## 4. Aesthetics and unified experience
It’s just beautiful. They really care about the design. What I especially love about Apple is fonts. Their East Asian language support (for Korean and Japanese) is top notch. These default fonts are beautiful. And it’s unified across the whole Apple devices.
I also can expect my iPhone and MacBook work just the same anywhere in the world. I can just bring my iPhone and Apple Watch to Japan and use Suica right away. Apple making a single model to distribute to the whole world (it’s not the same model per se, as they slightly differ due to carrier support, but you get the point), really makes Apple unique. No one can deliver the unified experience across all devices and the whole world better than Apple does, IMO.
## 5. Updates
Apple provides update constantly, and for a long time. Apple also discontinues legacy techs when needed, like discontinuing 32-bit apps. I really appreciate it. I love that Apple can push and implement new technology this aggressive.
Man, the post is much longer than I thought it would be. I think about 2/3 of this post is just me changing phones and laptops lol. I just wanted to share my story of getting into Apple ecosystem, and why I become to love Apple and their products. Thanks for reading!