I could’ve written this myself.
It’s me, your biggest fan, Ben. Technically we have’t met, although I’ve been to your Genius Bar a few dozen times. I also stood outside the Moscone Center eating a burrito during WWDC once, so maybe you saw me then.
Anyway, in case you’re wondering who really I am, I’m that guy who won’t shut up about you, who preaches about you to his friends non-stop, so much so that they swear I work for you (but I don’t). Who meticulously sells off each old Apple device so as to subsidize each new one, losing money every time. I’m the guy who has owned every iPhone, every iPad, every Macbook. Who bought a freaking car just to experiment with CarPlay (and what a bad decision that was). If my complex lifestyle doesn’t fit the minimal design of one of your stock apps, I try rearranging my lifestyle, convinced that there is wisdom in Apple’s simplicity. I’m that rare specimen—or perhaps not so rare anymore—who believes in the marriage of art and science, who has faith in the magic of technology. Oh, and I’ve spent a quarter of a million dollars on Apple products since 2005.
In other words, Apple, I’m not just a fanboy. I am the fanboy. Which is why it kills me to admit that, as of this moment, you are seriously starting to piss me off. I’ll explain why, but before I do, hear me out.
I came to you in my darkest hour. A freshman in college in 2005, my clunky IBM laptop had just been stolen, and I needed a new computer. Rather than buy the same computer again–minus all my photos, software, and journal entries, which were gone forever–I decided to convert this crappy ordeal into a fun learning experience, so I bought a Macbook Pro instead. It was my very first Apple computer, and the first Macbook Pro model you made.
But that Macbook–that sweet, cherubic Macbook–changed everything forever. All of a sudden, there were no error messages, no popups, no annoying warnings or scary alerts. I literally had no idea what to do with all the free time I saved as a result of not fixing things. Occasionally, I’d be using my Apple computer and just burst into spontaneous laughter out of sheer joy at not having to troubleshoot yet another ungodly error. Your customer service was “uh-mazing” said my Mac friends, but I had no way of knowing because I never had a single problem with anything.
At first it was weird: what did all these buttons do, and where were all the other buttons? Also, what the hell was a Finder? But pretty soon, something changed: I fell madly, head-over-heels in love with this machine.
In fact, it was more than that: it was like discovering that I had been in an abusive relationship with Microsoft and PCs for the better part of two decades, and you, Apple, were my salvation. You see, the thing I had always loved about PCs was that whenever something went wrong (which was generally about once every 30 seconds) I knew how to fix it. I was the troubleshooting king. I prided myself on knowing what every error message meant and how to get around it. With enough Googling, the right workaround, and some perspiration, I could solve any PC problem.
In other words, it just worked.
Flash forward to 2015. A decade later, things are still looking promising for Apple. Despite the loss of Steve Jobs, you guys are the most valuable company on earth. Hell, you’re worth twice as much as the next-richest company, Exxon Mobil. iPhones are literally more valuable than oil shooting out of the ground.
But Apple, despite your incredible success, I have noticed an unsettling increase in bullshit that I have to deal with as a user of your products. What first began as a trickle has become a veritable flood. Just yesterday, I counted twenty-two errors across four devices, some of which (according to your support forums) have been known problems for three years.
Twenty-two. That’s way more than zero, which is how many problems I had with my Apple devices as recently as a few years ago.
A lot of this has to do with cloud services. When I bought my first Macbook Pro in 2005, people still did many things offline. We stored music on our hard drives, had Netflix send us movies in the mail (Jesus Christ), and occasionally even bought software at the store. I still remember driving to Best Buy to purchase Microsoft Office like a nincompoop, which for many today is a non-issue. In that environment, Apple was king. You made dynamite software…
But the days of software are waning. Now, the average tech user is probably connected to the Internet 24/7. As a result, cloud services have become far more important than traditional software.
And Apple, let’s be real: you are terrible at the cloud. Even to say that is such a ridiculous understatement that it would be like saying “zombies are mammals.” I mean, yes, they are, but that doesn’t cover the half of it. It seems as if every time I try to use any cloud-related service of yours, whether it’s Siri or the new Photos app or just plain Pages, something goes wrong. Siri has a stroke, Photos hasn’t uploaded the photo I took 10 minutes ago, and Pages can’t save my document to iCloud. Imagine that: not being able to save a fucking document. What is this, the Paleolithic Era?
The saddest part of this is that unlike me, many people have taken forever to switch to Apple, which means they are only just now switching from the error-filled PC world to the error-filled Apple world, and they won’t even notice the difference. They’re prone to abuse by their evil tech overlords. But I know better, and so do others. There was a time when Apple products were unlike anything else on the planet. They were simple, elegant, and they just worked.
Now, they just don’t. Hence the existence of this website, which serves as a testament to all the awful crap Apple users have to deal with nowadays.
For instance! Apple Music is an utter travesty, full of cumbersome UI, cloud syncing issues (surprise), bugs that will eat half your music library, and the list goes on. iTunes on the Mac is a loose and baggy monster full of random crap that no one needs, making it impossible to do the simplest thing such as–gasp–play a song. iMessage is barebones to the extreme and unintuitive to use, with 90% of people I know having no clue how to set it up across multiple devices and email addresses (it’s not hard, but it’s not obvious either). Apple’s Mail app is atrocious on both the iPhone and the Mac, with limited functionality and constant account verification problems. The new Photos app syncs poorly or not at all, and it’s utterly dumb compared to Google’s Photos app, which does magical things like allow you to search for objects and people automatically. Siri is Siri. Apple Maps is cow dung. CarPlay, which I have in my car, is a buggy piece of trash that infuriates me on a daily basis.
Now, Apple, I want to make something clear: I’m very good with computers. Despite all these stupid glitches and questionable product decisions, I make it work. I’m getting better and better at troubleshooting Apple problems and bending finicky products to my will.
But here’s the thing: I shouldn’t have to. That’s the world I left to join you, Apple. That’s the crap I abandoned ten years ago when I decided never to buy another PC. Is that really where we’re at now? Did we really trade Cheech for Chong?