Avoid Apple Ecosystem Lock-In

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Avoid Apple Ecosystem Lock-In

Apple’s ecosystem offers a compelling synergy of products and content that work together. Unfortunately, this ecosystem can also lock you in to Apple products. This article explains how to avoid Apple ecosystem lock-in.

Apple has monopolistic tendencies. They also make excellent devices and operating systems. Many Apple fans will blindly purchase anything that Apple releases, ignoring other vendors. This is as ludicrous as wearing jeans, a denim shirt, a denim cap, denim socks and denim underwear. The denim-clad person may sound amusing, but I think someone who blindly buys into every Apple product is just as ridiculous.

Not all Apple products are excellent. iTunes is horrible. Apple Music is the worst music subscription service on the market. Apple TV lags behind its competitors and it costs more too.

A lot of Apple users started with the iPhone. The iPhone is one of the best smartphones on the market. In my opinion, it is the best smartphone available today. Sure, you can look at meaningless specs, tout them as essential, and claim other smartphones are better.

Better screen resolutions are often superfluous because the retina can only perceive a certain level of detail. Processor specs aren’t comparable because some operating systems are more efficient than others. Apps compiled to machine language (iOS) are generally faster than apps that run on interpreted code. Cameras with vast quantities of megapixels often take poor quality photos, because they don’t allow enough light into the sensors. Smartphones with excellent battery life often spontaneously combust, because the lithium-ion cells are too compact.

Apple got it right with the iPhone. It’s a perfect balance of the right functionality, without giving in to gimmicky and useless specs. It’s the only smartphone that offers console-quality gaming. The iPhone’s multimedia creation capabilities are peerless. GarageBand only exists on iOS and there are even better multimedia tools available in the App Store. If you want the best overall smartphone, the iPhone is an excellent choice.

The iPhone’s excellence casts a halo over other Apple products. Customers often assume that because one Apple product is great, every Apple product is just as good. This simply isn’t true. Apple makes some mediocre products. Aside from the iPhone, their innovation has been lagging and they have succumbed to being a “me too” company.

Apple TV 4 is a perfect example. It launched years after other TV appliances offered voice control. Unlike its competitors, it doesn’t support 4K UHD resolution. It also costs more than other superior TV appliances. I begrudgingly purchased an Apple TV 4 knowing these facts, because I am locked in to the Apple ecosystem. I own a few hundred dollars worth of iTunes movies and TV shows. These can only be played on Apple devices. That’s how they get you. Now let’s take a look at how to avoid Apple ecosystem lock-in.

Don’t Buy iTunes Movies and TV Shows

Unlike iTunes music, movies and TV shows purchased from Apple cannot be played on other devices, with the exception of a Windows PC running iTunes. Apple is pretty much the only corporation that does this. Competitors such as Amazon and Google allow video purchases to be played on different devices. If I own TV shows and movies from either Google or Amazon, I can play them on my Apple TV using AirPlay. They can be played on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Roku TV appliances can play Amazon and Google movies and TV shows natively.

iTunes movies and TV shows tend to be more expensive than other options. I recommend shopping around for the best deal. All of these services offer HD video with surround sound. In fact, since Amazon and Google do a much better job of running their data centers, you’ll encounter fewer frustrations if you avoid the iTunes Store. (continue…)

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