iPhones and MacBooks are beautiful pieces of hardware that you can ‘rent’ from Apple & that’s about it.
Why did I specifically use the word ‘rent’?
The only thing you ever ‘buy’ from Apple is their marketing
Apple devices - natively run their proprietary operating systems. iOS, iPadOS, WatchOS & MacOS. They make is either difficult or impossible to sideload apps (iOS) / run your own OS on the phone - you seemingly ‘paid for’. Apple doesn’t natively make it easy for regular users to run custom operating systems on their new ARM based MacBooks either.
Before you complain - obviously no one is forcing you buy their stuff and it is under your own free will - that you pay Apple and rent their products as long as Apple happy. You - sign up to their ToS to use their OS and they, dictate the restrictions on their own OS. These are just simple facts.
What bothers me is how people voluntarily buy Apple products continue using thier proprietary OSs and then complain about it and repeat this cycle.
On MacBooks you can improve your freedom and privacy by running free software (GNU/Linux) OSs and programs on your own. iOS / iPad OS is a completely locked down ecosystem. People should never buy iPhones and claim they own them, that’s what I’m trying to say. People complain about the AppStore and how they can’t get xyz at a cheaper rate. That’s what you literally agreed to when buying their marketing and ToS.
Developers & Apps
I don’t want to waste the time I spent learning - Swift just to get kicked from the AppStore - because Apple was a bully. I wouldn’t take this path.
Apple once claimed to natively support WebApps running in HTML and web technologies side by side with the AppStore.
Today Google and Samsung are in that path, collaborating in a project called ‘Fugu’ to replicate native level performance and APIs to replace desktop apps with web based ones that even work offline. I am supportive of this idea, for the sake of cross device freedom and an easier workflow. But I’m concerned with Google’s take on the decision making. Currently no major player is building competing level tech to take on Google. Mozilla also just announced they’d drop PWA support for the desktop.
As a company I’d rather educate my customers / users on Apple’s hostility and closed ecosystem. Trust me, if you’re from India, most small developers or even government apps don’t bother with the 3% iOS marketshare in India. It’s only like saturated markets like the US or UK that native iOS apps are a huge deal.
Why I won’t use Apple
1. Blind trust
I don’t know how trusting a proprietary OS will ever make it better and more ‘secure’ than an open sourced ecosystem. Sure, they might be designed to have certain sandboxing, on device encryption protocols, and other iOS exclusive stuff. But without someone else to peer review you’re blindly trusting them to keep their word. This is a huge trust factor, when it comes to personal computers - they hold a lot of sesitive data. One 0 day vulnerability at any point of time can make you vulnerable, if your device isn’t updated. Apple can turn this off and on at any time they please.
2. Auto-updates - the universal backdoor
Let’s assume there isn’t a backdoor or a vulnerabilty present on your device right now. With auto-updates there’s nothing stopping them from shipping a vulnerability or extract your files & data with new code embedded into the OS as a hidden service. The possibilites are endless. Once the damage is done, there’s no going back, on your side. Remember? you afree to the ToS and you probably will lose a court case against them.
3. Surrendering your user freedom
This is sort of building on the first point. Even if you get access to the source code, the developer needs to guarantee your freedom to allow you to freely read, distribute and basically have ‘ownership’ of your software after you buy it from them. Think of it like a car. The car will stop working exactly after 5 years and force you to buy a new car. After 4 years the engine will get locked down to 50KM/h unless you extend your subscription.
On plain Android you get APKs and I suggest you should install the F-Droid store. As an app developer I would go with the PWA path or start my own F-Droid repository to host my apps. Plus, with Android 12, Google is making it easier for 3rd party app stores to integrate with the OS. I would never deploy my personal apps to the Google Play store. On the GNU/Linux side I can do the same thing with Flatpak repositories. It’s a simple concept and it works if the marketing is done right, something where Apple excels.
4. Irresponsible and unethical spending.
The money I spend on Apple is again spent on making a more closed, and a hostile ecosystem, plus making this - the ‘status quo’ for all Apple users. Let’s agree, iPhones come at a cost - hypothetically if everyone were rich and had $1000 to freely spend on a gadget. I’d rather spend $1000 USD on a device that I can solely ‘own’ and which contributes to a freedom respecting ecosystem like the Librem Laptops or ones from System76 or whatever else which can run libre operating systems.
Apple is also against your right to repair your own devices and lock up phones that are repaired outside of Apple’s service centers.
I’d rather spend 1000USD on a home server / faster long living tech like SSDs, upgrading batteries and repairs than buying a new computer every few years. Spending more than 200 USD on a phone to me is weird. I would rather spend 500USD on a ThinkPad with a good keyboard. Or on a hypothetical and powerful Librem Phone which can fit in my pocket and can plug into a monitor to serve as my native, desktop computer to replace that thinkpad.
The obvious exceptiton
Obviously, I am open to ‘review’, ‘hack on’ and ‘experiment’ with their shiny new ‘proprietary ecosystems’ - should someone choose to lend me their device. But I will never ‘buy’ an iPhone or MacBook just to rent it from Apple. In the worst case I would accept a gifted / donated 2nd hand MacBook and run GNU/Linux on it.
This applies to all the ecosystems, like ChromeOS, Windows, Netflix, Amazon, DRM and Google Play (Android)
But Apple’s tight-knit ecosytem is the biggest & most succesful in marketing and fooling ‘people’ into thinking they bought their iPhone & own it forever. Where in reality, you pay for the phone and they own your phone via it’s software.