Apple is a Toy Company

A few weeks ago I took Lenovo Carbon X1 into use with Windows 64 Pro. There’s no turning back. After fifteen years of using Apple products starting and ending from a Mac laptop my dependency with that company’s products is over for good.

I bet many other so called pro or power users have come along a similar journey so here’s mine. I’m 42 and belong to the group of users who have coded as a kid and used computers all my life for work and fun. From 1980s home computers to modern PCs and all kind of gadgets in between.

The first Apple product I bought must have been the original iPod back in 2001 or that time frame. I started following Apple and considered OS X a winning concept on paper. Unix basis with all the needed desktop apps in a visually nice looking package. Most users were stuck with their PCs and Windows systems which I felt didn’t develop anymore after Windows 2000. Linux sounded great but was not an option for desktop.

The first colleague demoed me his Powerbook (Macbook’s name at the time) back in 2003 and I was sold. After long consideration I went with 12″ Powerlook and never looked back. It was a top notch hardware with the best OS available that just delivered. A no brainer. Apple was on an accelerating road to renaissance in the tech industry and it felt great to be in the forefront.

More Apple hardware and devices followed. I got the Airport Express when it came out and connected my speakers wirelessly over Wifi. This is innovation. New stuff. I got more Apple stuff. Couple more Airports including Airport Extreme where I plugged a harddrive and had a minimal NAS set-up. Another innovation delivered. Then came the big thing. I was among the first wave of guys buying iPhone back when it was released in 2007. Apple stores had still no lines at that time. It needed to be hacked so I could install European SIM card. When it was all set-up it was huge. Groundbreaking innovation right there. Delivered.

Laptops followed after another with 2-3 year cycle. I got a couple of 15″ inches and after that settled with the 13″ line. I had also Apple’s Cinema display from the first version, which I also updated a few times up until the 27″ model. At some point, I think this was in 2011 or so, we had as a secondary home computer an iMac 27″. And of course I had iPod minis and then shuffles’ for running. And yes, the very first iPad as well for kids. It was just great. I was all-in for Apple.

I speculated with many friends at the time who started to gear towards Apple too that every company, ecosystem and platform in the tech business must come down at some point. When would be Apple’s time? It didn’t seem to happen anytime soon though I noticed I got less and less thrilled with each new Apple product update. And somehow it looked like after iPad there was nothing new coming. Just more of the same.

Looking back Apple’s peak in my life came and went without me even properly noticing it. Somehow the peak coincided Steve Jobs’ passing away and the time the company dropped Computer from its name. I got eventually bored with Apple. iPhone4 was my last iPhone from where I switched to Android in 2013. It felt like the innovation platform of the future. I had sold the iMac and Cinema displays already in late 2011 and switched to first DELL and now to LG and ASUS screens. They had more connectors and just overall better features for better money. IPod shuffles broke down and I didn’t get new ones. Now I have a TomTom sports watch which can also play music. The kids used up the iPad and I had cheaper Android tablets to spare. Airport products I switched to Zyxel and ASUS stuff again because they just delivered more.

Why did all this happen?

Back in the day, and we are talking now about 15 years ago, Apple was in the forefront of computers. The company was first and foremost a computer manufacturer. Apple made servers, workstations, laptops and peripherals like screens. iPod was the first new category defining radical device innovation. It delivered on top of Apple’s strengths which were great software & hardware in a nicely designed package. More followed: routers, phones and tablets.

Today Apple is all about highly priced phones, watches and other gadgets sold in masses to middle class families worldwide. Macs and pro users have become a side story. The product categories have shrank based on what sells to the masses. To me Apple looks like a new Mattel or Lego. It is a Toy Company. Delivering modern mediocrity and consumer statistics.

Electric Cars in Shenzhen

My Tesla Model S

I am and have always been a car guy so how to put this thing into words? Let’s try a few combinations:
— The biggest revolution in cars during my lifetime
— The best car I have ever driven
— An insanely great car

I’ve had my Tesla Model S now for a few days and 300+ kms. It is the first car I have ever acquired new. It has pretty much all the options except performance and top end audio packages to keep the delivery time minimal and costs comparably reasonable. Thanks go to Miika at Auto Outlet to get this metallic red colored magical space car in a month from his reserve lot.

It all started when I realized a month or so back I can sell my trusted but ageing and pretty thirsty workhorse Porsche Cayenne in August. I know ordering a new popular car model will always take several months. So I went out and test drove all the latest BMW, Audi and Mercedes family wagons and SUVs. The cars I can see every morning and afternoon parked in the front of the upper middle class homes on our home street. The cars I’ve often rented during my trips to Germany. Boring. Just boring. BMW 5 series. BMW X5. Audi A6. Mercedes Shooting Brake. Well, Benz has a good name badge in there. I even test drove the new S. But said to Szaka during the test spin something like: “Well, this is nice. But it’s just another car.” I was not hyped. Because it really felt like that. Even Mercedes S class is just another car. No surprises anywhere. It is what you can expect.

While comparing these tested and tried options it just hit me I have totally forgotten one big thing. The brand name I always saw when driving on 880 in the Bay Area. For sure I had seen some of those early two seating Roadsters go fast and wondered who are the guys driving them. And I was aware Model S was in the pipeline, but it had a lot of issues before getting to the market. We had already moved back to Finland before they delivered. A quick update one night and the next morning I first went to Sports Car Center close by who advertised Tesla along with Auto Outlet. Turns out Sports had imported so far none and just copied the competition’s ads. One call, 15 minutes tense driving, and I meet with Miika. Right after kicking it down I just utter out something like “Wow. Okay, this is it, why don’t we just go back and do the paperwork.” This is how I bought my first new car. Less than 24 hours from the discovery it does exist to signing it home.

What is so amazing and revolutionary about this car it completed trashed my little kid “lists” of cars I’d like to own before I die. I have these lists written in my childhood, teens, 20s, early 30s consisting of the usual Ferrari Testarossas, Lamborghini Countachs, Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Corvettes and Porsche 911 Turbos I need to have in my garage one day. What has just happened is those lists kinda lost their relevance. Or at least I see them completely differently. I see those cars with engines that explode, with trannies full of greasy, moving parts, with spark plugs, gas tanks, regular maintenance and so forth as something like… A CRT at the time of LCD. A modem at the time of always on broadband. A landline at the time of mobile. You just don’t want to own a CRT, modem or landline anymore. The change Tesla brought with it is just huge, big, disruptive. Having Tesla today is kinda like having iPhone in 2007. It just kicks in and tells you this is what all cars must be like. Never in the car market have I seen or felt anything similar before. Ever.

Btw, hybrids are a really stinking, bad joke. I’ve always kinda known it and now I can finally argue it. Just give any ugly, slow, boring Prius owner a Tesla for a quick drive.

There’s an interesting political angle to Tesla as well. Right now the Finnish government gives you a 500 EUR per month credit for any new company lease under this program. I want to show this car to everyone interested. My message: when was the last time you had really fun in test driving a new car? Let’s face it. Getting a new Tesla is a no brainer. Period.

Did Android win the mobile platform war?

I am not fully sure anymore Android is the ultimate platform war winner. True, Apple is getting boring and Nokia left Microsoft alone with Windows. All the interesting stuff happens in the open Android world where you have huge growth and everything starts looking like the new normal. However, there are strange things ongoing like Google rebranding the whole thing without asking key partners and users apparently anything. Would you like to have a Samsung KitKat phone? This is how Google operates. My take is that there’s still room for a contender, which “does no evil.” Something like Google’s search engine used to be before it sold out.