#378 - Apple Ecosystem

6 minute read

Last November I bought an iPhone. I spent much of the previous 10 months adapting to both it and the Apple ecosystem. If you had my browsing history (say, from my Google Takeout) you could find, separated by only a couple of days, search results for “trade an iPhone XS for a OnePlus 7 Pro” and “iPhone 2019 rumors”. If you were to plot out my attitude on this Apple experiment, you’d probably see I have been mostly in the camp of “man I regret this”. I have hated how the iPhone behaves while driving. I hated how Siri doesn’t integrate with services I use. I hated how my time tracking app has to say “you used your phone for 3 hours, but I have no idea doing what because Apple won’t let me”. I hate how it doesn’t integrate with stuff I have used for a long time now.

This leads me to my current situation. Like most of what I’m getting at here today, my current situation something I’ve written about before (twice): Mixed ecosystems. I believe the worst user experience is one in which you are trying to sync your Google Contacts with Microsoft Outlook running on your Apple MacBook… and yet, I woke up a week ago realizing: I have my finger in every possible pie.

Crap I Own


  • iPhone
  • Handmedown iPad
  • Handmedown Apple Watch
  • Handmedown MacBook (as of a week ago)


  • Google Home(s)
  • Chromecast(s)
  • Chromebook laptop, running ChromeOS
  • That same Chromebook also runs Android


  • That same Chromebook also runs Linux


  • Windows 10 Desktop PC


  • Alexa

“Digital Minimalism” my butt.

I’m that guy I wrote about.

I’m a walking realization of the tedium of managing to different standards. Most everything I don’t like about the iPhone is as a result of me not using it the way it’s meant to be used.

So what are you trying to say?

I’m going all-in on Apple

I said “I’ve thought it would happen at some point”. I think it’s happening. I’ve written (several times) about my growing disdain for Google. They have meandered around too much. They start something that I get really excited about, then they’ve wandered away from it. Shame on them. Then they did it again. Shame on me.
Then they did it again. Shame on me.
Then they did it again. Shame on me.

I’m getting older. I don’t want to keep changing everything because the basket in which I put my eggs was left behind by the manufacturer. My technological partner has dissociative identity disorder. While it’s true they sometimes put out some really incredibly stuff… I’m getting to the point where just want old dependable. Google isn’t interested in putting out a video editing suite. They aren’t going to make a Chromebook that I can truly do everything I want to do

Those grievances I opened the Column with were obvious, blatant things. They culminated in several boiling points, which were incredibly visible… but I have come to appreciate some subtler things about my phone, the Apple ecosystem, and Apple in general.

I have written about the pros and cons of the iPhone before, so I will be retreading some ground here and for that I apologize. For the sake of completeness, here: (skip this if you like)

Things I love about the iPhone

  1. This phone does not die. My android phone was constantly tethered to the wall. Some of it has to do with age, but even after accounting for age, no android phone I’ve ever owned has ever come close to matching what this phone does day in and day out. This makes me look at my phone more like a useful tool and less like a baby needing constant care.
  2. I reap the benefits of this phone be the de facto standard of phones. All accessories, rental cars, and anything else I might need is guaranteed to work flawlessly with this phone.
  3. It’s nice that I can now work anybody else’s iPhone and that Melissa doesn’t have to figure out how to work my phone’s OS.
  4. Videos look incredible. Live Photos are super helpful at compensating for blinks and just-barely-mistimed pictures.
  5. This phone will retain relevance and speed for the next several years. It will continue to be considered in the greater ecosystem for the foreseeable future. No feature from this phone will become unusable as it gets depreciation. The apps on this phone will continue to exist and be at least as useful as they are today. If I commit to iMessage now, it will continue to work and be a centerpiece of the ecosystem for the next 5+ years. I have no faith Google apps will stick around and be developed for. Apple Health won’t slowly transition into the glorified pedometer app that Google Fit became.
  6. It works. It’s bugged out maybe twice in the 10 months I’ve been using it. Apps don’t crash. The phone doesn’t hang. It doesn’t randomly reboot itself.

Most of what I complained about in Column #358 (yet another time I talked about this) boiled down to “my iPhone is more difficult to use in the car”. Most of that vitriol went away when I rented a car that had CarPlay and I realized how delightful the experience was. Yes, it sucks that my vehicles are both too old for Apple - but I know that’s a situation with an end in sight. Same goes for my preference of USB C over the Lightning Connector. Just wait. Lightning connector is going away (next year, most likely).

So that leaves me with relatively few complaints about the iPhone. Meanwhile, I’m writing this Column from a 2013 MacBook Air. It runs like a champ. I installed a great code editor on it. It can run Garage Band. It can run iMovie. If I wanted to, it could run Plex and Handbrake and all the other stuff I use my Windows Desktop to do. I plotted out everything I want my tech to be able to do for me, and only one company has everything under the same roof. That company also happens to make some of the best hardware there is. So… I’m in.

The next iPhone announcement happens on Wednesday. I’m going to be watching. How about that.

Top 5: Things Aaron Stresses (This is a guest Top 5 written unknowingly by Danielle)

  1. Baseball blows
  2. Life quantification
  3. Dad jokes
  5. Flight Plan is the literal worst


It’s hilarious how they label things in some of our medical pictures. “anus.” oh, good. i wasn’t sure if that was a butthole or another random orifice where the butthole normally is.
- Josh

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
- Peter Drucker - this is one of my favorite quotes