As I read Ben Thompson’s note about Apple’s China Problem, this line really stuck out:

Naturally, WeChat works the same on iOS as it does on Android. That, by extension, means that for the day-to-day lives of Chinese there is no penalty to switching away from an iPhone. Unsurprisingly, in stark contrast to the rest of the world, according to a report earlier this year only 50% of iPhone users bought another iPhone in 2016

I grapple with a challenging mental dilemma which is to accept the fact that switching between Android and iOS YoY can be so easy or in the fact that Ben and others are wrong. The numbers don’t lie though. I read iOS user’s claims that a new Samsung phone is way better than the last iPhone and a lot of them switch only to return to Apple a year or two later. WTF?

I grew up as a Mac User / Apple Fanboy. I still consider myself a fanboy. 20 years ago, Mac Users were the misfits who made an unpopular choice among friends and colleagues to buy Apple products. They were forced to use Microsoft Software instead of ClarisWorks because they needed office compatibility. Some even ran virtual Windows environments to get by and we resorted to never filing an IT support ticket knowing leadership would just tell us to switch to a PC. Mac Users would buy iPods, iPhones and Apple Wireless Access Points but at the core, it was the Mac. over the years, Apple had iPhone & Mac Users as two different groups. I understand this clearly because some people don’t need a desktop PC. An iPhone is all they need. 

This strange thing to me is that there are people who are Apple customers this year and suddenly not a year later. This goes against my understanding of Apple’s ecosystem. 

Are these users buying a MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad, Apple Time Capsule (argument is more moot after 2016), Apple external display, a Brenthaven bag, Apple Leather Case, AirPods and an iCloud Subscription along with thousands of dollars in software just to switch to Windows / Samsung a year later?

Well, no, that’s fiscally irresponsible. Very few people can afford to do that. Those that can financially afford it likely don’t have the time to shift their habits in such a huge way from one year to the next.

A common theme on this blog is the mainstream nature of computing these days and the silo that is our modern web. Google and Facebook own 95% of the eye-balls and everyone else will fight over the rest or join those two behemoths. This is the case with advertisers, publishers, content creators and merchants. Amazon has held out strongly but it’s probably because Facebook and Google have yet to make an effort in online retail. It would take a very long time to eat away at what Amazon has done.

Back to Apple, I believe that the cross-platform nature of free applications that allow you to watch what other people are doing with their lives has made Apple more of a commodity for many people. Not all and there is brand-loyalty but it really seems that year after year, users can switch iOS to Android without many issues. Apple even has their Apple Music product on Android allowing a user to still remain in Apple’s ecosystem with a Beats pair of headphones and Apple Music on a competitor device. 

I don’t have anything profound to add here other than it shows to me that the time of Apple Fanboys are over. Buying everything Apple makes and making annual pilgrimages to Macworld or Cupertino is not done anymore. I don’t think the consumers care about design and ecosystem enough to have any sort of brand loyalty. Note, I really don’t have any business knowledge or follow closely enough to look at things in a more informed way. This is more of an emotional “why aren’t things the way they were?” sort of post. Truthfully, most people buy a computing device, install a web browser and 10 applications (all free and ad-supported) and use that device until the next one comes out and then they upgrade. 

Facebook, Instagram, Google Docs, YouTube and SnapChat. That’s the core of computing now and it’s not OS dependent. It’s challenging for me because Apple’s Ecosystem is so amazing. I wish more people saw the light. 

I’ll leave an excerpt from Macintosh…the naked truth, a book that I’m so happy was written. It acts as a time capsule for fanboys on how things used to be: Buy on Amazon, Full-Text on Archive.org

Once you buy a Mac, your life will undergo a major change. It’s 

a good change, an amazing change, and once you’ve used a Mac for 

just a few months, I promise you, you’ll wonder how in the world 

Microsoft has been able to dupe otherwise good people into not 

only using Windows, but thinking it’s as good as or (God help 

them) better than a Mac. So part of the “Naked Truth” about 

Macintosh is that although using a Macintosh is fun, easy, and 

incredibly fulfilling (well, as fulfilling as an inanimate object can 

be), being a Mac user can be frustrating, irritating, and even 

sometimes embarrassing and humiliating. That’s why I feel it’s 

important that you get the straight scoop on what it’s like to be a 

Mac user from the start, what you’re going to run into, and how to 

deal with it. 


What youll run into: 


As a Mac user, expect to become somewhat of a social outcast. 


For example, you’ll be at a party, chatting with some people you 

just met, and when the conversation turns to RAM and high-speed 

Internet access (it always does, by the way), it’s going to come 

out that you’re a Mac user. Oh, you can try to hide it for a while, 

but they’ll break you — ^believe me, these people can smell fear. 


One of their classic tactics is to start asking questions about 

video cards. As soon as someone brings up video cards and asks 

which one you like the best — BAM — ^you’re busted. Macs have a 

great video card built-in, and unless you’re doing some high-end 

Digital Video work, as a Mac user, you’ll probably never buy a new 

video card. On the other hand, PC users apparently hate their video 

cards and they swap out video cards like we empty the trash — once 

a week whether it needs it or not.