I was a user of NextStep. Not just a user, but a lover. I loved the power of NextStep to create apps. I built Mesa for NextStep… imagine an OS so powerful that a single guy could create a competitive spreadsheet in just 9 months.
NextStep became OS X. I flirted with OS X over the years including a Cube purchased in 2001. But I was not overly impressed with OS X.
In 2011, I bought a MacBook Pro. It was worlds better than any other laptop in terms of hardware quality and features for the price. I came to know OS X and get along with it reasonably well.
I bought an Air later in 2011, then a pile of iPads and finally, a year ago, I bought an iPhone… switching from a Nexus One Android phone to an iPhone.
Apple is not getting better
For me, OS X and iOS have been a mixed bag. Yes, Apple hardware has been generally better.
But Apple software is not always better.
OS X has a slow filesystem. It’s just slow. Even on SSD, it’s slower to delete huge swaths of files (e.g., a rebuild of Lift) than to delete the same files from a Linux box with spinning media.
OS X has lots of problems with memory utilization. 8GB of memory is not enough on a laptop where I’m doing web development.
iOS is weak in terms of mail clients and calendar clients (iOS still doesn’t get time zones correctly which sucks big-time when I travel.)
And Apple seems to be moving towards a sealed device, walled garden approach to software and hardware.
The latest releases of Apple hardware and software have not been inspiring. The iPad 3 is too heavy and warm. But there’s an iPad 4 that’s heavier. Siri is worthless. The maps thing is a huge failure. The latest Retina Macs get the balance just a little wrong (e.g., soldered memory). The latest Java/Oracle spat. No iOS 6 for first generation iPads.
Back to Linux
I recently purchased a new desktop machine. It’s a fast i7 box running Ubuntu.
I am really happy with the way Ubuntu handles software distribution (it’s just a ton easier to load open source onto the Ubuntu box than a Mac.)
Ubuntu has a much faster file system and a lot more choices about file systems and drive management (e.g., LVM).
Most of the software I write is deployed in the cloud on Linux boxes, so it’s better to write on what I’m going to deploy on.
Ubuntu with Unity is an interesting experience.
Android hardware is getting cheaper and better. While I know I’m going to be stranded with any Android device I buy (6 months max for OS upgrades), the same seems to be true of Apple. And the Android devices are cheaper than Apple devices.
So, when it’s time for a new phone, I’ll get an unlocked Nexus and go back to T-Mobile (Verizon service is getting worse and worse… my guess is that they’re moving all their capacity to LTE thus stranding me with wicked slow 3G and increasingly poor audio quality).
Now, if I could only find a laptop that’s as light as an Air, has capacity for 16GB of RAM, and a reasonably high resolution screen (min 1440x900).