After updating my first generation iPad to iOS 5 I was really excited about the new features just to be disappointed once more. To use all the features and get the full user experience I needed to set-up my iCloud. So I was starting the upgrade process to convert my MobileMe account to iCloud until a screen appeared informing me that some features will be discontinued with the introduction of iCloud.
Having been a loyal paying MobileMe user for quite some years I strongly rely on its syncing features that keep my iMac, MacBook Air, iPad and iPhone in sync. So no more key chain syncing, keeping mail accounts (yes, i DO use other mail accounts than me.com) in sync across all devices. Same for dashboard widgets, dock objects, mail rules and signatures as well as settings and third party applications. Especially Transmit from Panic did a great job syncing all my FTP accounts across my multiple Macs.
After being disappointed and annoyed for a while I still wanted to give iCloud a try and continued the upgrade process just to find out that my iPhone 3G, iMac and MacBook Air are NOT compatible with iCloud since they are not running the latest and supposedly greatest operating systems. Clearly I knew that my iPhone 3G won't upgrade to iOS 5 since even iOS 4 made it so freakin' slow that it was not usable at all - leaving me with the only option to downgrade back to 3.1.3 (or buy an iPhone 4) - which by the way was a rather involved process and no simple user-friendly function that Apple is always so proud of.
Okay, so my iPhone 3G is being left behind. But what about my second-newest generation iMac and MacBook Air? Why can't they use iCloud? Because they don't run OS X Lion - which was released just 3 (!) months ago. Are you kidding me?! Why would I upgrade to a system that makes my notebook slower, sucks more battery life (according to many user voices on the official Mac App store) and - in my opinion - hasn't anything great to offer other than the "Resume" feature? I generally don't think it's a good idea to upgrade to a new OS immediately but rather wait until all the teething troubles are taken care of. So clearly Apple pushes its users to pay for upgrades in hardware and software - otherwise they are being left out.
Even more disappointed I cancelled the entire upgrade process and started to think about the many things that Apple annoyed me with recently. Here's my "Top 10" in random order:
- Apple is pushing me to upgrade my operating system on all devices to use iCloud – without any technical reason
- According to developers Apple is pushing them strongly to develop applications for Lion and iOS 5 (only) – many users with older OS's are being left out way too early
- Older devices getting awfully slow on newer operating systems – just run an iPhone 3G on iOS 4 and you want to pull your hair
- Lack of support for newer technology on older devices even though there's no technical reason for that - e.g. no multi-touch on iPad first generation, no Siri on iPhone 4 or iPad 2 (though that has an A5 chip on board)
- Unattractive hardware on older devices – Apple downgraded iPhone 4's capacity to 8GB
- Unattractive pricing for old generation devices – the iPhone 4 is just 60€ cheaper than the iPhone 4S (if you compare the discontinued 16GB models) or 110€ for the iPhone 4 with only 8GB capacity
- Exorbitant inconsistent pricing for memory upgrades – iPhone 4S: +110€ from 16GB to 32GB (+16GB), +110€ from 32GB to 64GB (+32GB) compare to iPod touch: +100€ from 8GB to 32GB (+24GB), +100€ from 32GB to 64GB (+32GB)
- No support of universal interfaces and technologies such as a MicroSD slot in iPhones to extend their capacity or Blu-ray drives in MacBook Pro's.
- Apple's close system and restrictiveness in application development and pricing models – though Apple is making lots of money off third-party apps, music and subscriptions by cutting the profit of developers by 30% (quite a deal for a distribution platform provider)
- Saddest finding of all... Apple doesn't listen to their users anymore. It's all about their new business model, the money, the greediness and predominance in the market. Very sad.
So will I go the Apple store and pick-up a brand new iPhone 4S today and upgrade my Macs to Lion? I really don't know. Though I am still very happy with my Apple products I am sick of being forced, restricted and pushed to constantly upgrade in such a fast pace. Especially since Apple's competitors are catching up and releasing great products for less money. If I had asked that questions a few years ago I wouldn't be hesitating one second. But I think I emancipated from my commitment to Apple reviewing more closely what their products have to offer and what other products might do even better.