It just works

Chris Wiegman writes,

Back in 2017 I couldn’t get away from Apple products fast enough. My 2016 MacBook Pro was, to put it mildly, garbage. My iPhone 7 was, OK, but that’s about the best I could say about it. Across the board Apple’s products could be best described as nothing special, even though they still had a very premium price.

For the most part I really liked what I replaced Apple with too. It took a while to get out of the Google ecosystem but, when I did, I found I actually really enjoyed working with Linux and Android for my daily drivers. I still enjoy Linux and Android, but what I like to use myself isn’t always compatible with the people I need to work with. I started coming back to Apple early last year and finished the move back last fall when I bought a new Mac.

I had a similar story. I was a big Android fan for 7 years until 2019, when I woke up one morning and noticed my partner’s new iPhone had sat unplugged overnight and lost 0% of its battery, while my Pixel 3 lost 20% of its battery overnight.

That’s when I gave up and bought an iPhone 11, and it’s been rock-solid for the last 3 years. It’s lasted 2 years longer and has had far less issues than any of the many Android phones I’ve had.

Fed up with constantly fixing Linux and Windows issues, I bought a Mac mini in 2020, and then recently traded it in for a MacBook Pro. My Macs haven’t been 100% issue-free, the Mac mini struggled to run 4k monitors and my brand new MacBook Pro’s left fan sounds like it has a loose bearing. Using a third-party mouse needs experimentation with a bunch of third-party apps to get smooth scrolling and working back/forward buttons, and macOS WindowServer will consume the CPU if you hook up a mouse with a 1000hz polling rate.

But macOS doesn’t get in my way or distract me when I’m trying to get actual work done. No sneaky reboots for updates. I don’t have to tinker with a thousand settings spread across multiple control panels, and in many ways I can’t tinker with things, which I view as a strength for a reliable work machine. A few years ago I would have scoffed at a locked-down environment, just as some readers may be doing now. But I’ve found it crucial to getting my work done. Most things do “just work”.

Although I don’t game much these days, I bought an Xbox last year and was amazed at how easy everything is compared to my gaming PC. Games install silently. There’s no need to configure a hundred different graphics settings to get good performance, and most games only have a toggle between maximum FPS and maximum quality. No nagging software updates and 5 different game launchers from different publishers. No graphics driver updates. All I have to do to play games is sit down and press a button on the controller. Everything “just works”.

I still like and use Linux for things, like servers and my backup laptop. And I encourage people to find things that work well for them. No one tool will ever fill all needs. Removing frustrations can introduce new frustrations.

I’ve found what works for me, at this point in time. It won’t be the same situation in the future, I’m sure.