Why I’m Quitting Apple – Specifically iPhones

To start, I’ve always been an Apple fan – more than that really, an Apple evangelist, when it comes to technology, unified hardware/software platform, design aesthetics, mobile app security and so on.

Back in 2007, I bought the original iPhone 1 even though there was not even 3G service in my region (rural KY). Finally it came. Over the years I bought the iPhone 3G, 4, 4s, 5s and now am still using an iPhone 6s because my contract ends in February. I also had the original iPad 1, original iPad Mini and now have a iPad Mini 2 that serves my purposes.

But come time to buy another phone, it will NOT be an iPhone… Here’s one of the numerous reasons why, starting at the latest and are two major ones that have made it hard to explain to people why I like(d) Apple.

The Fire

The other day a clients, and good friend of mine, house burnt down. It was a complete loss, his phone, laptop and everything else he owned was completely destroyed, he basically had the few clothes on his back and his vehicle.

Being a small business owner, he went to his cellular carrier and bought a new iPhone 8 as soon as he could. He lives in a very rural area and didn’t even really need WiFi at home, so when I saw him at the local tap room, he would almost religiously backup his iPhone to the iCloud ever since the Android he had prior was stolen and he wasn’t able to retrieve all his data remotely.

I had actually recommended him get an iPhone as a replacement to it because I’ve restored to new devices for years and never had any troubles.

So it’s now after his life was turned upside down and everything is lost and one little additional thing happens to him. He forgets his iCloud password… No big deal, just got to the iForgot page. I meet up with him, start through the process, he remembered the iCloud account User ID so we enter that, his phone number, partially obscured (***-***-**95) is displayed and we enter the full number, it’s the “Trusted Number” on his Apple ID. A text message is received from Apple and is entered correctly, but since the new iPhone be bought is not the original “Trusted Device” on his account, it will not allow him to reset the password.

So it suggests “Account Recovery”… Account Recovery asks him no additional information such as his security questions or CC information verification and immediately states it is going to take 12 days to recover…

12 days? Really? So your house burns down, just suck it up and take a 12 day vacation from business and wait for Apple to get around to helping you.

So I read around Apple forums where it says additional information may be required and he was ready to give, but it couldn’t be done online… So I called Apple Support with him, we explained the situation and the rep stated, unequivocally, that there was nothing that could be done and that “12 days wasn’t so bad, some people have to wait up to a month”… We reiterated the complete loss he experienced in the fire and the rep said there was nothing he could do.

I don’t blame the rep, I blame Apple.

  • I understand the need for security, but when my friend can’t even immediately provide the additional information needed (online or via a rep), that is unacceptable.
  • His new iPhone should have automatically became the new “Trusted Device” on his Apple ID since both the ID and the phone are connected to his phone number through the carrier that is a direct partner of the Apple Corporation. This is the most obvious, simple and secure way in my opinion.
  • Granted, my friend probably didn’t update his iCloud since the last round of security precautions were put in place, but Apple should have either a) Forced him to via on phone messages, where he would’ve contacted me or b) allowed him to recover with the lesser security on his account since he established it.

It seems that in the process of studying all use cases, implementing them and making the iCloud accounts the most “secure”, Apple forgot that sometimes the information needed to do so was never entered into someones iCloud account, hence them should have “forcing” the user to update the information.

To finish up this particular issue, 12 days is way too long, not having ANY way to expedite the process is unacceptable, especially when Apple users place virtually their entire lives, which Apple encourages, onto their device. In my friends case, the iPhone was his only Apple device and if my suggestions are taken, will be his last.

Older iDevices

Another friend of mine received an older iPad that still had her iCloud account connected to it. She also forgot her password and since it was an older account, it didn’t have all the information Apple *currently* requires to reset the password, therefore that account could not be removed, older apps connected to that account could not be updated, etc. So she decided to wipe it, being an older iOS version, it allowed her to wipe it, but when it came back to the setup process an “iCloud Activation Lock” was put in place and, basically, could not be removed.

The entire iPad become worthless and bricked and since it was bought used, she could not provide the original proof of purchase Apple required. I did my best to “hack” my way in, find a way to install another OS or something to make the device usable again, but Apple locks even their hardware down so much, none of that was possible.

Not having infinite time or money to pursue it, I gave up helping that person. I apologized for Apple being how they are to both of the people mentioned and will no longer recommend Apple devices to any of my clients, friends or family ever again if asked.


Apple isn’t perfect, Android isn’t perfect, nothing is really, but I personally feel much better having my devices intimately connected with my GMail account (GSuite), that I use every day, than with an iCloud account that I don’t and is completely based on Apple’s methods. At least Google offers secure and smaller waiting period to recover accounts. Even though I have friends horror stories of account recovery with Google, I know myself or my clients I manage will never have that issue.

So what am I getting next? Most likely a Google Nexus 5X or 6P that is directly integrated with the GSuite account, the same GSuite account connected even to the Google Chromebook I’m typing this message on at this very moment.

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The new Apple iPhone 5S

compare_iphone5sI finally upgraded my iPhone from the 4S to the 5S. Overall it looks like the 5, but the new features are pretty cool and from hearing about bad battery life from my friends on the 5, it most likely has been increased as well. It is definitely better than my 4S’ battery life.

So far, I’ve mostly played around with the camera. It is substantially better than previous ones and has much better low light capabilities. Video is now 1080, but doesn’t benefit much from the low-light lens. Here is a video I took of my friend’s cat. I slow-motioned it at the point the kitty dives off the counter chasing a laser.

Compared to previous iPhones, it also seems quite a bit more responsive. The new TouchID is awesome, but I found that if you work your hands and get minor cuts or abrasions, the sensor can have a hard time distinguishing your prints on those fingers. Also after washing dishes, it had a hard time probably due to “granny” fingers from the water.

I would recommend this phone as a good upgrade if you’re out of contract or on a 4S or below. 5 users may want to wait for the next iteration if they are happy with their current phone.

New Verizon Android Phone: Samsung Fascinate

Over the years, I have always swung back and forth between Microsoft, Apple, Linux, etc.   I get into Open Source moods, then realize there’s something I need on one the more ‘closed’ platforms of Microsoft or Apple and lean back towards those.  Because of that, I currently have machines running all three major OSes.  A PC Desktop running Windows 7, a Mac Mini (Intel) running the latest Mac OS X and my old Desktop running Linux (Ubuntu 10.04).

I’m sort of the same way with other devices, for phones and PDAs, I’ve used Palm (legacy and WebOS), Windows Mobile, Apple iOS (v. Original-4.x), Symbian, etc. But I had never taken the plunge into the newer Android OS.  Perhaps I figured it wasn’t as stable or mature as iOS and some of the others that have been around for a while.

This past week, my wife lost her phone, so she met me at the Verizon store on her way home.  I was there about 20 minutes earlier, so I was admiring the new Droid X, HTCs and the Samsung Fascinate.  When she arrived, I suggested that we try the Fascinate since there was a “buy one get one free” special, we’d get rid of the MiFi 2200 since they have the WiFi Hotspot feature for only $20/mo more, and we’d come out a bit ahead.  We were both Upgrade Eligible, so I did everything I could to sell her on it.

Now my wife is NOT really a techy person and since she already used her iPod touch as a PDA, I didn’t think she’d go for it, but she did.  I was amazed.   Now I’m the happy owner of a new Android phone.

My first impressions are good, it’s fast, has plenty of features and customization, a decent selection of apps, great hardware while still maintaining really good battery life and form factor.

Virtually everything I needed and had on my iPhone 3G plus more are now installed on my Fascinate and I only paid for one app (WebSharing).  The camera (5mp) is excellent, the video (up to 720 HD) is also very crisp with GREAT audio quality for a phone.  The screen is very bright and does a good job auto-adjusting based on the ambient light level.

The only minor con is that there is only a Bing search widget available.  There is no factory option to change it to Google Search.  This is just wrong in so many ways.  Other than that.  The Samsung skinning of the Android interface is a bit annoying, but since I’m a first time user, it’s not too bad, but I did like the interface better on the non-Touchwiz Droid phones.

My favorite feature so far is the Swype text input.  You just draw the word on the popup screen keyboard and it intelligently pulls out the words, even if they’re names or website addresses and so on.  It is very accurate and intuitive.  The Swype website has a bunch of nice tutorials for more advanced input options.

Now that I’ve had it for a few days, I am sort of disappointed I waited so long.  Perhaps it was a good thing to let some of the early bugs get worked out.

iPhone 4.0 Announced (Officially)

Looks like the new iPhone has officially been announced.

As usual, it looks like and the new features are excellent, features we wanted are still missing and logical things that Apple could do like make MobileMe free (to spur wider use) still haven’t happened, although it is rumored.

Even though I did go ahead and get an iPad.  I WILL not get the iPhone 4 until they offer more carrier options.  There’s no way in hell I will go back to AT&T, so hopefully the fall release of a CDMA version for Verizon and/or Sprint, along with other smaller local carriers, will happen.  That is the only way myself and tens of millions of others will get the new iPhone.

Two other things that would be nice:

  1. Upgrade the iPod touch to the same form factor and feature set minus the cellular radio, or even include 3G data like the iPad for those who don’t want to switch or already have a good cellular plan.
  2. Make the whole experience more “open”… I’ll leave it at that.  Being tied to iTunes just to get the Apple Experience sucks.  I use a Mac, but not primarily, I use Linux a lot, Windows is almost out of my home-office IT Ecosystem.  Put it all on the device with ties to “the cloud”.

Otherwise, I hope Apple keeps up the innovative edge in design and function.  I look at a lot of devices and there is nothing that appeals to me more than their design, even though sometimes it doesn’t seem as feature laden as some other devices.

Simplicity+Function = Winner

iPhone Class Action Suit?

What a complainer… Sure, there are going to be bugs, lots of them sometimes in the case of a new product of this type… People should almost expect them.

We all knew it was coming, it was just a matter of time. A lawsuit has been filed against Apple over what the plaintiff is referring to as the “Defective iPhone 3G,” which she hopes will become a class-action complaint. Alabama resident Jessica Alena Smith filed the complaint yesterday against the iPhone maker, alleging that the new iPhone’s 3G performance and reliability has been subpar, despite the claims made by Apple’s aggressive marketing campaign. Considering that a true fix has yet to be issued for users’ 3G problems, this could just be the tip of the iPhone lawsuit iceberg. More >>

But now, this woman wants to file a class action lawsuit against Apple due to 3G not living up to her expectations.  Even though the Infineon 3G chipset may be a bit flawed, it’s still not completely Apple’s fault.  AT&T is the provider and that can cause the dropcalls, coverage (or lack of) issues and so on.

I live in Kentucky and don’t even have 3G where I live, so I cannot really vouche for the quality, but I did get a chance to travel to Lexington KY this past week and had NO problems whatsoever… Actually my 3G was much faster on my phone that one of my friend’s tethered BlackBerry.  I brought up pages much faster on my phone than he did on his laptop.

Some people just don’t have anything better to do… Just ask for a refund and get a different phone… geesh.

My New iPhone 3G… I like it, but not AT&T or Apple…

I got my new 3G today after waiting for two weeks for Apple to get more in.  Went down to the AT&T Store and sat there and waited while the silly customer service reps sat there and explained EVERY little feature of the phones to the customers… Geeesh.  Took about 25 minutes for just one person ahead of me in at each of the 3 reps… Amazing.

Finally, I got to the desk and the girl went back and got it for me and started chatting up a storm about it… I told her I already had the 2G and already knew everything about it, if I don’t, I’ll read the manual.  I also voiced my disappointment with having to pay $10 more for 3G in an area that doesn’t even have 3G service.  Isn’t that “illegal” to charge more for a service that isn’t even offered?   They tried saying, and it must be the official AT&T stance, that the higher price was to be “more competitive with the other data plans”, not because of the faster 3G speeds.  Competitive?  By raising the price higher towards the crackberry plan?  COME ON!  I’ll admit that I knew I would have to pay $10 more a month, so I didn’t make that big of a stink.

THEN, she asked if I wanted SMS messaging…  Prior to ordering, I didn’t realize they stripped out the 200 SMS messages that came with the 2G plan… This is getting silly.  Apple and AT&T are really letting this iPhone thing go to their heads. So I had to pay $5/mo for just 200 SMS messages.

So basically, due to the lack of my area’s 3G coverage, I am paying $15/mo more just to have the same level of service that I had on my 2G.  They better be investing on getting 3G in my area and loosen up on the SMS.  SMS is probably the most efficient use of the network and they charge the MOST for it!  COME ON!

I ended up calling and making a stink about the SMS and got 5 free months of SMS + 1000 extra rollover, which I’ll never use.

They activated it in the store and synced up my contacts with MobileME via WiFi before leaving.  Once I got home, this is where the waiting started…

Syncing with iTunes took about 60 minutes.

It had to:

  1. Restore from yesterday’s backup of my 2G. (20 minutes)
  2. Backup the new 3G config. (20 minutes)
  3. Then it did some iTune maintenance (5 minutes)
  4. Then proceeded to sync up my measly 3.5gb of music and apps. (15 minutes)

The backup thing runs like ALL the time now instead of being manual and although I appreciate the backups, I don’t feel like I need it EVERY time I add or change something.  Especially when it takes as long as it does.  The other day, after not syncing for a week or so, it took 30 minutes or so to just do the backup.

THEN, I couldn’t use any of the 3 cradles that I have for my phone due to the physical differences between 2G and 3G… A Dremel tool easily solved this, but again… This is a negative for Apple.  At least they didn’t decide to change the actual connection layout of the plug.

Overall, the audio is much better in the earpiece, the external speaker is louder… Some things seem a bit zippier and the keyboard seems a bit “tappier” and faster to type on.  Maybe it’s the more comfortable feel, I dunno.

I am going to do my best to get this “$15/mo more for nothing” thing remedied, but most likely, I’ll just have to eat it.

I’m actually what you could consider a recent Apple “fanboy” but I am starting to feel the euphoria I felt about Apple for the last few years starting to fade.  If they get any worse, they are going to lose me and my evangelism about Apple and surely, I am not alone in these feelings.