I think it probably is. Despite starting my computing life in 1981 on an Apple IIe and having occasional contact with odd Apple computing products over the years (anyone remember the Apple Newton) it wasn’t until I bought an early iPod from the US a few years back. Somewhat awestruck with the easy-to-use, impossible to customise approach I was slowly reeled in. But that is not the end of the story, what has made me become an iWhore is the intersection of a number of different factors and, I can tell you, it bodes well for the future of Apple.
Firstly, I had started to embrace mobile data in a major way. The natural choice (in 2007) was to go for one of these new slinky Windows Mobile devices so an HTC Kaiser/4550 was purchased…and then found to be completely unusable forcing me back onto using a “real” phone.
Secondly, my venerable Sony Vaio was reaching the end of it’s usable life so I bought the latest, fastest something-or-other-faceless from Toshiba. Claiming great power, endless battery life and true portability. It was actually pretty good except that it ran Vista and over the coming months it ran slower and slower and the battery died quicker and quicker.
It became a frustration and I was pretty soon wishing I had my old Sony lappie back. At the start of 2008 we had a huge email server migration project go completely tits up after months of planning. At the time we had recently started using 37Signals great cloud-based product Basecamp so made a quick, snap decision to move to Google Apps for email and calendar.
The cloud bandwagon rolled on as we quickly and easily deployed Highrise and then Backpack allowing us to close down our old, XMB-forum-based, intranet and then drop Act as our CRM application. At the same time we quit the Microsoft developers programme which we had used for cheap/free copies of Excel/Word/Server etc and needed to find an alternative – this came via a combination of Writeboards (again 37Signals) and occasionally use of Open Office.
The path was clear for a clean MS-divorce, without realising it. Rather than spending £20k per annum on MS-Server/Exchange plus probably the same amount again on individual applications we’d reduced our software cost to less than £5k per annum, given us almost unlimited scaleability, better availability/reliability and super-fast deployment. We had become free of shackles of IT.
One day one of our developer’s wandered into the office with an iPhone; he became a real pain, flaunting it’s fantastic features. I was sold and gave away my Sony Ericsson “real phone” and joined the iPhone revolution. The ease of use and the anti-MS way of doing things was really starting to make me change my mind.
We then had course to buy another Mac Book at work for a new developer and I have to say that I was more than a bit jealous. So, here I am, typing away my first post on my new Mac Air. Lovely. Now, is there anything else Steve Jobs can sell me? Maybe a hash key?
Finally, apologies to all the people over the years who I have wholehearted (and with some gusto) abused for being Apple Fanboys. I’m truly sorry, you were right.
By Martin Dower