One of the worse problems with being bipolar is, when a manic episode hits (or, sometimes, like in this case when severe depression hit), your brain looks for ways to get a good dopamine (serotonin?) hit. For me, shopping therapy is often a reason. And I have wasted too much money because of it.
I have switched between Windows Phone, iOS, and Android frequently over the last 15 years. (At one time even vouched for Symbian.) Last year I burned over $3500 buying 3 different Windows laptops and the Pixel 5a, which I upgraded to the 5—only to return to Apple’s iOS ecosystem. Because I got bored with iOS and its inability to allow me to stream on Twitch simultaneously both whatever I was streaming, along with using the selfie cam to show my face. Well…I never ended up streaming, and all three laptops ended up with me killing them, two because of trying to physically remap keyboards; the last because of trying to upgrade to the Windows 11 beta, and realizing that the battery was running low, and inserting the power cord fried the whole goddamn motherboard and GPU.
Even then, I hated using Windows. Settings aren’t centralized. UX inconsistencies. Being adamant in supporting legacy software and standards. Having to search the Internet, instead of centralized repository, for popular and/or essential programs. (What’s in the current ”Microsoft Store” is paltry.) Stores not honoring their warrantees, leaving customers in an endless loop of where to go for product and customer support. OEMs too often taking liberties in keyboard layouts, screen resolutions and aspect ratios. All the bloatware when buying almost any prebuilt.
Chromebooks are…okay, if all you need is an Internet client. The few I played around with, well, sucked. Unless you are willing to spend traditional laptop money, cheap Chromebooks are poorly built, their screens are hard to view, there’s no key backlighting, you don’t know if they are the older model only getting a couple of years’ support or the new models getting 8+ years, their file viewer lacks depth. Some can run Linux—but Linux is a tinker’s OS, not one geared towards average consumers. Android apps don’t scale well to larger screens the vast majority of the time.
And don’t get me started on Android tablets. Since their creation, they’ve sucked. They rarely get device support, developers don’t code their apps to take advantage of the larger screens, screen quality and resolution are atrocious, sound playback is tinny at best, there’s few device-specific peripherals like keyboard cases (and the ”universal” covers and wireless keyboards make mobility a pain).
I am writing all this because for the past week I have regressed in my depression, and I have seriously considered getting rid of all my iOS devices just for the sake of something “new” and “different”. Like I did when I returned to iOS last year, I would just buy all-in on a budget ecosystem, and upgrade each device to something more midtier or premium every few weeks.
Cheap Androids, though, still us micro-USB in 2022. It’s already a headache that my iPad Pro uses USB-C, while all my other iOS devices use a lightning cable; a cheap Android using micro-USB while my Chromebook and headset using USB-C defeats the purpose of wanting one, universal cable. The experience of cheap Google or Microsoft products pales compared to getting even budget Apple products—my experience with even the iPhone SE or an older, used iPhone model still holds up better than a budget Android from the past 6 months or so. The base-model iPad still preforms better than any Windows laptop, Chromebook, or Android tablet in its price range (anything under US$350), especially when paired with a cheap bluetooth keyboard and mouse for a more complete laptop experience. There is no fitness watch or wearOS watch that can compete with the Watch, though I use mine more for notifications and replies if my iPhone isn’t on me (as opposed to a fitness device), so I would be devoid of all those notifications I reply heavily on. Chromecast is just a wireless alternative to HDMI cables, so it lacks the ability to play games like I sometimes do on my TV. Apps on Android lack features compared to their iOS counterparts; I know this isn’t Google’s fault, but it often takes years for them to put the same features onto Android, because of the fragmentation issue. Cheap Androids also rarely, if ever, get security and software updates, forcing users who value security to update more frequently than iPhone users. (Only flagships seem to be getting the 3-4+ year support promise? Still hard to say since such promises only came in the last year or so.) There are also plenty of good, cheap headphones, but I invested in the AirPods Max I have.
I write this to publicly remind myself why I invested in Apple’s iOS ecosystem. Handoff and AirDrop relieve me of using wires for file transfers. With one tap I can switch using my AirPods from my iPhone to my iPad, or vice versa. Many of my favorite games I can play on any of my devices, and pick up where I left off, because it’s all saved to iCloud. My iPad Pro is more versatile than any laptop, because I can use it as a laptop, as a tablet, as a writing or drawing device; and it does all three as good as or better than the competition. My Fiat lacks CarPlay, but using my iPhone with my Watch makes listening to Music or using Maps makes up for it, and saves me tons of money investing in an aftermarket solution that may cease my ability to control Music through my steering wheel controls. The user experience between my iPhone and iPad are way more consistent than any hybrid ecosystem paired with an Android phone.
I could get the Samsung Galaxy Fold and use it as both my phone and computer, but my experience with DeX left a bad taste in my mouth. I still hate that Samsung devices are bloated with crapware, and that they are always making me choose Samsung’s offerings over Google’s.
It’s like a muscle. The more I hold out on making this impulsive buy, the less likely I will finally give in. And I plan to stick with Apple.