Cranky Windows Guy: Apple's iPhone Bugs Stopped Me From Switching to a Mac

Illustration for article titled Cranky Windows Guy: Apples iPhone Bugs Stopped Me From Switching to a Mac

I've always been a Windows user, which means I've always been subjected to the ridicule of holier-than-thou Apple fans. You know what I'm talking about: blue screen of death jokes, spelling Microsoft with a $ in place of the S, saying "it just works" with a smug, chubby-faced smirk. It's always been annoying, and it's always made me want to avoid using Apple products just so I wouldn't turn into one of those people. But then the iPhone came out, and I wanted it. But I being a Windows dude, I knew to wait a year for what I thought would be a more complete, less buggy version. It was Apple's opportunity to get me into the fold, to make me a member of the cult. And boy, did they blow it.

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I really would love to know where Apple got this reputation of creating lily-white products that never need fixing, created by a company that cradles its customers in fluffy clouds of superior technology. According to my first experiences with an Apple OS, that's a whole lot of bullshit.

The iPhone 3G is infuriatingly buggy. It crashes. It doesn't get great speeds when it should, switching to EDGE in areas that have 3G coverage. Coming out of the subway, it takes minutes to find a signal again and stop claiming to get "No Service" in the middle of Manhattan, often requiring a restart. Requiring a restart to get service! What is this crap? And when I do have service, calls still drop and fail all the time. The keyboard lags so much that writing text messages is more annoying than using T9 texting on a number pad. The orientation switching when you rotate the phone is inconsistent at best. Backups take minutes, sometimes hours. Sometimes, the audio output dies and it needs to be restarted to listen to music through headphones. If you've got an iPhone 3G or have been reading news on Giz, none of this will come as a surprise to you. What's surprising to me is how they're reacting to to the problems.

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I called Apple famed customer support to see if they had any solutions for these bugs. Their fix for my problem getting service when coming out of the subway? Turn Airplane Mode on and off. If there's a more ghetto fix for a problem than that, I'd like to hear it. Last time I checked the C train didn't have wings. As for when all of these bugs will be fixed, the guy on the phone said "Sooner or later it'll be working to its full potential." Oh, great. How helpful. When asked if I could revert to a previous firmware version, I was told to just wait for the next release. Great, thanks for nothing!

Overall, the customer service reps I talked to were friendly, but they've clearly been overwhelmed with calls about the iPhone (my average wait time was about nine minutes for the iPhone support number). They're overwhelmed because they're the only facet of Apple that's available to talk about just what's going on with the iPhone. Officially, Apple hasn't recognized any problems, only releasing two patches that say they offer "bug fixes" without going into any more detail. It's the standard Apple technique; giving no information whatsoever unless they feel like it suits them. And this arrogant company causes such heart palpitations in you fanboys?

If you try to go through the PR channels, you get the Apple standard "no comment." Supposedly, Steve Jobs himself emailed one single person and promised fixes next month. That doesn't count as an official statement. In fact, that's worse than nothing at all, because it just shows how little respect Jobs has for all of us. He has time to tell one jerkoff who files a bug report that fixes are coming in September but can't release a statement that says just that? Screw you, Steve.

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When the Playstation 3 got some new firmware that bricked a number of consoles, Sony didn't keep mum on the subject. They rushed a new firmware out in a matter of days and kept in touch with reporters about what was going on. They even apologized: "We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused you and appreciate your understanding and continued support." Apple hasn't acknowledged the iPhone issues to the press, let alone saying sorry for them. Because saying sorry would mean admitting that they screwed up.

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The problem is that Apple has this reality distortion field that they use, which is a brilliant handling of PR most of the time. They give out tiny amounts of information, and by being so stingy they make everyone beg and salivate for little scraps But in the end, Apple is just a company like every other company. They screw up, they release things before they're ready and they botch crisis control. The reality distortion field can't cover for things like that. Their shit still stinks.

Before I got my iPhone, I was actually considering buying an Apple laptop. Can you believe it? Me, the Windows guy on the Giz staff, thinking of switching. Eventually, when the time comes to buy a new computer, I probably won't want to jump to Vista, after all. Why not try a Mac?

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Now, after this experience, there's no way I will. I don't trust the computers to "just work," and if problems arise I don't trust Apple to handle them in an open way with customers. In fact, I expect them to try to keep things from me, I expect to continue to feel disrespected by King Jobs and his merry minions. And I'm not alone on this one. What could have been an amazing opportunity to introduce thousands of people to the Apple OS experience has turned people off rather than getting them hooked.

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DISCUSSION

@LoganC:

Yes. You've been a life-time Windows users, trained on only one platform, and you give the other platform a 20 minutes' chance, and you come to a conclusion about the entire fucking platform. Great. Really informed decision-making there.

Look, I'm the last one to tell you that Mac/OSX is the best OS for everybody, or for you, or for anybody (except, of course, for me).

But just give it a thought, for a split second what you're saying there.

Imagine a Mac fanboy; he's only used Macs his entire life. He wouldn't touch a Windows PC with a javelin.

Then, he decides, he should give Vista a chance. Plays with it for 20 minutes and completely hates it because everything is different; it takes him 20 minutes to do something he can do on his Mac in 5.

He then turns around and pronounced that Vista is a total piece of mother fucking crap.

Now, you tell me what you call people like that.

I'll give you a great example. I'm currently helping one of my profs migrate from her old Compaq Presario (P4 1.8GHz) to a brand spankin' new HP Pavillion (C2D 3.0GHz). I recommended the HP because of great c/p and more than adequate horse power to run Vista on.

Then, when I got the part, you know, where you're supposed to transfer all the files from the old computer to the new. Something, on the Mac side, is as simple as connecting the two computer with a firewire cable, rebooting the old computer holding on to the T key, then clicking one button icon on the new. After that, you sit back, drink some coffee, and several hours later, you have everything migrated, including user files and settings and all your apps. You can start using the new computer just as you had been using your old one.

On Windows, you're supposed to start Windows Easy Transfer, which, unfortunately doesn't transfer any of your apps; but that didn't even matter because transferring files (which was dog slow over a 100Base-T network) would always stall mid-way. After wasting hours doing that, I broke down and bought PCMover. At least, that is supposed to transfer apps as well, although the rumor is that not all apps will get moved over correctly, requiring a re-install. I'll find out tomorrow morning how that went—- I had to leave in the middle of the process because it said it was going to take 13 hours to transfer 85GB. Data that would've taken 2 hours tops to transfer between 2 Macs.

Another thing that WET wasn't going to do was to transfer from an XP machine to an XP machine (even though you could install the software on both.. wtf?), so I had to persuade my prof that, yes, I actually do think Vista is better than XP in many ways, and that her new computer was good enough to handle it. Fortunately she believed me so I could go ahead with the process (which in retrospect may not have been required since I ended up using PCMover).

And you know what? After all that persuasion, I upgrade to Vista Business (came with the comp), only to find out that her monitor, a Dell 2005FPW, isn't supported. The generic driver wouldn't do the native resolution (1680*1050) and Dell didn't have Vista drivers for it (and the XP drivers wouldn't load). Granted part of that is Dell's fault, but the fact remains that it didn't help my case trying to convince her that Vista is going to be "A-OK".

All in all, today was a crappy day for me, who has been putting together my own PCs and using Windows for nearly 13 years.

So my question to you is; if working with Windows can be SUCH a fucking nightmare for someone like me with tons of experience, then how do you think it could be to a first time user? And, with that answer, tell me what you'd think about someone like that basing his/her judgment on Windows within the first 20 minutes of using it?

Boys and girls; you have to admit that most of you anti-Apple haters are shoulder to shoulder in douchebaggery with the so-called Apple fanboys. Nuff fucking said.