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I recently took the plunge and purchased my first ever Apple device. A long-time Windows user and general detractor of Apple and their expensive, controlled approach to computing, I couldn’t resist all those quality iOS apps any longer. I bought (well, technically, my wife bought as a wedding present…thanks honey!) an iPad 2 the day after it came out and I have had it now for a week.

History

When the first iPad originally came out, I was pretty skeptical. I was among those who scoffed at it being just a “big iPod Touch” and didn’t see a lot of value in it that my smartphone and laptop didn’t already provide. And initially, that was true, and for the first 6 months I didn’t really consider getting one.

It wasn’t long, though, before iPad-only and iPad-optimized apps came in droves and it became clear that the iPad really was a unique device with unique uses that went beyond what you could do with a smartphone-sized device. Although the games and iPad apps are definitely impressive, what converted me into actually deciding I wanted one was the music creation apps. And that’s what convinced me not to wait for a competing product to gain traction but instead take the Apple plunge. Tablet OSes from Google, HP and Blackberry are not only a year behind tablet iOS, but don’t show any promise of really competing in this particular music niche anytime soon. And since that’s the niche that most interested me in a tablet, the decision was really made for me. When Apple showed off Garageband for the iPad, any remaining reservations I may have had were completely removed.

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Apple Rant

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Although it may seem like it, I don’t hate Apple.  True, nearly every piece of electronics I own run a Microsoft OS (all 3 PCs, my phone and my MP3 player).  But the reason isn’t that I don’t like shiny objects or that I love getting certain UI innovations after everyone else.  No, I’ve stuck with Microsoft because generally I prefer to deal with some necessary tweaking or frustration in order to have the freedom to make these customizations.  I want to be able to build my PC, reflash my phone and get more features in my MP3 player without having to fight the OS manufacturer at every turn.

So I do dislike the walled-garden approach to computing that Apple has chosen, not because it doesn’t work (for the majority of users, it does), but because I appreciate choice and freedom when it comes to configuring my computing devices.  When you hear of Apple purposefully removing applications or functionality from iPhones because it competes with some business of theirs or AT&T’s, it really sounds like iPhone users are just renting their devices.

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Arg.  After initially getting excited about Windows Phone 7 when it was revealed a few months ago, after learning more about the OS itself I’m getting disappointed.  It’s really not looking to be anything more than Microsoft’s attempt at an iPhone, which is not what I was hoping for.

I have a thing about personalization.  I have this strange hatred for conformity, and really like to be able to make whatever I have at least somewhat “me.” That’s the main reason I’m not interested in the iPhone.  I know it’s a good device that tons of people love.  But it’s a completely closed, locked-down platform with no potential for real personalization or customization.  It’s Apple’s way or the highway.  I can’t stand that.

For all its faults, Windows Mobile gave me that freedom.  Granted, I never was as serious about tweaking the phone’s OS as many people, but I liked the ability to flash a new ROM if I was getting bored with the UI, or Google a hack to change some low-level setting I didn’t like.  But Windows Phone 7 throws all that out the window, leaving me less excited about my options when I decide it’s time for a new phone.

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