I realize that suggesting a break from Apple products on an Apple blog is heresy, but there are good reasons to pop your head up and look around at what else is out there every once in a while. Gadget tunnel vision is a dangerous thing, for both your sense of perspective and your budget.
Brand Loyalty Carries No Tangible Reward
Brand loyalty can be a very strong emotion, especially around Apple Inc. But what’s it really worth to you? You could argue that by being loyal, you’re encouraging Apple to continue putting out high-quality products, but it’s not a one-to-one relationship. Buying a piece of kit from Sony or someone else here or there won’t destroy Apple’s R&D capabilities.
In reality, you get nothing for your loyalty beyond the ability to wave it in the faces of others who aren’t so loyal. Which, admittedly, can be quite satisfying in the short term, but doesn’t really amount to much in the long run.
Playing the Field Gets You More Action
Pardon the double-entendre, but it’s true that if you have greater variety in your choice of gadgets and tech, you’ll have a much broader base of experience from which to draw for both professional and personal purposes. At work and on resumés, platform agnosticism plays much better than single-minded devotion to one company. Most employees don’t want to see “haven’t touched a Windows machine since ’95″ listed under “Skills.”
Knowing about, say, Android as well as iOS, for example, will also get you far in personal interactions. The one-note Apple guy or girl isn’t always the most popular person at tweetups and tech conferences. Even if you’re debating the merits of OS X versus Windows 7, think how much stronger your argument will be if you’ve actually used both extensively.
Your Apple Vacation Can Be a “Staycation”
You don’t need to invest in new hardware to take a break from Apple. Bootcamp on OS X allows you to run Windows or other operating systems on your Mac computer. Or, if you’d rather not even leave OS X (though I recommend you do), there are always Parallels and VMware Fusion which allow you to run Windows on an emulated machine within Apple’s OS.
You can also even run Android on an iPhone or iPad using OpeniBoot, though it’s pretty buggy. But if you’re the adventurous type, and want to test out Google’s iOS competitor without spending money on new hardware, this could be the way to do it.
The Future Is Multi-Platform
Developers aren’t going to focus on just one platform, so long as user interest in a platform continues to grow. Nor are content providers, advertisers, or enterprise IT departments. There’s no reason why users should, either. Device and platform flexibility will inform UI and UX decisions going forward, and consumers with a wide variety of experience will help inform those decisions.
Apple is a great platform, and will likely remain my platform of choice for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean I’ll use it to the absolute exclusion of all others. Variety is the spice of life, and that maxim applies just as well to my digital existence, too.
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