Previously published in LJN's Legal Tech Newsletter
I have had a BlackBerry for something like 15 years; each year or so getting a new replacement model. Hell, I even had a Palm Pilot and all of its incarnations. I recall my Palm tethered to an Omnisky modem that "pushed" your e-mails to the device. (Remember those units?) I distinctly remember replacing that brick with a relatively new e-mail device from RIM that automatically delivered your e-mail. Now again it seems like the time to switch to a new device yet again. Here's why.
I Already Have a Mac Desktop at Home
About a year ago, I needed to replace an aging six-year-old Dell desktop machine. My son, the 16-year-old technologist of the house, along with my local computer store, heartily recommended switching to a Mac: It would run all of the software I was already using; I could switch over my 23,000 item iTunes library seamlessly; I could dial into my firm's network just as easily; a Mac was a more stable computer; I could get a giant 27-inch monitor; and it looked really cool. So I invested in my first Mac. The switch was fairly smooth. (ExceptQuicken for Mac is a vastly inferior product. No one told me that. And I had to spend a lot of time reorganizing my banking software.)
I Already Have a Mac Laptop
I also recently had to replace an aging Sony Netbook that ceased to function after about 18 months due to a design flaw in how the removal battery connected to the laptop. My son (again) has had a MacBook Pro for more than three years and has never had a problem with the hardware. In fact, his prior Dell laptop had a similar battery connection problem (which some Russian émigré kid in his apartment fixed for us. This kid had developed a specialized business of fixing battery or charging cord connections for a variety of laptops). The MacBook Air has been running flawlessly and it looks really cool. It works seamlessly with the desktop one too.
Apple Offers a Compelling Product
The iPhone is elegantly designed, from the box that initially houses the device, to the software that runs the device itself. It all works. And works together flawlessly. Some people complain about the difficulties of a closed ecosystem, but an end-to-end solution makes for an elegant and robust user experience.
RIM Has Recently Stumbled
RIM, the prior good friend of corporate America (and many other countries)can't seem to do anything right lately. Its recent outages didn't affect me directly, but my wife's BlackBerry was out for about two days. A number of friends and colleagues reported lack of service while away from the desk and told me that they no longer trusted RIM and were dumping their BlackBerrys for either an iPhone or an Android device. RIM can't seem to keep their network working.
RIM Can't Seem to Figure Out How to Compete
Everyone, even RIM management, believes that the much anticipated Playbook tablet was a disaster. Its inability to function without being tethered put it at a distinct disadvantage with iPads and any other tablet out there. What have they been doing up in Waterloo as Google has been pushing the Android platform and Apple has been selling tons of iPhones? It doesn't seem like much has been happening on the BlackBerry front. No new innovations. Software is kind of bland and a copy of everyone else. And very few really important apps.
What Is It About These Apps?
Apple's App Store has 10 billion apps and Google has about 5 billion, and each seems to have more useful and productive apps than BlackBerry. I crave apps that make my job and life easier and Apple has those. Maybe I am wrong and the BlackBerry store does have some compelling apps, but Apple, and to a lesser extent Google, seem to have transformative, life altering apps. BlackBerry has Brickbreaker. But the others have Angry Birds. Case closed.
It's the Network
My two-year contract with T-Mobile expired at the end of last year and it was time to switch networks too. I have not had many problems with T-Mobile over the years, except for some coverage issues in Mexico and South Korea (the latter where it didn't work at all), but Verizon is dominant now. T-Mobile is going to have to figure out what to do now that its planned merger with AT&T failed.
I Also Get Apple Support
I look forward to taking my shiny new device to the Apple store and figuring out how to optimize it with one of those geniuses at the Apple Store. Maybe I am too drunk with excitement about the whole Apple experience, but the opportunity to talk to someone knowledgeable about this work tool, in person, is extremely desirable. I think I am fairly tech savvy, and my firm supports my BlackBerry, but not as immersively as Apple.
My Music Will Be with Me Always
As a huge music lover, I have two iPods, but I rarely carry them around with me. I want to make my life easier and simpler, not more complicated. Having an iPhone means that I get to bring a large portion of my music collection with me wherever I go. Sure, the BlackBerry can store music, but having already committed to iTunes makes the switch over to BlackBerry impracticable and difficult. I will also have immediate access to tons of other content from my iTunes account.
It Connects to Everything
I have an iPod dock in my car and at home. The iPhone will seamlessly connect with the rest of my life. I think I do have to buy another car charger and case, but that is a small price to pay for this connectivity with everything else. Apple seems to have conquered the accessory universe too. My BlackBerry doesn't connect to it in any harmonious way.
I already own a Kindle (actually we have four Kindles at home). I am not switching from Amazon though, as they have developed a compelling reading ecosystem. It is the Nalgene principle, which produces the ubiquitous Nalgene bottle that dominates with a single, well thought out, superior product. Amazon's Kindle and related store provides for an elegant reading experience—and more so now with the amazing Fire tablet.
Making the Switch
So I am taking the plunge and joining the hordes with an iPhone. Wish me luck. It never seems easy to switch phones, switch carriers and make it all work. For some reason, though, this time is seems like maybe it will be different.
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