No more Apple Kool-Aid. And AT&T can die.

Every once in a while, on a certain IRC channel, I like to tease someone I consider to be a Google fanboi.  He loves his Android phone, thinks Apple is evil, Google is awesome, etc.

Well, he’s kinda right.  Apple is evil.

My first computer (that my family owned) was an Apple ][e.  But after I outgrew that I ignored Apple for a long while until I bought my first PowerBook.  I came back to Apple because they made products I wanted.  The hardware was sexy and the software wrapped a great user experience around a very powerful core.  It was still a Unix-ish experience, just not the user-hostile exercise in headbanging that is Linux.  And that is still the case for their computers.  Yes, a MacBookPro is more expensive than the cheapest Dell.  I will happily pay for eye candy.  I don’t think I’m really a fanboy (maybe I am), I just like well designed products.

That’s why I bought an iPhone.  It’s very powerful and very pretty.  Android is powerful – and ugly.  (It’s resembalance to Linux is striking.)  You can make it do what you want – if you want to expend the effort.  (I, usually, don’t wish to.)  And on the G1 at least you were paying for really suck hardware, combined with a lock-in to Google services.  I didn’t see it as any less evil than Apple.  And I like Apple more than I like Google.  (Many Google folks you run in to around the valley can be…annoying.)  And I don’t really use Google services.  I use Google Talk to talk to exactly one person.  (Love you, girlfriend!)  I don’t use my Gmail account because I don’t want the G-unit reading my mail.  I do use Google Calendar because it gives me a good CalDAV experience that talks nice to my iPhone and iCal.  (Uh, yeah, that’s why I didn’t buy a MobileMe account, Apple.  Sorry.) 

But my feelings for Google have change a bit with Google Voice.  This thing is rocking my world.  Finally someone who took phone service and made it smart.  Could I do all this with Asterisk?  Yes.  Do I want to?  No.  I’m sure Google Voice will mature and get even better.  I dream for the day I can tell it “If these people call between the hours of X and Y then send them to voicemail.”  That will rule hardcore.  The coolness of Google Voice outweighs my fear and loathing of the G-unit. 

Now since I’ve been waiting for my GV invite (got it a while ago) I was tracking the iPhone apps.  I was thinking I might get GV Mobile but would wait for the official Google app.  I figure it’d do push, which would rule.  Notifications when I get voicemail!  SMS!  And it would be free.  So far, after more than a month of iPhone ownership, I hadn’t bought any apps.  The free ones were Good Enough.

Then..Apple decided to ban GV apps from the iPhone.  This pissed me off.  Severely.  Once again AT&T was being an ass and making the iPhone painful to use.  Lack of MMS?  Ok, not that annoying but lame.  Tethering?  Same (I have an EVDO card).  But this?  They were taking something I was excited about and crapping on it.  I was able to sneak in under the wire and buy GV Mobile.  It works – for now – and works well.  I won’t ask for a refund because it’s only $3 and would cost the author money. 

Some folks say blame AT&T – they are the ones who said GV apps had to go (and I think that’s true).  Others say blame Apple – it’s their app store.  I say why be so stingy?  I have enough hate for both.

Apple sucks because their app store policies are inconsistent, opaque, and very wrong.  Why was GV Mobile ok in May but all of a sudden pulled for “duplicating functionality”?  Why wasn’t it caught earlier?  It was personally approved by an Apple VP!  Oh, and recently Apple claimed that allowing jailbreaking would support drug dealers, terrorists, and threaten to crash the cellular network.  Seriously, guys?  You forgot to say “in a post 9/11 world”.

AT&T sucks because…so many reasons.  I need a list:

  • They have refused to upgrade their network as promised.  They take the iPhone users money but don’t often deliver the service.  (I get <56kbps data rates in downtown SF.)
  • They subject the iPhone users to restrictions they don’t subject other platforms too.  (GV apps for blackberry on AT&T, Sling app, etc.)
  • They will unlock any other phone BUT the iPhone.  After I’ve met my two year commitment they should let me do what I want with it.  What’s the danger?  It won’t support 3G on TMo.  I’ll stay an AT&T customer.  I just want the option of using an Orange UK sim when I go to the UK. 

So the bloom was worn off a bit.  The phone is still sexy but Apple is seriously pissing me off.  I hope this incident gives them a serious black eye.  They deserve it. 

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