A Week Without Windows: Day One & Two, Week Two


So this week I'm replacing all my Windows devices with Apple devices instead. That means an iPhone, iPad and my trusty MacBook Air.

My expectation was that this week should be a doddle, seeing as how this was my day to day setup until a year ago. How wrong I was.

Remember when the biggest selling point with Apple was 'it just works'? Well they certainly took that ideal and stomped all over it didn't they?

First frustration? Deleting apps I no longer need on my MBA. So two methods that I know of for deleting apps no longer required on a Mac. Drag the app from Launchpad to the Trash or drag the application out of the Applications folder into the Trash. So what do I do for the apps that won't delete from Launchpad and don't have anything in the Applications folder?

Say what you like about Windows, but it gets this right.

Then there is the joy of Apple's less than robust cloud services. Message forwarding from the iPhone to other devices is one of the features that Apple has made a bit of fuss about for a few releases now, so you'd expect it to be quite a robust and mature solution.

No. Not even close.

First of all Settings on the iPhone was completely missing the Message Forwarding option. The fix? A reboot of the iPhone. Yes, indeed that's how we roll with Apple's 'it just works' premise these days.
Okay, so phone rebooted, menu item restored and iPad selected as a recipient device. What happens now? Precisely nothing. No messages in, no messages out. To paraphrase Phil Schiller: it just works, my arse.

Setting aside Apple's significant difficulties with cloud services (because this week is going to be lost if I try and resolve them all) how does the rest of the setup work.

The iPad has been my main device so far - I can get things done much better than on an Android tablet and the amount of rethinking of what I do and how I do it has been kept to the minimum. The biggest bugbear has been the absence of mouse support - which makes Citrix a pain in the backside to use. For those looking to use the iPad with Citrix on a longer term basis there is a Citrix specific solution which allows you to mouse from the iPad.

Note taking with a capacitive stylus is horrible. Again, anyone looking to do this on a permanent basis would probably just spring for an iPad Pro.

The MBA works okay with my DisplayLink docks at my offices. Running Citrix here works without issues and the only complaints I'd make relate to how well any MacBook works as a docked PC in a mixed environment. With my Spectre x360 I fold the screen into tent mode so I maximise desk space but still have three displays active. With the MBA that isn't possible and, because the standard PC mouse doesn't support Apple's trackpad gestures I need to keep the keyboard / trackpad handy to use them.

The iPhone as my primary phone has been acceptable - other than the annoyance of having to reply to text messages from the phone itself. Having both medium and iPhones to hand I can say that I prefer the 4" iPhone to the 4.7" one, in all areas bar one. Typing is significantly easier on the larger device. Neither iPhone has a typing experience to match that of Windows Mobile though.

Being able to plug my iPhone into my car to act as a music player works nicely, although the inability of the iPhone to maintain Bluetooth and iPod connections concurrently means that I can't use it as a phone whilst driving unless I swap between connections. Not a difficult task, but it rather negates the value of being able to plug the iPhone in.

Plugged into my car I gain album art on the music player but lose the convenience of wireless charging and operation via Cortana. That certainly isn't something I'm happy about.

Still the extra apps available on the iPhone should compensate, shouldn't they. For me at the moment that particular benefit amounts to three key apps - my bank's mobile app, Wemo and Pinterest. Nothing else is present on my iPhone that isn't also available on my Lumia.

In truth I'm already finding the Apple experience to be painful. Compared to the reliability of OneDrive and services that use it for synchronisation, having to carry three devices instead of just two and the lack of a Continuum-like app that allows me to leave my Lumia in my pocket most of the day; I'm struggling to find a reason to stick to a Mac for the rest of the week.

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