The Student News Site of Hayfield Secondary School

The Harvester News

The Student News Site of Hayfield Secondary School

The Harvester News

The Student News Site of Hayfield Secondary School

The Harvester News

A life shaped by sports
Yahia Omar, Staff Writer • May 21, 2024

The Apple ecosystem – a walled garden you can’t escape from

The Apple ecosystem, also known as a walled garden, is built upon the three main Apple operating systems, MacOS, iOS and WatchOS. Over the past couple of years, I’ve accidentally built up those garden walls around myself. From the iPhone, to a Macbook, I’ve tried it, so here’s my opinions as someone who’s way too deep.

FILE – iPhone 15 phones are shown during an announcement of new products on the Apple campus in Cupertino, Calif., Sept. 12, 2023. The Justice Department announced a sweeping antitrust lawsuit Thursday, March 21, 2024 against Apple, accusing the tech giant of having an illegal monopoly over smartphones in the U.S. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) (AP)

The iPhone is what most people think of when they think about Apple, and it’s one of their best products. It’s the standard for phones at this point, with many features of the original iPhone still being present today. But the best part of the iPhone isn’t even exclusive to just the iPhone, it’s iMessage. The default messaging app, which connects across all Apple devices, is by far one of my favorites. Highlights of this seemingly simple app include GamePigeon and Stickers. Second to iMessage is definitely FaceTime. It feels less serious than actually calling someone. But something unique to the iPhone would be its UI. Apple is excellent at design language, and makes the iPhone easy to use, customizable, and looks amazing. 

iPad’s have taken on a new meaning over the years, going from what was practically a big iPhone with cellular, to a laptop alternative. While many people think of iPad kids, the iPad can be used as a real working machine. Currently, the iPad Pro line uses Apple’s silicone chip set, the exact same models used in the current lineup of MacBooks and iMacs. With a separate purchase, you can get a keyboard to take your workflow to the next level. But the iPad is also a great tool for artists. With both first and second generation pencils, Apple provides native support for a stylist to use for note taking or art making. Over time, the iPad has shifted from using iOS to iPadOS. This is still based off of iOS, but has features such as stage manager or sidecar for Mac.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, shows new Apple Watch products at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) (AP)

My favorite product category is the Apple Watch. While it may seem useless or overpriced, smart watches in general are the way of the future. With amazing health tracking abilities, I know so much more about my health and fitness. The Apple Watch can track falls and notify emergency contacts if you were to go unconscious. Personally, I don’t remember how I managed to track all my notifications before using a watch. I have my phone silenced at all times, but I’m still notified of texts and calls with a tiny buzz on my watch. And if you’re going for a new look, you can customize your watch with different watch faces and watch bands.

The most useful category is by far the extensive line up of Macs. Beginning with the iMac, this is Apple’s take on an all-in-one machine. It’s been updated to include an M3 chip, and it comes in a variety of colors to fit your style. I have the 2021 M1 version, but I don’t find myself using it often. I find that it runs slow and it doesn’t serve much more than as a decoration on my desk. Instead, I gravitate to my MacBook. Apple sells two main lines, the Air and the Pro. Most of the Pro versions have more ram and a “pro” chip, but it comes with a thicker, and often warmer, laptop. I love the portability and durability of the MacBook, but it’s not for everyone.

The Apple Computers Inc. new Mac Mini is shown at an Apple store in Palo Alto, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2005. As it works to expand its share of the PC market, Mac is shippping a computer tha starts at $499. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

If you’re interested in MacOS, but you don’t like an all in one, the Mac Mini or Mac Pro can be for you. Not to be confused with the MacBook Pro, the Mac Pro and Mini are computers that Steve Jobs described as BYODKM (Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard, and Mouse) since all you get is the actual computer. The entire Mac line up is the hardest to buy into, and shouldn’t be your first product in your line up. One interesting aspect of using a mac is the way you can get around FCPS WiFi. If you use a hotspot, you’re able to use whatever websites you want to. And with Lightspeed and teachers being able to see our screens on school wifi, using a Mac limits what teachers can see.

There are so many other products, such as AirPods, Vision Pro, and the Home Pod. But if I’m being honest, they’re only important enough to get this one sentence.

More recently, Apple has started to jump into the service market with the entire Apple One suite. Apple Music is similar to Spotify, but there is definitely less “fun stuff” about it. There are less users to share with or create playlists with, and it’s harder to find things like Reciptify that work for Apple Music. The only one I have found that works well is AirBuds. Apple TV+ has some amazing shows, such as Ted Lasso, but I often see them as a hit or a miss. There’s also iCloud+, Apple News, Fitness + and Apple Arcade. As a whole, lots of the services seem worthless for most people.

But overall, Apple as a company has its flaws. Apple is strongly against the right to repair, only allowing “Apple Authorized Service Providers” to handle their devices. There are still many non-authorized technicians dealing with Apple Repairs, but going with these services can void your device’s warranty. Apple has also started to remove items that used to ship with their products, such as charging bricks or headphones. Obviously, they still sell them, but you have to purchase them at an extra charge. But the main issue, once you enter the ecosystem, you will struggle to leave. I have 4 years of Apple Music History, 4 years of Health History, and so many devices I’d have to replace if I tried to leave. The Price to replace everything would be enormous, and not to mention the amount of electronic waste it would produce. 

I love the Apple Ecosystem, but I constantly know that I can’t leave now. My new devices are at the mercy of Apple, and I, and so many other people, know that. Currently, I’d recommend almost all of the products I have, but if you’re going to buy into it, you have to understand you won’t be leaving any time soon.

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About the Contributor
Katerina Floros
Katerina Floros, Staff Writer
Hey, I’m Kat! I am currently a junior and this is my second year as a staff writer for the Harvester News. I love music and I’ve been a member of the hayfield marching hawks since freshman year. I also love to swim and I’ve been a competitive swimmer for the last 7 years. I’m so excited to see what our staff can accomplish this year.

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