I have been working with macOS(formerly OS X and Mac OS X) full time on iMac/Macbook Pro 13'/15' since 2007. Before that, I mainly worked on Windows, and Ubuntu in virtual machine. I am a software engineer, and a startup co-founder. Basically I spent most of my time on computers to make things happen, or make things right ;D. In other words, coding, writing, surfing and communicating.
Before Christmas of 2018, I switched my operation system to GNU/Linux. After weeks of adventure, I am ready to embrace Linux as my primary OS, both for work and personal use. I wrote down my thoughts here to remind myself one day why this was a right decision at this point then. What I want from an operation system and what are the most important aspects of software eden I valued. Here are my rambles.
To be fair, Apple is a hardware company.
When I had my first Macbook Pro, I managed to upgrade the DDR RAM, and replaced HDD with SSD. At that time, Unibody doesn’t mean you can’t open up the body. Today, you will get stunned by all kinds of Torx and Pentalobe screws iPhone ever assembled. Apple protects their arts discreetly. Now we have the universal plug - USB-C on Mac, life expects to get easier. But hell no, Apple does everything in their house. So everything can be under control.
Every three years or less, I have my Macbook Pro replaced with the new one. Pick up from the latest models, often ultimate one. There is no chance if I regret and desire an upgrade in future. I deny to be an Apple fanboy. But the reality is that by upgrading my laptop, the performance gets boosted right once. Every time is a refresh! Nowadays, everybody expects computer has a lifespan, and owners should upgrade them frequently. If you don't do that, your productivity will drain. But this is also a sales trick.
What is the major version of OS on your Mac? I always had latest one followed by latest upgrade. Latest one always comes with exciting features, fixed issues, security patches and most engineering efforts dedicated to. But also, latest one has more new problems apart from compatible issues. macOS major upgrades are replacements of the entire operation system. They are not plain patches. You get new features and software with each version, including new kernel, partition changes and firmware drivers upgrade.
Not because of Moore Law, that our computers stay less ages than our pets. These companies who sell our products want it. Undoubtedly Mac machines have a phenomenal high turnover rate. This is a tactic to fancy P&L report and curve the stocks. Hardware provides the ability of computing, but the performance also relies on software. If your software gets bloated, your computer feels slow. The rest is much familiar to PC guys. Yes, your macOS can cripple your computer too. From Mac OS X to macOS, from Tiger to Mojave, I was passionate to try new toys; to buy the propaganda of upgrade benefits; and to believe in stories brainwashed. (Ironically, when I wrote down this paragraph, my phone got a news notification that Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts was leaving the company.)
So why can’t we walk away?
Again, superior sales. The art of product design is to turn product into art. Apple teaches us what is a beauty of product. There is no more launch events like Apple’s of Steve Job’s era to worth expecting. Apple becomes fashion brand, although accessories are luxuries, we cheer our hipster choices. We are eager and narcissistic to own them.
From OS X v10.9 Mavericks, Apple made their OS free. You pay zero dollar to get your OS upgraded to latest version. That was game changing from many perspectives. In that year, Microsoft had almost half of revenue from selling Windows. But for some people, the journey to the hell of upgrade for both hardware and software begins.
While for Windows, Microsoft keeps a support service cycle, Apple don't. macOS is proud of high adoption of each new OS release. At the same time, old versions are obsolete fast to keep the pace. Even you are so calm to keep OS upgrade notice out of sight, programs will warn you. Apple rules applications economy with App Store. If your daily apps can support three macOS versions in a row, you will be truly lucky.