How do you decide what ecosystem(s) to buy into?


TL;DR: Just read the first paragraph below. No need to keep going further than that.

I’m at a point where it’s time to upgrade some of the tech in my home, and I’m mulling over (and probably overthinking) my ecosystem decisions. Yes, many of us are tied of tech ecosystems, and I have heard that it’s foolish to put all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak. So I’m curious: How did you all decide what ecosystem(s) were right for you? Did you base it on how accessible you wanted your digital media to be? Or what services work the best for your workflow? Or the type of hardware you prefer? Or just how simple everything tied together? Maybe some combination of the above?

My current line of thought is to go with Apple hardware since I already own a 2011 iMac that I use for work and probably won’t replace for a few more years. I’d add an Apple TV to that since it can pretty much stream everything, an iPad 9.7 while they’re still on sale, and an iPhone 7 (currently $149 at Cricket Wireless with a port-in). Since my wife and parents already use Apple hardware as well, I can still FaceTime with them when needed (I travel frequently for work), and I can download Google Duo from the App Store for my brother who is an Android user. This also means I travel light since all I’m bringing is an iPad, iPhone, and AirPods…and hopefully a Nintendo Switch after Christmas 🙂 .

On most of this Apple hardware I plan on using Google’s services mainly because Google Photos is indispensable to me right now. Since Apple doesn’t offer shared photo libraries, my wife and I can drop into each other’s libraries on Google Photos at any time and save pictures and videos of the kids, then dump them directly into a shared album with the grandparents. The unlimited photo storage also means I don’t have to pay for extra iCloud storage – my wife and I are not professional photographers, and we’re not buying flagship devices with amazing cameras, so keeping the original image quality is not a concern for us when Google’s high resolution storage is “good enough.” I also use Keep, Gmail (dat interface tho), and Google Calendar and have a shared family calendar. Yes, I realize that Google is [probably] evil and doing who knows what with my data, and I still love Microsoft, but not a single person in my circle uses Microsoft, and convincing them to abandon whatever shiny Apple or Google thing they have right now is too difficult. Ironically, I use Bing as my primary search engine over Google and will probably continue to do so. I just like Bing, can’t put my finger on exactly why.

Finally, for consumable media (books, music, movies, TV shows), my plan is to use mostly Amazon (non-Prime). I let my Prime membership lapse when it came up for renewal in November because other than the two-day shipping and the Prime Music service, I didn’t see the value in the rest of their offerings. The Prime Video streaming options, quite frankly, suck when compared to Netflix or even Hulu. But I do love Amazon Music’s web and app interfaces and the way that it handles recommendations when compared to Apple Music and Spotify. My daughter has also been clamoring for an Echo Dot so she can play music in her room and ask Alexa silly questions, and if I ever switch to Apple Music or Spotify in the future, then these two services will work with the Dot as well. For books, I use a Kindle Paperwhite currently and will probably continue to use it for reading at home but will switch to reading on the iPad when I travel. For movies, it’s really a moot point due to Movies Anywhere, but I’ll buy from iTunes first thanks to the free 4K upgrade they offer. For TV shows, I’d rather just stick to streaming those from Netflix or Hulu, but if it’s a niche show that I absolutely must own – such as Tron: Uprising – I’ll probably get it on Amazon.

Anyway, now that you have an idea of my overly-complicated thought process, how about you all?

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