A Microsoft Epiphany


I know this wasn’t the intention of the last episode of Windows Weekly, but I am having an epiphany when it comes to my future of using Microsoft consumer products.

This week’s Windows Weekly was transformative for me. No, not dropping all I have (now) and going Apple but it has opened my mind to see what they are doing over there and appreciating it. It is tempting to go iPhone now that widgets and an app drawer (of sorts) is coming. The iPhone camera in someways has surpassed the Pixel and camera is the most important feature to me. And I actually like some of the changes in MacOS.

I have a Mix of Microsoft and Google which includes Surface Book 3 (read more below), Surface Pro X, XBOX, Microsoft 365, Nest Home Max and Subsequent Speakers, YouTube Premium, YouTube Music, YouTube TV. I use a Pixel 4XL and a WearOS Watch (Gen5). I’ve made this work but it seems like I am always met with frustrations or bending over backwards to make things flow. I sometimes think of going ALL Samsung with my phone, tablet and watch needs but I often get a little frustrated with their duplicate apps, extra services, their own app store and Bixby getting in the way. Due to performance issues with my Pixel, all to frequent Windows Update issues and having to keep this setup “well oiled”, I’m growing weary.

My work allowed me to upgrade to the Surface Book 3 (i7, 15″, 512GB, 32GB RAM) recently and I’ve used both the SB1 and SB2. I’ve been quite disappointed in the SB3. Not only does it feel more top heavy than the previous ones (the wobble is worse on this one), but Windows will lock up to where mouse, keyboard and touch will not respond, even if the system seems to be active (videos will keep playing). Often it will go away but 1-2 minutes later. I’ve reported this via the FEEDBACK app but not knowing when this will be fixed, I can’t keep fighting this.

I like XBOX but I am not much of a gamer these days. I could easily move to Apple TV or Nvidia Shield for my streaming needs. The XBOX is still a little clunky when it comes to navigating streaming services. I was one of the few who actually liked that the XBOX ONE was intended to be more media focused and actually used GUIDE to feed in my DirecTV and use the Kinect to change channels. But they scaled back their media vision and Kinect is nothing more for me than a Microphone to search YouTube videos with. And I dumped DirecTV for YouTube TV.

And let me just say this quickly – Why can’t there be a Smartwatch for Android users that feel as complete as Apple Watch? I’ve used Galaxy Watch and WearOS and both have some strengths but neither one is complete.

This is not a reactionary post…As a tech enthusiast, I’ve got to pause right now. Paul’s analogy of how Windows feels like Muhammad Ali in the ring one last time beyond his prime has given me pause on what works for me with my home network. I want a little more cohesion between my devices and I’m not getting that with my Microsoft / Google hybrid. Microsoft’s partnership with Samsung hasn’t yielded the panacea of better connecting Android / Microsoft devices (though YourPhone is making strides.)

It just feels like the right time to see if I need to change up my “What I Use” devices. I want a coherent whole and the recent Apple Announcements has piqued my interest in seeing if my life/workflow might run better with Apple.

Comments (30)

30 responses to “A Microsoft Epiphany”

  1. BigM72

    Thanks for this, this how I feel now. Having read this, I’ll give this week’s WW a listen.

    I’ve been on a ride over the years but it honestly feels like Windows is fading. There’s no compelling reason keeping me using it in a personal/leisure capacity beyond familiarity. There are reasons to switch though, applications I use being better on Mac or available there and not on Windows.

    • wolters

      In reply to BigM72:

      I used to game a lot but not enough to always keep a gaming quality PC/Laptop around...Steam has a decent selection of games for Mac and so does Itch and GOG. I do like retro gaming and I could do that easily with Parallel's on the Mac if needed.

      Like Paul said in the episode...I love Windows...I've used it as long as he has...but I can't sit and ignore the current state of it and how my tech needs are now flowing like they could with Apple.

      • dftf

        In reply to wolters:

        If you have the money to go all-Apple and feel it would improve your life then you don't need validation from anyone here, just do it if it suits you.

        As for me, I'm happy with my Android phone, Windows 10 (and Windows 7) PCs, and TV, soundbar and other-devices all made by different companies as I'm not bothered about them all being seamlessly integrated, I use them for individual things and they are treated as standalone setups.

        As for Apple stuff -- I love my old iPod Mini, though even has been using Rockbox for a good-many years now.

        Some people prefer devices to be separate, and do their own thing; others want all their devices linked-up seamlessly. If you prefer the latter, go Apple.

    • dftf

      In reply to BigM72:

      I wouldn't say "Windows is fading", it's just that now it's just "Windows 10" forevermore it doesn't have the same level-of-excitement that it used to when a major new version would come-along with a list of new features. Now it's just two big updates a year: a major one in the first-half of a year (e.g. 2004) which adds new features; then a smaller one in the second-half (e.g. 20H2), akin to what would be a Service Pack in "old-Windows" speak.

      Same for Microsoft Office: when it's done as-a-service, it's hard to get excited by new releases as features just drop-in.

      But I'd still wonder: have there been any massive new features in recent versions of macOS anyone has got excited over? I mean, macOS is essentially a service, like Windows 10: it became free with version 10.9 (Mavericks) in 2013, and is downloaded via the App Store like any-other app. So I'd say even for macOS the old-age excitement from popping in a disc with the latest version isn't there either now.

      • BigM72

        In reply to dftf:

        Nope, I stand by what I said and I gave the example in my comment.

        No one runs an OS just for itself, it's an enabling layer for you to do the things you want to do. Windows is getting some important development like WSL2 but for me in a personal/leisure capacity that's not relevant. Windows doesn't need user-facing features, but polish, ISV adoption of newer frameworks etc all matters.

        When I say Windows is fading, I mean the Windows ecosystem is fading. The types of hardware and form factors you can get, the choice applications and the quality of applications you can get. We're just seeing maintenance of existing applications using older frameworks, techniques and APIs.

        • longhorn

          In reply to BigM72:
          We're just seeing maintenance of existing applications using older frameworks, techniques and APIs.

          Correct. That there isn't a single browser targeting the UWP framework should tell you everything you need to know about the future of Windows. There is no future unless they continue with "legacy" aka Win32.

          Even Microsoft knows this despite pushing UWP, since they adopted Chromium and Electron for many of their applications: Edge, Skype, Teams, Visual Studio Code etc.

          There doesn't seem to be a vision for Windows, at least not a vision that is communicated to users and developers. This is a problem and explains lack of engagement from users and developers. That Nadella is completely "hands off" regarding Windows just adds to the feeling that Windows is a ship without a captain.

  2. rsfarris

    I made the switch about three years ago and I've slowly moved entirely over to Apple. I loved my Windows Phone but saw the writing on the wall and with my next upgrade went with the Samsung S8. I had (and still own it) a Surface Book at the time. I loved the direction Continuum seemed to be going. With the S8, I was hopeful about Your Phone, but other problems arose.

    I have ADHD, and I'm functional off meds, but better on. Even on medication, I quickly realized Android was a time suck for me as I could never replicate the simplicity of Windows Phone and I tried to. For too long. I eventually begged my partner to talk finances with me and switch to the iPhone X. I've had that phone for two years and can't imagine anything else in the current market. I'd still like Windows Phone if it were functional.

    Fast forward another year to Microsoft's decision to basically drop feature updates and I was doing the Insider thing for years before then. I got really tired of promised and dropped features like Sets, and then features just dried up altogether. Worse, they dropped Edge, which was highly functional for me with the Surface Book as an epub and PDF reader and editor, announced it too early, and people stopped developing for HTML5 as much. They didn't replace it with the new Edge fast enough, and the epub feature is gone. As an academic who uses epubs a whole heckuva lot, that was kind of a deal breaker as it rendered my Surface Book useless.

    Now I have a MacBook Pro and iPad mini. Everything syncs. It is exactly like how I imagined Continuum was going to be. So am I excited that iOS 14 is going to be more like Windows Phone? Absolutely. Am I miffed at the years I wasted on Microsoft? A little. I'm just going to let it go. I still use their software and am a massive Xbox fan. I don't think they'll screw those up. But hardware and Windows are pretty much out. I feel guilty for convincing my wife to ditch her old Macbook for a Surface Pro. She has a MacBook Air now and made the switch before I did because she got fed up. She's not even a tech enthusiast or media person. She just writes academic essays on it and couldn't even do that efficiently on her SP3 any more.

    TL;DR: I feel this.

    • illuminated

      In reply to rsfarris:

      Edge dropped support for epub and it made Surface Book useless? Also writing essays on SP3 is horrible because?

      It is all just weird. Most likely there are no rational reasons. Decisions are made emotionally and the brain just tries to make up some reasons afterwards.

      • rsfarris

        In reply to illuminated:

        It rendered it useless for my primary use, yes (also consider this was a factor in my decision to purchase it in the first place--we went paperless in our house). There are other uses, like light gaming, that I still use it for. But as a tool for my academic work, it became quite bad. I could still use it to write hand-written notes, but the iPad replaces that. Third party epub readers lacked the significant feature set that Edge's reader had (mind you the MacBook doesn't fix this--the iPad does, so it's not an even trade, but the shared and synced ecosystem makes up for it). Her SP3 developed recurring capacitative issues that I had to fix every few weeks by recalibrating the screen. It became too slow to handle Word and Excel and they strained its resources. This was within 3 years of purchase, which is unacceptable for flagship hardware. These were definitely decisions made with a lot of consideration and not made lightly. We're grad students. The switch was quite financially difficult to juggle, but our work lives are much better. This is just testimony, and I wish it weren't the case. I loved the Surface brand and loved my Lumia 950. I still miss it but am missing it less and less as Apple goes the direction Microsoft couldn't.

  3. illuminated

    Apples is like a black hole. If you buy iPhone then you will never get android tablet and eventually will end up with all your choices dictated by Apple. This is an expensive and a bit scary situation. I like my android phone and tablet, windows pc and smart watch that has a decent battery life without android or iOS on it.

  4. Alex Foster

    I used to use Windows Phones, Surface RT, Microsoft Band, Zune/Xbox music pass and even Media Center extenders. I feel that as a consumer Microsoft has totally abandoned the consumer space in a meaningful way. Not only this but they wasted great opportunities. Zune Pass was ahead of its time but keeping it US/Canada only for so long was stupid. I deeply miss Windows Phone. After watching WWDC I can see where my future is and that is mostly with Apple. I will be getting an iPhone 12, upgrading my iPad and when I can afford it get an ARM based Mac Pro and MacBook Pro.

    I am sick of the neglect of the Windows store, the half baked attempts at Cortona, fluid UI etc. Does anyone remember the creators update? Look at how all of those features were neglected and have never been updated. I will however cling onto my HTPC with Media Center as I haven’t found an adequate replacement.

    Microsoft is well on its way to being an IBM, Oracle type of company. The only thing I am happy with is the performance of my MS stock.

  5. codymesh

    "Why can’t there be a Smartwatch for Android users that feel as complete as Apple Watch"

    this has been a question that's been asked a lot, but there is no answer. The industry simply has not been able to come together to offer an Apple Watch competitor. People blame snapdragon for not updating their smartwatch SoC, people blame Google's lack of optimization for Wear OS and its bloatedness, and some people blame OEMs for not putting out exciting smartwatch designs that drive customer interest. 

    In reality, its probably a combination of all of these factors. I remember when the PC industry struggled to come up with an answer to the MacBook Air, and the industry finally came together with partnerships to create "ultrabooks", spearheaded by Intel, which finally moved the needle on thin-and-light PCs. Unfortunately, I don't think this will happen for smartwatches.

    I also can't forget but to mention that there were extremely competent startups like Pebble who offered a unique take on smartwatches (with an unfortunate distribution strategy), but these startups were torpedoed by Google's desperation of wanting to own every internet touchpoint. So when Google pretended to be serious about Android Wear in 2014 with the same Android OEM strategy, it was only a matter of time before vertically-integrated startups would fold.

    • wolters

      In reply to codymesh:

      I have both a WearOS Watch (Gen5) and a Galaxy Watch Active 2. I'll come right out and say the Active 2 is the best all round smartwatch for Android users. No question about it. Especially the 2-4 day battery life.

      Yet, I use my WearOS Gen5 watch daily. Why? I asked myself that question a lot and I guess because it is just a "tad" more integrated with my Pixel 4XL. I use Google Assistant a lot to control lighting, add things to shopping list and to ask general questions. I also like how I get instant NEST Photo previews when it detects motion (Galaxy Watch is very hit and miss on this.) One thing that is crazy is that when I get a Google Assistant Reminder, it doesn't pop up on watch for me to mark done or snooze yet it will on Galaxy Watch. I get "about a full day" with the watch but that is with tilt to wake, touch to wake, WiFi, always on screen turned off. I don't have to do that with the Galaxy Watch Active.

      If the Galaxy Watch would allow you to choose your assistant (like my Surface Headphones do now), I'd stay with the Galaxy Watch.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to codymesh:

      Another nice thing that Wear watches could do is be smaller than the Death Star.

      • bschnatt

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        Or be square! One of my favorite things about my Pebble Time Steel is the square-with-rounded-corners appearance. I don't like round watches (probably because I don't like "classic" watches with hands). I grew up on Star Trek, Buck Rogers, et. al., and I prefer the rounded square look...

        • jimchamplin

          In reply to bschnatt:

          That alone would go a long way toward reducing the size. So much wasted space because of the weird obsession Watch OS OEMs have with giant round watches.

          Some of them make dive watches look small!

  6. minke

    Between various jobs and personal use I use Microsoft, Apple, Google and Chromebooks, Android, and Linux systems. At the moment, I don't personally own an iPhone, but everyone around me does so I am pretty familiar with how they work. For the average person Apple's ecosystem is by far the easiest to just ignore and have a quality experience, but not for gamers. It is also the most expensive in initial cost, but the longer term cost is probably competitive. I currently manage a mostly Apple office and previously managed a mostly Windows office. The upfront cost of the PCs and peripherals was less, but the ongoing maintenance was far, far more than running the Apple office. You can go years without a significant glitch in the Apple world. Updates just happen and you're done. On the other hand, my Windows office paid outside IT experts thousands every year to fix stuff, and I doubt we went a week without some Windows problem or another. In the Apple office we do use Microsoft 365 and both local and online programs, and they are decent for the most part. OneDrive can be glitchy, but Office is the business standard and must be used by most of us. Personally, I like Gmail with Drive and Docs, and Photos is the best online photo backup out there. I also use a Chromebook and have had zero issues other than flaky Bluetooth. I've turned some others onto Chromebooks who were skeptical, and now they are converts. Chromebooks are the most hassle free way to enjoy modern computing. I am not a gamer so that stuff doesn't matter to me. Also own a Pixel 2 phone and love the seamless integration with Android, Google/Gmail, Photos, my Chromebook. And, they all now use USB C so I can use the same chargers! I've repurposed various older PCs with various flavors of Linux too. Personally, I find it much more statisfying to use n a daily basis than either Apple or Windows, but it does require various workarounds and substitutions. It is fun if you are a little bit geeky, but probably not for most people. Again, not for most gamers. I find maintaining the Linx box is far less hassle than maintaining a Windows 10 box.

  7. jlv632

    Microsoft made the choice for me. I was a huge Microsoft fanboy to the point where I was even wearing the Band past the shut off date and even used a Lumia up until November last year (almost made it to the end)! Back in February, I went to cash in some Microsoft Rewards point after spending close to $7000 AUD on Microsoft Movies and TV over 6 years and I've been blocked from their rewards program and it turns out... it was a non negotiable "Life Time" ban. When I asked why.. I had done one of the following but they wouldn't tell me which one:

    • Maintaining more than one (1) Microsoft Rewards account
    • Maintaining more than six (6) Microsoft Rewards accounts per household
    • Residing outside of the fifty (50) United States and District of Columbia, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan and United Kingdom.
    • Hiding or obscuring your true IP address or location
    • Using a bot, macro, or other automated process to generate searches
    • Searching without the good faith purpose of obtaining Bing search results

    The only one which is possible that I could have done is I use a VPN service (who doesn't?) which Ironically came from the Microsoft store !?! The fact I can't be given an answer, there was no warning and this is how they treat their customers... Microsoft needs to die a terrible death on the Consumer front. I've ceased using Edge, Bing, I now own a Playstation 4 and use my VPN service to get my content other ways which up until February... was happy to buy off Microsoft.

    This is being sent from my Surface Laptop, the 14th and last Surface Device that I'll own. I'll have to stick with Windows as their isn't much else as far Desktop OS's go but yeah... stunned that Movies and TV will see life after June 30th this year. Behind the scenes I can see them dealing with Google and/or Apple as to how to wind this service down. The fact that iOs or Andriod apps never saw the light of day means it's a dead duck.

    Former Microsoft Fan Boy. Once a Big Time spender in Microsoft Stores (Digital and Physical) but that's all stopped.

    • wolters

      In reply to jlv632:

      I am glad we are not alone in our frustrations...I held out on the Microsoft Band for a long time too...it was quite good. And I held on to Windows Media Center and Zune as long as I could but left Windows Phone in fall of 2015.

      Side note - I remember a CBS Morning interview of Nadella and they asked him two questions early on...Is Windows Phone here to stay and he grinned and said "Yes."...then they asked, will there ever be a Microsoft Watch...and he paused and said "We do...Microsoft Band." And that "We Do...Microsoft Band" has been part of my vernacular since when any time I need to respond with I do or we do... ;)

      I have truly considered returning my Surface Book 3 for a Macbook Pro 16" in an effort to perhaps make a move. The Surface Book 3 (as mentioned above) has been a let down. I just need to see how well Parallel's can emulate classic games (from GOG mostly.)

  8. the escalation

    Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. I just sprung for an iPhone Xr a couple of weeks ago, and while I'm running Microsoft apps on it, I find myself wondering what the point is anymore when Apple's built-in apps could probably serve my needs in the same way. I almost bought some Surface Earbuds, but after reading about the master/slave pairing I quickly reversed course and am now considering the Airpods Pro instead. I'm also strongly considering an iPad for when I can travel again.

    I don't use Office outside of work, and I honestly can't remember the last time I used Word or PowerPoint for anything personal, so Apple's iWork suite is probably fine. iCloud also seems like a decent replacement for OneDrive, Apple Music isn't up to par with Spotify but is probably good enough, and Notes and Reminders could easily replace OneNote and ToDo.

    About the only Microsoft services I could still see myself sticking with are Authenticator, SwiftKey, and possibly Outlook to consolidate the Mail and Calendar apps into one. Oh yeah, and Bing, so I can get my one free Starbucks drink per quarter.

    My Fire TV has the Apple TV app on it, as does Roku...

    I don't know. When compared to Microsoft I just don't care for Apple (or Google), but it also seems like that's the *only* reason I'm still with Microsoft.

    • wolters

      In reply to the escalation:

      That is interesting what you said...When compared to Microsoft I just don't care for Apple (or Google), but it also seems like that's the *only* reason I'm still with Microsoft.

      We as Microsoft fans don't have much more left on the consumer side...Windows and XBOX is about it. And I feel if they could get rid of XBOX, they could and would. I guess my hangup is legacy gaming...I want the option to pull up an occasional classic game on my primary device and not have to maintain another device for gaming. This is why I am so curious about how well I can emulate that on a Mac. And Obviously, we can use an iPhone in a Windows world but with the onset of YourPhone and just plug in your phone and transfer files, I can see why a lot of Windows fans use Android.

      I did have a "Morning After" effect after posting this and seeing Paul's response to the Apple Stuff. I did get an iPad Pro 12.9 inch with Pencil but you know, after initial setup and looking at the static icons, I was like, so, what next? And even ordered an AppleTV and went to Best Buy to pick it up. They closed at 6PM so I didn't get to pick it up...which was fine because I agonized about it on the way to get it.

      So if I made the move, the time may not be now...if I don't' feel compelled to finish setting up this iPad pro, I'll return it and ride out the next wave of seeing where Microsoft goes.

      • nine54

        In reply to wolters:

        What you're learning is that it doesn't pay to a "fan" of tech anymore: you should just use whatever you brings you the most utility or enjoyment at that time. If that's Apple and its devices great; if it's a combo of Microsoft and Samsung, that's great, too.

        The problem is that for tech enthusiasts, this is hard to do. It's hard to do for anyone that gravitates towards brand loyalty and competition. You've been this faithful steward all along, evangelizing a brand wherever you can and fighting this principled "battle" with the "enemy." But at the end of the day, there really is no other side; it's just different companies battling for your walletshare and mindshare.

        After a stint as a Mac user (before Macs were "cool") and then a long run as an Apple hater, I bought a MacBook, largely to see what the fuss was all about. Fast forward 10 years and I'm still using a Mac, and last year I switched to an iPhone. With Android, it just always felt like you had to sacrifice something to stay in that ecosystem. Devices would have great screens but mediocre battery life or camera; top-notch build quality, but mediocre software experience, etc. It reminds me of how Windows laptops were for several years. You'd see a new device with an awesome display or cool design, but then read a review noting a subpar trackpad or keyboard.

        Apple just has this knack of putting together an experience that feels cohesive in a solid all-around device package. Is every component of their devices class-leading? No, but some are and the ones that aren't are usually still towards the top. And Apple knows that having a comfortable keyboard or silky-smooth trackpad are far more likely to impact your day-to-day experience than a few more gigahertz in your CPU.

        If you want to dabble in the Apple ecosystem, check out their Outlet store. Devices refurbished by Apple really are as good as new and come with a standard warranty. One warning: if you do switch to an iPhone and most of your friends and family use iPhones, it will be harder to switch off of it due to iMessage.

      • kitron

        In reply to wolters:

        If Apple ends up doing this Continuum thing like it is being reported that is going to accelerate the move away from Windows. It will be hard to gain those customers back.

  9. j5

    I think this feeling of frustration with Windows is only felt amongst us geeks! I mean the average consumer and business user could care less that there's some outdated icons in the system. And even then those icons are deep into the system that I bet they've never even seen them. The majority of Windows users just want to get online, go to the websites they want, play some games and use the software they need and that's it. And Windows is great at doing all that!

    Sure it has some issues like; privacy and Windows Update. But again for the majority of Windows users it's not a big deal. They understand the trade off of features/use for their metadata. And I bet the average Windows user isn't constantly pushing the Windows Update or looking up how to install the latest updates before they're pushed to their systems lol, I mean come on. They just let Windows update it's self.

    Apple making their next os update look pretty isn't a death blow to Windows. Doesn't anyone remember how the industry was digging into Apple when Windows 10 came out and all the little tweaks it had? I think this is jus the ebb and flow of the tech industry and specifically between Mac and Windows.

    And if you're trying to take a reasonable look at this, well is it reasonable to replace working devices with other devices that do the same thing, along with the cost of doing that?

    I think you said it best in that you're a "tech enthusiast." So if that's true you're never going to be satisfied with either platform. All us tech geeks feel this way. We're like dogs that see a squirrel, oooh look a that new feature, oooh look how cool that UI is other there lol.

  10. johnh3

    I had som Microsoft products in the past including Surface RT and some Microsoft/Nokia Lumias. I think Ballmer stepped down to early. They never get out the potential of the Nokia investement, since Nadella was against it from the start.

    Still got a Windows PC. But Nadellas vision seems to be to make Microsoft a sort of Oracle only focused on business.

    He told one time he saw no point with three eco systems in mobile or something similar.

    And I think Apple might to be to dominant on the consumer space. If one company is to dominant I think its bad in the long run.

    Google struggling in gadgets to, they basicly give up on tablets and Pixel phones sells porly.

    I suppose its good for Apple but bad for consumers with a player that got almost a sort of monopoly.

  11. wolters

    In reply to Waethorn:

    Considering I posted this a few moments before the "Microsoft Store" closing article, it may be both.

  12. crp0908

    The locking up you are experiencing with your SB3 sounds like what I am experiencing on the Dell Latitude 9510. I don't experience this with the older models that I use. It's probably just a driver issue that hopefully the manufacturer will fix soon. Sometimes we experience "growing pains" when we adopt bleeding edge new hardware.

  13. martinusv2

    I feel the same way. But me preferred tools are on Windows (Delphi). And I play some games that are not ported to consoles. I should check Stellaris or Xcom to see how well they play on consoles. But games like Galactic Civilisation III, Battletech and Ashes of Singularity, are not on consoles. So kind of stuck on Windows.

    But man... Microsoft is not helping with all the mess with Windows. UI wise and buggy updates.

  14. dftf

    "I am having an epiphany when it comes to my future of using Microsoft consumer products."

    The only real consumer product-line (well, "brand") Microsoft has is Xbox. Windows 10 most average home-users get as it comes preinstalled on their PC, and Office -- well, not sure if Office 2019 still gets pre-installed on some more-expensive PCs, or how many people just use the free "Office Online" versions of the apps. (Maybe Paul could run the numbers there... is Microsoft 365 subscriptions actually a big-thing for home-users, or does most money come from corporate subsciptions?)

    "The iPhone camera in someways has surpassed the Pixel and camera is the most important feature to me."

    The Google Pixel line doesn't have the absolute-best Android cameras, just great ones for the prices, especially on the 3a: Samsung and Nokia, as but two examples, both have higher-end models with better cameras, so getting an iPhone just on the basis of comparing its camera only to the Pixel line is a bit odd. Android isn't only Google Pixels!

    "I’ve made this work but it seems like I am always met with frustrations or bending over backwards to make things flow".

    If you have the money to afford it, and want as much simplicty as-possible, then absolutely Apple is the way-to-go. Hence why their products come at a premium. (And compatability between Apple products and non-Apple products can then be an issue: I know many people who used Apple's AirPort routers who said they never had any issues with their macs, iPads or iPhones connecting to them, but non-Apple devices would regularly disconnect or run at slow-speeds. Similarly, "Your Phone" on Windows 10 is virtually pointless for an iOS device, but only as Apple won't let Microsoft make it work).

    "I sometimes think of going ALL Samsung with my phone, tablet and watch needs but I often get a little frustrated with their duplicate apps, extra services, their own app store and Bixby getting in the way."

    While I agree most of the duplicate Samsung apps are pointless, you are able to uninstall or disable the vast-majority of them on recent handsets. You're also not forced to use their app-store, and Bixby can also be turned off. (You can even install a different launcher app entirely if you like, including ones that mimic iOS!)

    "Due to performance issues with my Pixel, all to frequent Windows Update issues and having to keep this setup /well oiled/, I’m growing weary."

    No performance-issues on my Pixel 3a here, and no major issues with Windows 10 updates on my personal PC, nor any for my immediate family on their laptops (bar some rare occassions where drivers needed reinstalling or updating) though I agree the current outsourcing of testing to those in the Insider Program really isn't working-out well, and we have seen some issues arise at work -- even where, as a business, we hold-back from the latest version (most machines are on 1903, with 1909 going-out later this year).

    "...but Windows will lock up to where mouse, keyboard and touch will not respond, even if the system seems to be active"

    Maybe a thermal issue, especially if it happens after (1) being on for a while or (2) when doing intensive-things, like opening a large image or CAD drawing, video file-format conversion or gaming. Not unique to the Surface line: even some Apple computers can have thermal issues, such-as recent MacBook Air models as they use "passive-cooling" (no fan). The obsolete G4 Cube and Apple III also notably had bad thermal issues too. Jobs was apparently not keen on "noisy fans".

    "I could easily move to Apple TV or Nvidia Shield for my streaming needs."

    Future PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo consoles will all eventually be stream-only, once most Western Internet is capable-enough. More-money to be made closing the second-hand sale market, and reducing piracy.

    "... Kinect is nothing more for me than a microphone to search YouTube videos with"

    Outside of the original Nintendo Wii, I'm not sure things like Kinect on Xbox or EyeToy for PS2 were ever widely-used, no. (SIXAXIS in the PS3 controllers was also mostly just a gimmic too, that most games rarely used.)

    "I want a little more cohesion between my devices and I’m not getting that with my Microsoft / Google hybrid. [...] I want a coherent whole and the recent Apple announcements has piqued my interest in seeing if my life/workflow might run better with Apple."

    If the main thing you want is everything to "just work", yes, go fully Apple: that's pretty-much their selling-point! You'll pay a premium for it, though. But with the new ARM based mac computers due, might be worth holding-off for now to see how that pans-out. If you don't need the most-powerful mac in the world, the ARM processor ones might be better as battery-life could see a big improvement.

    • longhorn

      In reply to dftf:
      If you have the money to afford it, and want as much simplicity as-possible, then absolutely Apple is the way-to-go. Hence why their products come at a premium.

      True. But Apple pricing is insane outside US. That's why macOS market share will likely not rise above 10% globally even if they make it better. Statcounter currently shows Mac market share at 18% globally which is pretty shocking - when did that happen? iPads can actually be had pretty cheap so some people may just use a tablet instead of a PC.

      It's Windows for productivity and gaming, has always been. Windows isn't bad, but MS is betting the farm on a dead horse, UWP. Microsoft didn't believe they could modernize Win32 so they let it sit and rotten. Instead we got a half-hearted attempt at "modern" with UWP, but the gap between Win32 and UWP is simply too big. There is a giant lesson Microsoft can learn from Apple how Apple gradually tightened macOS without making it impossible for devs to come along.

      What needed to happen 10 years ago is that MS made a separate branch of Windows with backward compatibility for business and a consumer version with more modernized Win32. Instead we got the RT/Modern/UWP crap that was completely incompatible with Win32.

      It's never too late for MS to do the right thing. Whatever Apple does with macOS it will always be a niche thing, at least outside US. Not being able to run Windows x86/x64 on ARM Macs may result in people leaving the platform.

      Also Apple has had pretty serious hardware problems. No desktop offerings (Mac Mini disappeared for several years as did Mac Pro). Thermal/fan problems and keyboard problems on laptops. And the ever present pricing problem. Apple is what it is thanks to the iPhone. macOS is nothing special except it integrates with other Apple products. Even Apple fans say macOS is slower and buggier than ever. Troubleshooting Macs is no fun. You are on your own unless there is an Apple Store in your country.

      But if you live in the US where Apple products are less overpriced and there are Apple Stores, then it might be a better deal. There is a reason Macs have something like 25% market share in the US. US is where Apple tries to be competitive. The rest of the world is just a bonus. If I lived in the US I would probably swallow my pride/stubbornness and just visit an Apple Store and buy what I need and be done with it. In Europe I'm not going to do that, because it's just a waste of money. I also use software that only runs on Windows and Linux. macOS is also destined to become more niche with the transition to ARM - even less gaming (except iOS gaming). I found this comment from Reddit to be pretty insightful.

      "Agreed. The move to ARM is like the final form of Tim Cook’s “we control everything” Apple. It really makes me sad because I loved the older MacBooks and iMac’s that offered easy upgrades. Running Linux wasn’t the easiest thing, but it was nice that it didn’t feel like Apple was actively hostile to users. I could at least rationalize the lock down on iOS due to it being a unitask device. Developers already have to jump through tons of hoops to port software to Mac, but now it‘s getting so bad that software is either directed at iPhone or half ass developed by Adobe. Hardly anyone is going to be willing to develop software for a completely proprietary desktop computer."

      If Apple prices ARM Macs competitively they can remain relevant, otherwise they will fade into sub 10% market share (globally) or worse.