The Apple Ecosystem

The Apple Ecosystem

Back in March I tried out the Apple AirPods Max for 2 weeks. I was looking to replace the ear cups on my Surface Headphones 2 and was having trouble with Microsoft Support so while dealing with that I decided to pick up a pair of AirPods Max to try out. Using the headphones for the first time is incredibly easy when using an iPhone or iPad. Just put them near your device and you'll be prompted to set the device up. Like with the Apple AirPods Pro the noise cancellation on the Max are top tier. Noticibly better than noise cancellation on the Surface Headphones 2. I even had a flight during the 2 weeks I had the AirPods Max so I brought both the Max and my Surface Headphones onto the plane and tried both. While neither are silent the AirPods Max are much better about greatly reducing airplane engine noise along with cabin air noise.

My two big issues with the AirPods Max was that there was no multipoint support and that starting playback on my Windows desktop while using Firefox was delayed by a few seconds almost every time. AirPods Max do have auto switching between Apple devices registered to the same Apple ID but work on a Windows desktop while using a iPhone. Having to manually switch to listen to something on my phone or desktop was very annoying. One thing I also missed from the Surface Headphones 2 was that they include a built in mute button. No matter if I'm on my phone, iPad, or desktop I can press a button on my Surface Headphones to mute my mic. Double checking just now though it seems like Apple has added the ability to mute AirPods now with iOS 17 which came out in September 2023.

I definitely wanted to like the AirPods Max but there were enough issues that led me to be happy to return them once I hit my 2 week return window. If I had more buy-in to the Apple ecosystem I think it would make more sense to own a pair but currently I'm firmly between Microsoft and Apple. I currently own an iPhone, an iPad, and an Apple Watch, I pay for the lowest amount of iCloud Storage for iMessage backups, and I pay for Apple Fitness+. My main headphones are the previously mentioned Surface Headphones 2 while I use the Jabra Elite 7 Pro earbuds (which also have multipoint!). Then I have my main hand built Windows desktop and a variety of Windows laptops I use (personal and 2 work laptops).

I can't even really imagine switching to Apple for my personal devices because I still play a decent amount of video games. If I decided for some reason to become a console gamer I could swap my desktop and laptop for a MacBook Pro since I probably would not need the extra thermal headroom provided by the Mac Studio. I'd get both AirPods Pro and Max risking my Pros when biking in the rain. Microsoft has made good strides in working on all ecosystems so I assume I could stay on OneDrive for all my cloud storage needs.

Right now on the mixed ecosystem lifestyle there is a friction when trying to interact with the Apple world. Microsoft finally got Phone Link working with iPhones so I can sometimes send and receives messages on my Windows desktop but it still needs work. My Surface Headphones don't like to play nice with my iPad. They work together but the best way to ensure they don't connect together first overriding my desktop connection is to leave Bluetooth on my iPad off unless I need to use it. I have learned to live with these minor annoyances but Apple does do its best to try and pull people into the gravitational well that is their ecosystem.

Random note, 10 years ago today I started this new blog. My old blog started out directly hosted on WordPress (it's still actually up). I then moved to a self hosted WordPress instance using cPanel to manage it and then moving to this self hosted Ghost instance 10 years ago today. Last night I actually updated my main web server, Caddy, to support HTTP/3. As you can tell my blog posts have been few and far between but I've still managed to publish at least one post every year.

Next year I head into my 4th year at Microsoft starting on a new team, a big year for housing in the city of Seattle, and my 30th birthday. Here's looking forward to a good year. Happy New Year everyone!