I’m a university student. Every day, the first thing I see when entering a lecture is someone surfing Facebook behind that iconic, glowing apple. The second is usually a casual flick through Twitter on a gorgeous black iPhone that’s cruelly hidden beneath an ugly, bulky case. At times like these, I’m embarrassed by the MacBook Pro stowed away in my bag. It weighs me down emotionally and physically as I choose a seat. After lecture, on the train home, I’m surrounded by e-books opened on iPads and white cords snaking out of barely concealed iPods. I see Apple everywhere. Apple, Apple, Apple. The worst thing is, I’m guilty of it too; I contribute to my own madness. Until a week ago, I was shackled to a MacBook Pro; there’s an iPad in my nightstand; and an old iPhone hides in my desk.
To put it simply, I’m tired of Apple. I’m tired of product refreshes bringing nothing new to the table. I’m tired of endless pages of rounded icons. I’m tired of coffee shops full of shiny Apples. I’m tired of apps trying to look like physical objects. I’m tired of iPhone mania. I’m tired of OS X. I’m tired of “magic.” I’m tired of that annoying Launchpad. But most of all, I’m tired of watching a company I once admired for being a bold, risk-taker let its product line become – dare I say it? – pedestrian. Feel free to disagree with me. You won’t change my mind.
This Apple-exhaustion has been building for a long time. First, I left my iPhone and tried Android for a while, though that only left a different, equally bitter taste in my mouth. I needed something more substantial, a replacement for Apple’s tightly integrated hardware ecosystem. With Android lacking the PC factor (I refuse to use a Chromebook), I only had one place left to turn: Microsoft.
Once the reigning king of personal computing, Microsoft has had a rough few years spent getting trampled by the competition, but lately all of that has changed. Microsoft is following in Apple’s footsteps, creating its own hardware, app ecosystem, and uniting Windows Phone with its desktop equivalent. Its long-awaited transformation is a tremendous achievement and I am ready to ride the coat tails, if only for the sheer thrill of it all. As of right now, I’ve decided to commit one hundred percent to Microsoft and all it has to offer. I’m retiring my current smartphone, tablet, and laptop to make room for a new Windows 8 hybrid and Windows Phone 8 device. And that’s not all, I’m also giving up my most beloved applications and web services to replace them with Microsoft alternatives.
It all boils down to this – Microsoft is the crazy one now. Microsoft is the one that believes it has the power to change the world (and the way we use computers). The software is information-packed, touch-friendly, and introduces a new design to a flat lined market. The hardware, though it may be half-baked in the first round, is boldly attempting to marry the mobility of a tablet with the productivity found in a laptop. The Surface RT is closest to successfully fusing the two dynamics but needs more time in the oven before it will be ready for the big time. Rather than attempting to placate its consumers, Microsoft is showing us something different, a new way of computing we will learn to appreciate. Its pushing us out of our comfort zones and I am ready to be pushed.
I know going all in on Microsoft will mean losing the devices and applications I’ve grown to love. I also know it’s going to be a huge change and maybe I will hate it, but I have to try. Microsoft represents everything I want out of a technology company: it’s daring, visually appealing, fast, and cohesive. I’m not ashamed to say that I want to stand out; I want to take risks; and I want to buy into innovation not stagnation.
I’m no stranger to switching operating systems. I’ve tried Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, webOS, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7, but I have never changed my technological habits this radically before. I mean it when I say that I’m starting fresh with Microsoft. It’s all or nothing. MacBook Pro? Gone. iPhone? Locked up. iPad? Left to die. Outlook will replace my Gmail account. Skype will take over instant messaging. Google+ is off-limits. I’ll be on SkyDrive not Google Drive. And Bing is my new preferred search engine. Feel free to alert me if I missed something! I want to be thorough.
I am sure you are all wondering what Windows devices will facilitate my transition from one walled garden to another. For that delicate task I have chosen Lenovo’s Yoga 13 for its inventive form factor, support of legacy apps, and integrated touchscreen. I’m using it to write this article and I can say that the last week with it has been equal amounts frustration and enjoyment. The first few days in particular were – to put it lightly – a nightmare, but I will get to that later. The Nokia Lumia 920 is my smartphone of choice. It has its share of problems, some more bothersome than others. However, I was immediately drawn to its laundry list of features, snappy performance, beautiful screen, and aggressive design.
As I dive headfirst into the uncharted waters of Windows 8 and attempt to recreate the life I left behind, I will bring you along for the ride in this weekly series of articles aptly named “The Life and Tiles of a Windows 8 Convert.” Through my personal trials, you will see what it is really like to make the switch to Windows. I’ll start with my first impressions of Windows Phone 8 before moving right into my first and very painful experience with the Yoga. The road may be rough, but there’s no turning back now.
Bring it on, Microsoft. I’m ready.