It started with Spotify, but where will it end?

I’ve used Apple Music exclusively for a few years as it came free with my Verizon plan. Before that I jumped back and forth between it and Spotify. This past year with the innovations Spotify has made and the lack of much updates with Apple Music, I switched to Spotify and I’m glad I did. I heard someone say on a podcast that Apple makes great software to go with it’s hardware but it doesn’t always make the best stand alone software. It got me wondering, am I missing out on other software options by staying completely in the Apple ecosystem? So far to date I’ve tried and liked,

  • Left Apple Mail app and moved completely to Hey.com. (could not be happier with this!)
  • Canceled my Apple One subscription and left Apple News for a cheaper subscription to NYT, WSJ. (wasn’t reading the magazines at all)
  • I still pay for 2TB iCloud due to the whole family needing the space for backups but contemplating moving my document workflow to Dropbox which I used for years but left for iCloud to save a few bucks)
  • Left Podcasts app for Pocketcasts and Spotify.
  • Left Apple Calendar for Fantastical

I’m still using Apple Reminders and Apple Notes and my most used Apple apps now are iMessage, Photos.

I really want to love Apple’s apps and use them but the lack of updates and innovation on the software side, while understandable, is disappointing. I understand they have billions of users and it’s a delicate balance of not changing too much at once but maybe push some of these apps out as stand alone updates instead of system updates? I know Apple can only focus on so much every year but I’m finding that my time, money, and productivity are better invested in companies who’s sole business is these apps. I hope in time Apple proves me wrong.

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It’s a balance. I stopped using Dropbox because their mission creep made me worry, e.g. requesting admin access on the Mac which was not required.

Whilst it’s fair to say there’s limit to what Apple can do each year, I think that they’re still seriously underinvesting in their software. E.g. Apple Photos should have a dedicated team which works on the app all of the time, it should be progressed EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. In significant ways (even if those significant ways are fixing the many bugs and omissions), the same for Calendar, the App Stores, tvOS, Apple Notes, Apple Reminders, FaceTime, Messages, GarageBand, Logic, Final Cut, Apple Mail, Safari, pages, numbers and keynote, Sure rotate developers, but ensure that everything moves forward every year.

I hear people saying that macOS is “Finished,” it’s solved. I don’t agree with that, especially with the many bugs present, but the apps which sit on top of it are far from finished. Photos isn’t even as feature rich as iPhoto was when it was canned.

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Surely a NYT and WSJ subscription is a lot more than Apple News. News is $10/month? You can get the NYT for cheap for one year (I have $4/month) but then it goes up to $140 a year. And the WSJ is something like $30/month.

But News also gets you some really great magazines as well. Not saying direct subscriptions aren’t better for some people, but News is a pretty good deal in my book.

I like Apple News but the UI isn’t to my liking and I like really just news. I find Apple News gives me way too many recommendations I don’t need. I got NYT and WSJ for $4 a month each. Been canceling when they go up and getting the $4 rate a month later again.

THIS!!! Completely agree. They should do what Google Photos was doing before Google ya know, did what it normally does and started to abandon it.

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I have made similar changes and have not looked back. Unfortunately, I think the fact is now that Apple’s software quality for individual apps is just not up to snuff compared to their competition. Honestly, Safari, iMessage and FaceTime are the only sticky apps they have left for me.

Regarding some other apps:

  • Instead of reminders I’ve used Todoist free with fantastical with great functionality (now the fantastical widget shows both my tasks and calendars with app native functionality and no dependence on the device)
  • I’ve been trying to use Apple Maps but a recent road trip I took as part of my move showed me that google maps is still king
  • For notes, I don’t have much to do right now but am loving obsidian synced to iCloud with editing using markdown editors on iOS for the data portability right now

You took the $4/month WSJ deal? I used to be a subscriber, until a decade or so ago, and have been tempted my these sales. But then I remember having to call them to cancel and I carefully move my cursor away from the “Act Now” button :grinning:. I’m retired now and don’t like it enough to pay $468/year.

Mail, Calendar, and Safari were our default apps at my last employer and were, for the most part, trouble free. (Some versions of Mail were flaky but Apple normally fixed them before the next OS upgrade). iMessage/Messages was everyone’s favorite - because they kept it logged into their private iCloud account. Very few needed or used Notes and Reminders. Everyone had OpenOffice or MS Office for spreadsheets and word processing. We didn’t do presentations so no one used Keynote or Powerpoint, etc.

I think Apple’s goal for their built in apps is to provide good basic apps suitable for the majority of their customers. And IMO, they have succeeded. Today, when they fail to perform properly I feel it is due to iCloud sync not the apps.

I agree. There is no one size fits all. And even when you find a solution that works for you, things change and we have to adjust.

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If Adobe Creative Cloud goes Linux-native, it’ll be tempting to completely ditch Apple for my next laptop.

i’ve gone native apple when ever i can.

but i use fantastical and other notes apps.

but one large move in apples direction i made

PAGES is now my writer. i’ve spent 30 years on word. in windows, then mac.

lawyer by trade. Pages is just kinder and better for most things i do and need. particularly simple yet important things, like arranging text on a page. Pages is much, MUCH easier to manage than Word in this regard.

IIR, the reason i didn’t use Pages for years is because it lacked floating text boxes. i’m not sure when the update came, but it has it now and i couldn’t be happier.

EDIT: i could not function without iMessage. i HATE it when a client has an android phone.

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Keynote is also much better than PowerPoint.

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@wweber i’ve heard this, too. i don’t use them enough to know; only occasionally.

Apple native apps that can be used for free are all amazing. But then, the problem is:

that. I reluctantly ditched Safari for Firefox on iOS. iCloud tab syncing and handoff has been terrible. Mozilla’s tab syncing and “send tab to device” is more reliable.

Lucky me background sync for Reminders.app is still great, better than Due’s.
I use Things 3 for task management, but occasionally use Reminders to… remind me (to turn off stove in 3 minutes, to call somebody in 1 hour, etc.).


In my case, I use non-Apple apps for music, podcast, also mentioned earlier web browser and reminder.

Music goes to Spotify. I have been their loyal customer since high school. It also has better progress syncing.
Podcasts goes to Pocket Casts. I pay for the better UX, the progress syncing, and more flexible source of podcast.

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Reading over this, it’s interesting to see.

I’ve dabbled with Spotify and I’m currently on a three month sign up for Apple Music, as they did a special £10 for three month deal to get me back. However, stuff like this is what turns me off streaming music - I own the album, and it should be in Apple Match, but it’s only allowing me to access two of the tracks?

At least Apple Music supports Match, rather than Spotify.

As I’m a cross platform user, I tend to favour solutions that work on all devices I use. However, I also bear in mind my wife is iPad only and therefore any shared solutions have to work here. We do use the family sharing which is great, but I use non Apple apps to access (Busycal on both iOS and Mac for example).

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I tried Apple Music recently and had a terrible experience.

  1. It always tried to auto play
  2. You can’t save your liked songs
  3. There’s no Discover Weekly or Daily Mix equivalent
  4. There’s far less community benefit - e.g. other people’s playlists
  5. The UI is nowhere near as good as Spotify
  6. Saving offline seems like a pain on Apple Music - easy on Spotify
  7. There’s no obvious “top songs” by each artist
  1. What do you mean by auto play? Where it keeps random music after playing music after it’s done with your current playlist? You can turn that off.
  2. Sure you can, add to library. Or make a smart playlist for liked songs.
  3. There is a new music playlist of bands it thinks you will like. Your personal station will also throw in stuff it thinks you will like.
  4. To each their own, but good.
  5. Apple Music could certainly use some work. Not to mention the app on Macs (especially Intel Macs), is terrible.
  6. Just hit the download to library button, it’s pretty easy.
  7. When you go to an artist, top songs is the very first thing you see. Then essential albums. More popular artists usually have an “essential” playlist as well.

The only thing I found that Spotify does better is stats. Apple’s trying with the “Replay” lists, but last December people were posting their Spotify year in review things all over the internet, it really showed how lacking Apple Music is.

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Apple’s native software that comes included with Macs isn’t designed to compete heavily with 3rd Party devs. Often they are designed to create a baseline of expectations for software functionality and test Apple Developer Library, Framework and API.

Now Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro and Apple’s paid apps are more aggressive on feature updates because people have paid for them and that requires more substantive development.

I love replacing Apple apps for this reason. They exist to get me acclimated to features, UI Paradigms and more and when I exhaust their capabilities I’m more knowledgeable about what my next step needs are making it easier to evaluate 3rd party products.

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Does anyone else notice when going to play a frequently updated AM playlist in shuffle mode, the same darn songs seem to come up?? Spotify never did this to me…btw I stick with AM because it’ll play on my Apple Watch seamlessly. Essential for the gym.