So I’ve moved over to iOS for phone and tablet, and we know I’m moving to macOS for my laptop, but am I 100% immersing myself into Apple’s ecosystem?
Well, I guess the easy answer to that is “no”!
The longer answer is possibly more nuanced.
I enjoy taking photographs and am constantly learning about photography – better techniques, better post-processing workflows and generally how to improve. To that end a little over a year ago I took the decision to invest in the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan. For less than £10 a month I get Lightroom and Photoshop for use on 2 machines, and permanently kept up-to-date. I took the time to move my entire back catalogue into Lightroom, for archival purposes as much as anything else. That catalogue is now available to me anytime and anywhere courtesy of the Creative Cloud website and Lightroom Mobile app. Now of course Adobe fully supports macOS – perhaps given the history between the companies, macOS is more of Adobe’s spiritual home than Windows is? So I will be using Lightroom and Photoshop on my MacBook, rather than any built-in libraries and editors.
As well as my Adobe CC subscription, I also use Office 365 – I have the Home subscription allowing my wife and I to use all the Office applications on our machines, including mobile devices. This is useful for my wife as she works on her personal machine, and has to be able to work 100% with Microsoft formats. For me this just made sense as I was on Windows and what else would I use but Office? Moving across to macOS, it’s disappointing to find that neither Publisher nor Access are supported, but this isn’t a major issue for me, and my wife already has replaced Publisher in her day-to-day work. So will I be switching to Pages, Numbers or KeyNote? Honestly probably not, but I’ve already seen amazing things regarding multi-user editing so I’ll take a look at them along the way at some point, otherwise it just wouldn’t be a fair experiment.
The real draw to Office 365 is the 1TB storage you get on OneDrive (per-user, for up to 4 users). All my personal data is synchronised to OneDrive and it acts as my offsite backup (you may remember we already have a NAS on our home network for on-site backups). The beauty of OneDrive for me is that I can access my files wherever I am across all my devices. I can plan a choir rehearsal at home at my desk, then open up OneNote on my tablet when I’m actually in front of everyone to make sure I don’t miss anything. Equally I can update the attendance spreadsheet on my phone, safe in the knowledge that by the time I get home the update will have sync’d onto my other devices and will be good to go. I still plan to keep all my files in OneDrive when I move to my MacBook later this week. Will that change over time? Possibly – again it will all be part of the experiment.
One area I do intend to move away from Microsoft – music management! I’ve been using Microsoft Groove since before it was Xbox Music, and until last year I had a Groove Music Pass letting me download and listen to countless hours of music without ever owning it. However Groove attempted to match my existing music, and then it all got all my album information confused and I lost track of what I did own and what I didn’t own, to the point where I stopped listening to my own music. Although Groove exists as an iOS app, it doesn’t exist for macOS so I will be looking at the obvious replacement – iTunes. My music files are all DRM-free MP3s and are currently stored in OneDrive. Whilst I have no idea if this will work, I’m hoping I can just open up iTunes, point it at the Music folder in my local OneDrive cache and away I’ll go. I’m fully expecting to run into issues doing this, but I’m looking forward to trying. I think I’ll probably be looking at investing in iTunes Match too, to make keeping my mobile devices in sync that much easier.
So, will I be a Microsoft boy in an Apple world? Possibly, but I’ll also be an Adobe subscriber. Perhaps that’s the joy of modern IT – we can make our choices of services and software and then move them around with us, for as Microsoft once said – “Mobile first, cloud first” 😉