Apple: Close to Perfect

by Colin Berkshire

I love my iPhone. And, I love my iPad2. I love my iMac, and I travel with an Airport Express. You might think I was a fanboy.

The honest truth is that for the past 30 years I have been pretty firmly a Microsoftie. From Microsoft pascal to DOS to Windows I and the companies I worked for almost exclusively used Microsoft products. Then, I was “Vista’d” and that was the end. Vista plain sucked. Win7 was a lot better,  but by then my eyes were open for something better. I am just burned out on patches, fixes, bugs, crashes, and lost data.

It was the iPhone that sucked me in. What do that call that in illegal drugs? A gateway drug? Yep that’s the iPhone. One by one, I found that Apple products were less “needy” and just worked. They were beautiful. And, as I wanted something on the more powerful end I discovered that Apple stuff wasn’t actually more expensive if you wanted good stuff.

But confound it, why Apple misses those few highly irritating few features I will never understand. They get 99% there and then: “Arrrgh”!

The most unbelievably missing feature on the iPhone and iPad is that you can’t print to a PDF file. To me, it is an unbelievable omission.

I travel a lot, and I make a lot of reservations. I want to print my confirmation sheets in Safari to a PDF file. That way I can file them in iBooks and can email them to my secretary and to others. You cannot print to a PDF file. For the life of me I will never understand this.

Apple IOS has a print feature, but for 80% of us it is worthless because you must buy a special HP printer to use it. For the vast majority of us the Print feature is as useful as a burned out fuse. Why there isn’t at least a single “PDF Printer” that you get by default is beyond any possible explanation.

Not being able to print from IOS is bad enough. But one company actually figured out how to wire into IOS so that it acted like a PDF printer. It was fabulous. Confirmations and tickets and orders could be printed and saved and even be emailed. Then, Apple pulled the app because it had unauthorized functionality. Whose side is Apple on, anyway? When I spend $900 for a telephone, why won’t Apple let me print? This one missing feature alone is enough for me to take a look at an Android.
So we have the good and the bad of Apple right there. They are very controlling and that pretty much keeps you safe from malware and other nasties. But every once in a while Apple forgets who is the customer and they decide that unless you want to carry a 35-pound printer around with you then you are not going to print. It makes you mad. At least, it makes me mad. Clearly, Apple has enough resources to add PDF printing if they wanted to.

There are very few of these totalitarian madnesses. The inability to print to a PDF file is probably the worst. But if you have ever tried to make any sense of the organization of the Settings app you also have to wonder. Is there any organization to it? WiFi is at the outermost level, but then it is buried in sub-sub menus as well, appearing twice. But if you want to see your data usage it is NOT under your Carrier settings. Bluetooth is not under Network. iTunes Match is not under iCloud.

So, I almost love my Apple iPhone. I wish I could print…to a PDF file…like my Mac can. Can you believe that you can’t?