AppleI’ve been an Apple user since the moment they were invented – but I’m increasingly concerned that they are no longer fit for purpose.

I currently have a iMac, an iPad and an iPhone. I love the way they seamlessly connect together, and I use at least one of them every day. I also have an old MacBook (the white one – remember those?) I’m currently editing my new book on that, to keep it separate from my day job.

As you probably know, Apple products are the norm within the creative sector. We love the simplicity, and the shiny logo. Mac products are so beautifully designed that we don’t care they cost more than the equivalent functionality of a PC or Android device.

But we do know the rest of the world hasn’t taken to Apple as much as we creatives. So we adapt. We (literally) buy adapters. We use different versions of common software, and don’t complain (much) when things don’t perform quite as they should.

Until recently, I’ve managed to find a workaround for everything I’ve needed to do. But technology is beginning to defeat me. Here are some examples:

Video Fail

Last month’s Writing Without Waffle tipsheet focused on video, so I embedded some videos, previewed it, and sent it off. I’ve done that before, and it’s always been fine.

This time, a couple of subscribers kindly told me the videos had arrived as garbled code (thanks, Andy and Nicky). This is particularly embarrassing because I was writing about the power of video in your marketing. My apologies if it happened to you too.

I did some investigating and learned they were both using gmail on Apple. I did some further investigating, and found that gmail simply doesn’t work properly on Apple products (thanks, Graham). And there’s nothing that can be done about that through MailChimp, except a clunky manual workaround.

GoToWebinar Fail

I was booked as the guest speaker on a webinar using GoToWebinar. It had always worked fine on my Mac… until the day it didn’t.

It was a couple of weeks before the webinar, and I was on a GTW call with my mastermind group. For some reason, I could hear them, and they could hear me, but we couldn’t see each other.

After the call, I Googled to find a solution. It turned out that the GTW control panel now disappears on certain versions of the Mac operating system (for no apparent reason), and the answer is to upgrade the OS.

The cost of upgrading my iMac cancelled out the fee I earned from the webinar. But, hey ho, it had got to the point when it needed to be done.

And of course I have now had to upgrade everything else I run on the iMac, to go with the latest OS – only to discover that Dragon Dictate is no longer compatible. It’s a known issue. But it means I’m back to using my fingers for typing.

Presenting Fail 1

I do a lot of training up and down the country, and I project my PowerPoint slides from the iPad. But ‘presenter view’ doesn’t work on the iPad – it keeps saying I need a Microsoft 365 account. I have one, but the iPad doesn’t recognise it.

I have spent *hours* on the phone and live chatting with Microsoft to resolve this. They insist that all I have to do is update the app, or reinstall it, or, or, or…

I’ve tried it all, but nothing works.

Luckily, I know my script well enough that I don’t need to see my notes. But it means I can’t jump around the slides as seamlessly as I should be able to, which takes away a smidgen of my professional edge. And I don’t like that.

Presenting Fail 2

I have invested in a VGA adapter and an HDMI adapter, so I can connect to whatever system the venue uses. The adapters also have a port for the power lead.

It’s a system that’s worked perfectly for a couple of years.

But now I find the power doesn’t always flow through the adapters, for no apparent reason. So I took my iPad and adapters and cables to the Apple Genius Bar. They tested everything, and confirm it *should* be fine. The iPad charges. The adapters carry the charge. The extension lead works. And they all work in combination.

But the fact remains that the iPad won’t charge at certain venues.

The Genius gave me a special plug for the power lead in case that makes a difference next time. And – in an emergency – I can charge up the iPad to 100% in advance, let it run down during the morning session, charge it again direct into the wall socket during lunch, and use it in the afternoon. That way, it will be able to get through a whole day without running out of juice. It’s tedious, and just another thing to remember.

That said, cables are on their way out anyway…

Wireless Presenting Fail 1

In the past few months, I’ve found that several venues have upgraded to a wireless system. You’re expected to plug in a Bluetooth device via USB to your laptop, and download an app which sends a signal wirelessly to the screen.

It’s impossible to do this with an iPad, as there is no such thing as a USB adapter with a power port (believe it or not). I know. I’ve looked. I’ve asked Google, Jigsaw24 (my usual supplier), and the AppleStore.

“It doesn’t exist,” they told me.

But it *should* exist if Apple want their products to be used as presentation tools.

Wireless Presenting Fail 2

At other venues where I’ve trained recently, you are supposed to download an app with no need for the Bluetooth transmitter. But it’s an Android app. It doesn’t work on Apple. Sigh.

Newsletter Fail

Working remotely, I tried to use the iPad to post a client’s newsletter on AWeber. I already know that AWeber doesn’t work on Safari (the default Apple browser), so I used Chrome. But I couldn’t paste any copy into the template. I tried from Word. I tried via a plain text app. Nothing worked.

I hate being unable to solve a problem. But, on this occasion, technology defeated me, and I had to set up the newsletter from my office, a day late.

Time to give up?

Maybe it’s time to give up on Mac – but I don’t view the prospect of switching with joy.

I’ve used PCs before, so it’s not wholly unfamiliar territory. But Apple’s marketing is so great because it builds an emotional connection. People *love* their Macs. Nobody feels that way about their PC.

What do you think?


Bob Lang · July 27, 2018 at 10:24 am

I’ve retired and I’m still using a 2008 MacBook! The fact it still works really well is a tribute to the engineering, and it comes with a collection of ports, plus a CD/DVD drive, and the always brilliant mag-safe power connector. But I would no longer be able to use it if I hadn’t been able to replace the battery, upgrade the RAM memory, and replace the HD by an SSD along the way.
The sad truth is that Apple no longer builds computers that fit my requirements. Soldered memory, soldered SSDs, soldered batteries, no DVD drive, completely non upgradable, non repairable, and they cost a fortune to buy. I hate to say it, but my next computer will have to be something running Windows.
Apple have lost their way.

Jackie · July 27, 2018 at 10:37 am

It makes me sad too. I bet Steve Jobs is spinning in his grave.

Alison · July 27, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Hi Jackie,

Thank you for saying the unsayable about Apple products.

Other than in the early 90s when I thought they were cute I have increasingly found them to be inpenetrable, on the odd occasion I have been handed one, most memorably being having to give a whole day social media seminar on one, having only brought a usb stick with me.

I also had to resort to tutorials on youtube to help a friend set up her ‘laptop’ which to my mind smacks of just being a tad too clever. And she had bought a manual ‘for dummies’ which was like a brick!

End of an era?


Caroline · July 27, 2018 at 3:07 pm

I had an Apple computer when I was working for a creative firm. It looked soooo beautiful (I loved it) but even though it was brand new it was always going on the blink!

Come over to the dark side Jackie 🙂

Jackie · July 28, 2018 at 8:34 am

Here’s what Internet Psychologist, Graham Jones, told me about the Gmail/Apple problem (shared here with his permission):

Gmail is designed for Windows and Android. As is 95 per cent of the IT world. Mac users always have problems and there’s nothing we or Mailchimp or Google can do about it because it is a closed system all designed to force Mac people to only use Apple software.

I’ve had a further look into the video situation on Gmail for Mac users and the display of Mailchimp video. It appears there is nothing you can do about it. If you look on the various forums for Mac users and on blogs about email, the advice for those on a Mac is to NOT use Gmail via a web browser. Apparently, there are several Mac email programs which will display Gmail properly and the advice is to use one of them. In particular, Gmail on Safari (the main Mac web browser) is known to have several issues. Indeed, many websites have problems with Safari which is a non-standard browser (another departure from standards by Apple).

The MailChimp Video Content Block works 99% of the time. It just doesn’t work well for people on a Mac, using Gmail, particularly via Safari.

The crucial thing for you is to determine how big this problem is. If only a small proportion of your subscribers are Mac users on Gmail, then it’s not worth worrying about. If, though, it’s a relatively large number, then avoiding video is the only option…!

One way that would work is not to use the Video Content Block in Mailchimp. Instead, use an Image Content Block and insert a screenshot of the video. Then link that to the YouTube page. When people click on the image it will take them off to YouTube. That should work.

Sorry, I can’t be more positive, but I can try to help in the future by continuing my mission to ensure that Mac users realise the error of their ways….! (And I used to be a highly enthusiastic Mac user and was a writer for MacUser magazine and Apple User…! Plus I spoke at several Apple/Mac events about the wonders of their device. I have now seen the light…!)

David Henson · July 30, 2018 at 11:31 am

I try not to have an ’emotional connection’ to any of my devices. They are just tools, and if a tool stops working, it’s time to chuck it out. I recently bought a Microsoft Surface and it’s brilliant so if you’re thinking of coming over to the dark side and want a quick demo, let me know.

Julie · July 30, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Hi Jackie, like you I am a Mac girl – love my iMac which just keeps on going and has had only 1 visit to the Genius Bar in its 7 year life. Its. great workhorse. However, the more I have been walking in the presenting world, running workshops, doing presentations I have been met with challenges. There are ways and means but it seems clunky and ‘special’ – and whilst us Apple girls like being special – it gets a tad frustrating when the plug and play ideal is not happening. Earlier this year I invested in a MacBook Pro, increasing my portfolio of Apple products even further – solely to run workshops – but now I am faced with buying all manor of connectors and leads and stuff – its just no longer simple.

So yes, there are times when I consider the future with fear and trembling that I will have to return to the dark side – I don’t like what I see, I prefer life with a fruit, and hope they can get it sorted so we feel special special again soon.

All the best with your adventures Jackie.

Janice Gordon · July 31, 2018 at 9:08 am

Full disclosure: I am a PC user.
I do not like paying over the olds for branding and for what I have always thought an inferior product for my business needs. The look and feel of PCs have caught-up with Apple. Buy a PC and convert slowly, the advantage is you can use both 🙂

    Bob Lang · July 31, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Use both at the same time? Isn’t that like a country changing from driving on the left to driving on the right and doing it over a three month period – starting with cars first, then vans, then HGVs?? What could possibly go wrong ? 🙂

Tim Plumb · August 20, 2018 at 9:55 am

I think as so much of your time is spent presenting or using supplied equipment you are going to need to fit into that eco-system regardless of what sort of equipment they supply. Either that or control the environment and have the audience come to you.

I know when I worked for design agencies and would need to visit clients for pitch or proposal meetings I’d always need to carry a bag full of cables and adaptors just in case their projector or AV system didn’t connect to my MacBook Pro.

Why not load Windows up on your Mac (either via BootCamp or using VirtualBox) and give it a go at your next presentation (or test it before of after your presentation)? If it works for you then you’ll be able to create using the Mac and present or test using Windows.

Jackie · August 21, 2018 at 7:39 am

It’s not just me. I found this recent review on Business Insider: A die-hard Mac user switches to Windows

Comments are closed.

Skip to content