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In 8th grade, I finally was given the privilege of having my own cell phone. I will always remember that day. To be free of the house phone, free of cautiously calling a girlfriend or friend because you were worried if your parents or little sister might be on the other line. Granted, I believe I always received privacy in our household. But as teenagers we were dumb sometimes and thought the world was out to get us. Nonetheless, the freedom of having my own number and contacts at my immediate disposal was exhilarating.

It was a little black flip phone with a pixelated camera on the back. I started off with 250 text messages a month.


I'm pretty sure I have totaled 250 text messages, received and sent, in a matter of a couple hours for one of my group chats lately. I remember being so nervous to hit 250 in the middle of the month while everyone else had unlimited already. Simply because they had had cell phones since 6th grade. I was a late bloomer. It was the type of phone and time period where if you pressed that little internet browser button in the middle, you would absolutely SPAM the red 'END' button because your parents made it seem like every second on that internet cost $1000. Simpler times.

It looked something like this.

I still remember everything about that phone. The color scheme of the screen, how it vibrated when I got a text, the ringtones I recorded and downloaded for each contact, and even the backgrounds I would go back and forth with. I remember all of the phones I had throughout high school. The next flip phone that was my dad's before he gave it to me, my LG Chocolate 2 (my favorite I had I think), and the LG Env2. T9 text was the way we texted. There were no touch screens, so once we had a phone for a while and memorized the keyboard and word lists, we would literally type without looking. Perfect every time. Don't tell anyone, but we all got to the point where we could text in our pockets during school with precision. This was before apps and unlimited data. We had speed dials, still actually remembered our friends' numbers, and used a physical keyboard.

I eventually got a Droid Eris. The first practically full touch screen phone I ever owned. Droid was the iPhone before the iPhone, essentially. Everyone started getting one. The main one had a slide up keyboard and the Eris was just the screen. But with the ability to download apps and connect to a stronger, faster internet browser, the battery sucked. Straight up sucked! But the live wallpapers, better camera, apps, and data was the start of something great and new for us.

But then came something truly innovative:

The iPhone.

I never owned the first brand new innovation, but I remember a classmate having the first iPhone. I was so interested in the design and the functionality of it. Typing strictly on a screen with no call or end buttons beneath the screen. Your iPod touch integrated with your contacts, Safari, phone number, and the App Store. It wasn't until the iPhone 4, the second version, that I was able to dive into the world of Apple and never look back. I've been an Apple user ever since.

- iPhone 4

- iPhone 4s

- iPhone 5

- iPhone 5s

- iPhone 6

- iPhone 6s

- iPhone 7+

- iPhone X

- iPhone XS Max

That is the list of every iPhone, with the exception of some of the cheaper models, that Apple has released. And....

I've owned every single one.

It's a healthy, manageable addiction. I promise. What they have been able to do with a phone, in my opinion is unmatched. For me, they've gotten me to download beta updates and test runs to see what their plans are for the end of the year release of new software is. I'm reading updates and predictions for what people think Apple is planning or currently in the process of making. It's all fascinating to me. Also, their marketing team is well deserving of all the awards they get. Every time an Apple commercial comes on, it almost makes me want to get the product they're displaying. Even if I am literally holding that said device. I will reiterate, it's a healthy and manageable addiciton the I make sure is benefiting my lifestyle instead of hinder it.

What they have been able to do with an entire community is also unmatched. You see everyone with an iPhone. The phones have been fantastic. Their physical appearance, software design and function, and ease of use has taken the mobile world by storm. But what has really kept me as a full #TeamApple member, is the constantly expanding and updating ecosystem. I'm pretty sure every tech guru understands this part.

The ecosystem Apple has created is more than just an awesome phone, with great design, fast processors, beautiful bezels, and more (excuse my excess of compliments towards Apple, but I will not apologize). They've changed the computer/laptop game. They've implemented a force in the tablet world that has added even more variety to their lineup. The iCloud, iPod (which has basically gone out of style for the most part due to greatly increased iPhone storage and Apple Music ability), Apple Watch, and most recently dropped AirPods have all added a unique presence to a vastly improving ecosystem.

The Ecosystem.

This is a cooler way of explaining the impact of all the products Apple provides. I'll try to explain the impact of this term for me, personally, in a way that majority of people can understand. I'll explain a handful of features that are reasons I won't switch anytime soon and why I think Apple has killed it year in and year out with creating this system.

I think the biggest component of the Apple ecosystem is iMessage.

iMessage is Apple's form of texting or instant messaging in a way. It has the ability to send SMS texts, but the big pull is the blue bubbles it produces. iMessage is not available between third party devices. It's #AppleOnly. So when you text a person for the first time, you can instantly find out if they are an iPhone user or not. For me, this is a huge reason why Apple devices have kept me in, along with majority of my friends. Group texts are easier, and as of recent, a lot more fun. Animations, Animoji, and likes and dislikes make talking with other iPhone users a blast. I think what keeps me from switching a lot of the time is when I start a single text or group text and try to add a person that has an Android device. That green bubble for most has become a nuisance. No more "Read Receipts', typing icon, iMessage animations or screen animations, and a really ugly green color for the chat. The group text is basically dead after that, as well. It was an update back in college that I didn't know would have near the amount of impact it has on the device people pick.

Second is iCloud. This is a simple and seamless way to access and keep all of the files you choose to keep. You have the ability to choose your photos, iMessages, calendar, emails, etc. Now, all of these actions are across every Apple device you own. And no, there is no third party access, which means Android or any other device cannot access this feature. There are ways to transfer these files over if you do switch, but the experience will never be the same. There is an easy way to find iCloud access on your devices. You have the option to upgrade your storage capacity if you hoard photos or documents, too. iCloud also includes Keychain. This is Apple's way of allowing users to securely store the usernames, passwords, and even credit card information so that autofill and singing into apps can be done with a fingerprint or face scan. It is secure by a specific type of encryption called 256-AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). For reference, iCloud is also extremely secure and it uses a 128-AES. So Keychain is stronger. Apple takes security seriously, especially when it comes to your personal information. Keychain has made my life easier. I rarely ever have to look at my cards when making an online purchase and rarely do I have to remember many passwords for logins anymore. When signing up for a new website or making a new login, Keychain actually offers its own password. It's a strong, very long password that your phone generates and will automatically save to iCloud for you. A lot of the time I don't use this because I tend to use fairly strong passwords and sometimes I would like to know that I can remember them. But for incredibly sensitive information on certain sites and apps, I use this password. Much harder to crack and it is saved in my phone since there is no way can remember that long of a password. I much rather would have a strong password for that information than worry about being able to remember it right away. Won't matter much if you can remember a "123" password when all your money has been taken out of your account through a simple hack. (I also do not intend to imply that any of this is unhackable. It is just very, very, very hard to do so).

The Apple Watch has been a great way to quickly respond to texts, get news updates, receive calls, and pay using Apple Pay without ever having to pick up my phone. Through recent upgrades, the use of the watch has grown. I even use it to track workouts and activity and have a very positive addiction to closing my rings. It can even detect heart rate and also run ECG's (or EKG) which makes sure your heart chambers are in rhythm. If not it can show atrial fibrillation. Healthy actions! Syncing right to your phone that is on all of us anyways, it can mimic most of the actions your phone already gives you. It's just a quick way for me to communicate sometimes.

Apple Pay is big too. With my phone and watch, I can click a button on either, and pay for anything using NFC. This is Near Field Communication which is what sends short, secure communications through two devices. I just hold up my watch or phone to it, it reads whatever card I have selected, and BOOM. Paid without having to pull my wallet out. It's quick and convenient. Oh, and I will repeat: Secure.

iPad is the big, powerful iPhone. All of the features of an iPhone but on a bigger screen, multitasking capabilities (two apps on the screen at one time), and with a much more powerful battery and processor. This enables it to stream more shows, movies, and videos faster. Also with the new addition of the Apple Pencil, you can create more. Draw, take notes, and edit pictures while at the same time being able to save all of your work over iCloud. For me the iPad is crucial for taking notes in team meetings and watching movies on planes.

Now, with all of these devices and features there's got to be a way to sync them all together to continue work, or pick up where your show left off right?

Yep! The most important feature and what I think many believe is what brings the ecosystem together perfectly is: Continuity and Handoff.

This feature is what connects every Apple device you own and allows you to continue any piece of work or play you need on a different device. I can answer a call on my MacBook, Apple Watch, or iPad. When I am reading an article on Safari or just browsing the web on my phone and want to continue doing the same thing on a bigger screen, all I have to do is open my Mac and click the Safari icon in the bottom corner and it will bring up the exact page that is on my phone and at the exact place I left off. Same with iMessage. Airdrop is my most used feature through the continuity abilities. This allows me to pick a document, song, or photo and send it directly to someone close to me using Bluetooth that creates my own little peer-to-peer Wifi network. Again, this is also encrypted and has a Firewall for security purposes. So your files or private photos aren't being sent through a "whatever" connection waiting to be snatched up by whoever else is next to you. I send pictures, videos, and songs through this all the time. Instead of downloading pictures to my Mac, I just Airdrop them and they are sent directly to my 'Downloads' folder. I swear, the convenience of this feature is second to none. This may not be essential for every iPhone user, but for me it is vital!

All of my friends know me as the Apple addict. I'm cool with it. I love the company and the products they make. They're all sleek, powerful, and enabling of a creative mind. We are all entitled to our own opinions, so if one argues Android with me I am completely open to that debate. In the end, Apple will prevail in that, but that's just how it is.

I envision Apple's success growing like it has been, and continuing to lock me in for years to come. The old flip phone me is long gone now. Actually, if Apple came out with a flip phone I would probably debate adding that to my lineup if we're being honest. Haha! But in reality technology has grown and advanced so far past flip phones that they have become memories. More nostalgia. I am always ready for what's next in the Apple interior. The WWDC event is in June so tune in to see what they're cooking up for this Fall's releases. I can't say that I've been disappointed yet while watching one.

If you have any questions about my favorite features, devices, or other reasons why I stick with Apple; just list them below!


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