Living the Life
We got our first computer in 1986. It was a Mac Plus, almost the same week the neighbours got an Atari, which had way more games. Clearly, we were crushed – well, at least until our mom bought Winter Games. It took 10 minutes to load and retailed for something insane like $50 (nearly $300 in today’s money). But that’s hardly a concern anymore, right? Kids don’t actually buy games anymore – they just bit torrent them… but we digress.
The tote bag that came with the computer obviously erred on the hopeful side with a little dash of downright ridiculousness thrown in. Looking back, however, the ’86 Mac Plus was basically the first iPhone. And Apple wasn’t hiding it – indeed, they were outright suggesting we take it with us everywhere and communicate via floppy disk.
Seeing how a two-year-old engages with an iPhone today, we now know we’ve been living in Apple’s world for a long time. And little has changed, including their market share (just under 20%). Beyond a reasonable doubt the Graphic User Interface (GUI) that Mac launched in the mid 80s has defined it’s existence as a company.
That tote bag, however ridiculous it seemed at the time, was also an indication of their willingness to suggest to users how we should be moving through the world. Not to mention, it was a massive and clunky foreshadowing of their desired position in our lives: continuously attached at the hip like an online IV of communication.
Apple launched iOS 8 for mobile and the Yosemite OS this week and are calling it their “biggest update ever.” But in order to make this offering a success they’ve continued to maintain their first business position, which is asking us to manipulate our entire day around Apple products. If we’re willing to accept that having one platform ruling our lives is what’s best (aka: a limited technological diet), then here’s what Apple has to serve up:
The Good Stuff
– Lovely integrated cloud storage with our hard drives so we won’t have to search from device to device for our info.
– Our (Apple) devices are all incredibly more integrated – so we can start an email or call on one of them and switch mid-flow.
– We can have an iTunes family account so we can charge stuff to one card from up to six accounts and share that info.
– They have some nice new ways of bundling apps from the same segment, like lifestyle and home operations.
The Sketchy Stuff
– The privacy presets on Apple’s operating systems point at a magnitude of issues that should make us aware of the fact that they want to own our lives…
– Safari and Yosemite bundle our info and keep us feeling more like we’re not really out there on the World Wide Web. And while trying to make the internet look and feel safer could be cool enough for some people to put this in the good stuff category, we think Apple filtering all of our content is just a little too Big Brother – even if they do make it pretty and easier to read.
– We can’t use any devices made by anybody but Apple. (Not even Samsung, who basically owns its own country, makes you do that.) So if you have any desire to work on any device within this system that’s not made by Apple, better luck next time.
It seems that we should be imagining a future where our desired devices all work together nicely, not a future where only one company’s technology can function on a wireless grid in a unified way. Apple continues to build a walled garden and charge everyone like crazy just to step in.
Makes sense as a business model, but maybe not so much as a global communications strategy – then again, we did already mention we’ve been living in Apple’s world for a while now…
And all this despite the fact that the Android market (Android offers an open API) represents 55% of the mobile devices out there, including Samsung.
So yes, Apple still makes the shiniest coolest devices, and yes, they make us feel better when we use them. But these are computers we’re talking about – shouldn’t we judge them a little more harshly than a $100 fixie with matching leather panniers? (Wait, we do judge that harshly.) As we continue moving into an increasingly mobile world of computing, we need to ask ourselves: what value comes from a walled garden approach?
Like an all-inclusive resort, the Apple iOS is really nice and fun for a while. But the idea of staying a lifetime suddenly starts to feel a little cramped…
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)
All inclusive image from: Aventura Spa