July 31, 2012

iOS Symbiosis

I received an email from a friend a couple of days ago about his experience with Apple's latest operating system, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.We both raved about some of it's new features such as notification center, speech dictation and pinch-to-view tabs in Safari 6.0. You can find all of the features here. During the exchange of emails, he pointed out that he was planning on switching back to the iPhone from his Android, since "the iPhone has symbiosis across his MacBook and iPad". A smile quickly came on my face when I read the word, symbiosis. To give you some background, he had been an iPhone user for quite a while before he decided to switch to Android. The reason being that he felt constricted as an iPhone user, he wanted to  manage his files and folders manually when his iPhone got connected to his PC. So he went ahead and put his iPhone 3G on Craigslist, and got himself a Samsung Galaxy II late last year. He had already bought the iPad 2 went it came out, so he had an iPad 2, Android phone, and a laptop PC--An odd mixture in my world today. The reason the word symbiosis jumped out to me was because I believe this is Apple's secret sauce: The notion that everyone should own devices that can "talk" to each other. And having just one gives the user  sense of incompleteness. 

The Harvard business review published an in depth article on the competing ecosystems between Apple and Amazon, you can substitute Amazon with Google and still get the picture. The iPhone is just a single piece of Apple's overall ecosystem. To truly enjoy, or make good use of that ecosystem you need to have all the pieces. iCloud is probably my favorite feature on iOS 5. Taking a picture with my iPhone and having it appear automagically on my Mac is just something that wows me every time. Being able to respond, and start a conversation on either my iPad or Mac is a luxury that everyone should have. Now others might say there are services such as Dropbox and Android Instant that perform similar functions, but the process is not as invisible and effortless as on Apple's iCloud. Plus, what happens when you are at your 2GB max in Dropbox? And Instant upload in Android uploads the photos to your Google Plus account (not Google drive). You can probably get away with just owning an iPhone in addition to an Android tablet and a PC. But the moment another iOS device is introduced into your ecosystem, you will definitely sense that your devices are not working as well as they can be. 

The first Apple device I ever owned was a 120GB iPod classic. I sold that and bought myself an iPad 2--and later the 3rd generation iPad. Being frustrated by Blackberry's crappy operating system, and realizing what i was missing on iOS, I ordered the iPhone 4S. Vowing not plug my newly purchased iPhone into a Windows PC, I gave away my HP laptop and bought myself a MacBook Pro--the symbiosis was complete.
Granted, Google is making some waves into building it's own ecosystem by offering their Chromebooks, Nexus tablet, Android and Google Play. But Apple has been doing this for a while now, and it will be extremely hard for them to win over iOS users who've been accustomed to that seamless, efficient symbiotic experience. Matter of fact, I am curious to know how many non-iOS users own a Chromebook, Android phone and tablet.

Sent with Writer from Ed's iPhone

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