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.
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July 31, 2012
July 20, 2012
Fred Wilson just published an interesting post about sharing on Android. It piqued my interest so I've decided to contrast his thoughts with sharing on iOS. The first screenshot displays some of the sharing options when sharing a webpage on Android. The second screenshot shows what is seen when performing the same action on iOS, within mobile Safari. Having the ability to share to multiple social networks is a cool feature to have, but is it really needed? If I wanted to send a friend a link to an article would I ideally want to send it via Skype or iMessage? I mostly share links via the Tweet button and email when using Safari. Looking at both screen shots, options to tweet the webpage, add to my reading list, print and bookmark are far more realistic and use-case friendly options than sending to all the social networks available on an Android device (Fred's last share on Google+ was in Oct. 2011). Twitter was baked into iOS when v5 rolled out last Fall. Facebook will be baked into iOS 6 when it becomes available in this Fall. Correct me if I'm wrong, but these two platforms are the front runners in the social network space the last time I checked. My guess is that Tumblr will be next in line since it's rapidly becoming a juggernaut in social, mainly because of it's simplicity and visual appeal to blogging--I see it as the future of blogging. But its kind of a hybrid between Facebook and Twitter so we'll see what happens.
The third screen shot are the options you see when you want to share a photo. Again, the options provided are more in line with how one would want to share a photo: message it, Tweet, use it as a wallpaper, email and soon Facebook. I don't think integrating every single app into iOS for easy sharing is the way to go. Apps-talking-to-apps is more of a necessity in my view than having several apps integrate with the OS. Already, when i'm editing a photo in Camera+ or Snapseed, I'm given the choice to share to Flickr, Instragram, Facebook etc. I do a lot of my mobile reading in Instapaper, and I can effortlessly share the article to my Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter. Sharing options need to be app-specific, and should cater to the obvious use-cases. The fact that it'll be nice to have a sharing option to iMessage (or any other messaging app) from mobile safari doesn't mean its really needed. You can copy the link and paste it just as easy. The contrast between sharing in Android and iOS goes more to show you about how the design process works in both OSes. Don't flood the user with choices of where to share their content--only the ones that make natural sense--on demand.
Sorry Fred, I'm still sticking with the iPhone.
July 6, 2012
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July 5, 2012
You can’t go through life regretting each decision. There are always a thousand ways to do things differently in hindsight. We live to learn
— Edward Agyeman (@ambitiousceo) July 3, 2012
I tweeted that a couple of days ago, and I feel it sums up the nature of what transpired, and the lesson I took from it. To put things in perspective, I've realized that maintaining an open heart in all situations is probably the best way to go from now on. Although it's easier said than done. It applies to both my professional and personal life--but mostly personal. Sometimes I fail to really think through the burden my actions will place on my thoughts, that I more often than not act on impulse--prematurely.
But like I said, events that occurred during the past few weeks have prompted me to reevaluate these premature actions, and to put a stop to them. I really could have missed out on a good situation, but somehow everything played out for the best. Let's just say, I'm finally in equilibrium.
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Image credit: Equilibrium by Denis Demkov
July 1, 2012
5/29/2007 will probably be the most important day in all of tech history. That was the day the iPhone was unleashed to the world. What followed after made all of us witnesses to Apple's ingenuity and design dominance.
Leading up to the release of the iPhone in the summer of 2007, I was in New York on holidays from school. I remember very well seeing commercials of the iPhone on TV and asking my brother what this phone was all about. He answered me by saying that the entire world was waiting for the iPhone, and that it's mobile capabilities were through the roof. Back then I was not even remotely interested in Apple products, so I didn't think too much of it. When I found out he had stood in line for over 5 hours to buy the $600 phone, I was perplexed. I couldn't fathom why anyone would that--but thousands had done it. I was so shocked by the price of the phone, and the love people had for it that I decided not to play with it when he brought it home. I waited one full year until the summer of 2008 to really see what the iPhone was capable of doing. I was impressed. I couldn't put it down.
Just to put some things in perspective, since 2007 Apple has sold around 218 million iPhones and it has generated revenues north of 150 billion. The iPhone is the clear market leader from both a design and an app ecosystem perspective--there are over 500,000 apps for iPhone. It took me a while to grasp what the iPhone was really about. I didn't start using one until the fall of 2011, and I haven't been the same ever since. It has made managing my digital life a breeze, helped me be more productive, knowledgable--in realtime, and stay-connected with all my family. Saying the iPhone changed my perspective towards life is a big understatement--it revolutionized it. Today I have all three Apple devices. All in sync, seamlessly enriching my experience on life. I came from the blackberry camp (unfortunately) and anytime I see some of my friends still on that brick device, I try to convince them to switch over. Sometimes I wonder how in the world I ever touched one of those devices.
Granted, I haven't been an iPhone user for even a year now. But I've learned so much about this device in the seven months that I've used it. The iPhone has changed the world in only it's five years of existence, and I'm looking forward to see how it changes it again in the next five years.
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