Monday, October 14, 2013

Apple Picking Time?

I often get asked for advice about purchasing a new computer, tablet or smart phone.  The question often boils down to whether I recommend going with an Apple product or one from one of a dozen other tech manufacturers.  Like so many decisions about technology products there are many considerations. 

Today the rock star buzz around the announcement of any new Apple product is extraordinary.  Apple aficionados wait in line for days so they can be the first to have the newest and greatest.  It is not surprising that one would think that only Apple products are worth looking at and all the others are “also rans.”  There are many very good products, many even superior to those that have the iconic Apple logo.   So what is the big difference between Apple and everyone else?

I have long been somewhat less than high on Apple for reasons that have little to do with its technology.  I did not like the control that Apple placed on the products and services.  It reminded me of Henry Ford when he said that you could have a Model A in any color as long as it was black.  That control however has allowed Apple to make it very easy to use its products.

In my opinion it is the integration of their products that makes Apple a good decision for most people.  Apple’s legendary tight control over hardware, software, marketing and applications allows their products to work together seamlessly and efficiently.   From the very beginning of the computer age the Apple vs. Microsoft battle has waged on and at its core was Apple’s belief that control would provide a better user experience.  Microsoft allowed most any company to build machines, author software and develop systems using their operating system.  They were convinced that this would foster innovation.  It did but unfortunately it also allowed for many product and system incompatibility issues and required users to learn different commands and procedures depending on the product they wished to use.

Today if you already have one Apple product you should try to stay with Apple when you are buying another device.  For instance if you already have an Apple computer on which you have stored calendar and contact information you can easily access that information using an iPad or iPhone using iCloud.  For the most part Apple takes care of all the machinations that make that work.  You will also find many of the conventions, icons, nomenclature and graphic look are all integrated and very intuitive across the various products.   Of course you can share calendar and contact information among other non Apple devices but it requires much more user involvement.  In short by keeping tight control over all aspects of the products Apple does all of the heavy lifting of keeping the underlying systems running and lets the user concentrate on the task at hand.

Simply put when you ask for the time of day an Apple product will give it to you.  Many other non Apple devices will tell you how to build a watch.  You may end up with a Rolex but did you really want one?

Just my opinion…

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