It’s been a crazy week. No sooner did Steve Jobs pass away and the very people who care most moved on to drown their sorrows with a new iPhone 4S or for the (less fortunate, contractually bound of us) installing of iOS 5. Such is the pace of society 2.0. You’ll forgive me therefore if I choose to pay my 2 minutes of homage to Mr Jobs by reflecting on Apple’s latest releases.
There has been much praise for Apple’s latest incarnation of the iOS operating system, which even the vast disappointment of no iPhone 5 announcement has been brushed aside for. But having spent hours now with the new iOS 5, my feeling is that Apple has lost its way.
Whilst I was a late adopter to the iPhone (or Apple products for that matter), I do remember thinking how simple everything was when I did finally join the iPhone bandwagon a couple of years ago.
For years in my 20’s, I spent countless hours mod’ing my consoles, flashing my phones, ripping my DVD’s and configuring my P2P’s. For most of my 30’s I juggled my time between my IT career, my (way to overcomplicated) home network and those pesky things called ‘my kids’. So, as I approached my 40’s, being greeted by Apples gracious technology, which simply worked, was a breath of fresh air. No more tinkering, no more configuring, no more struggling – just simplicity.
However, now days into my iOS 5 experience, I feel like Apple has drawn me back into a world which I so enjoyed not being in.
Do I want to push my data to the cloud? If I so, which parts of my data should I push there? And should I Photostream to my other Apple devices? I don’t know! Do I want everybody who picks up my iPad at home to share my life? And since when did my Apple ID become my life? And should every life in my life have an Apple ID or should we share one? What impact will that have on my data in the cloud? The list goes on.
The thing that drove me to write this post actually, was the realisation that Siri (the much vaunted feature of iOS 5) is not available to iOS 5 on an iPhone 4. “What a bummer” – I thought. And it’s about at that point, when I realised – why the hell do I care! I had, it seemed, been thrown back into a world of caring about things that I don’t want to care about.
In fact, you only need to look through the ‘Notifications settings’ to see what I mean. Or perhaps, the ‘Buy more storage’ button (under the Cloud settings) is a truer reflection of what the game is all about (after all, maybe being richer than America is not enough!).
The Apple board room must be an interesting place. I can only imagine the (perfectly logical) arguments for needing to ‘up the ante’ and not fall behind the competition. Whether it’s the notification simplicity of Android, the Cloud based solutions or voice recognition capability on offer by the competition – Apple must have been feeling the heat.
But as I browse through the settings, or use the other 200+ new features which Apple is so proud of, I feel that Apple hasn’t quite so much overtaken the crowd, but that it’s decided to join them. And in doing so, has perhaps forgotten the one key principle that made their previous products so successful – that for anybody picking them up for the first time … they ‘just worked’. Now excuse me please while I push this to the cloud…