Books written by Ray Sullivan

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Apple out of touch

Like many households we've become locked into the Apple ecosystem.  Not me personally, I'm a bit of a rogue running an Android phone, an Android 7" tablet and a Windows 8 Surface RT tablet, so I'm spreading the love across two operating systems myself.  My wife is the Apple user, with both the iPad and the iPhone.

It was the iPad first, if my memory serves me correctly, followed by the iPhone.  Earlier adopters will have bought the iPad second, but it's all the same as far as locking-in is concerned. Part of me struggles with the locking in part - I'm toying with the idea of moving over to a Windows 8 phone when my contract comes up for renewal later this year. Because I'm not tied completely to either Android or Microsoft I can swap around as much as my contract allows me.

Apple users, though, struggle with this lack of loyalty, and with good reason. Apple were first to the post with a joined up ecosystem, linking devices together so that photos taken on the iPad appeared almost instantly on the iPhone and vice versa. Same with their calendar, music and, of course, apps. Now I've blogged about this a few times previously, but the ecosystem appears to be more dysfunctional than ever. Photos are very sticky, once in almost impossible to remove, so the photo library grows and grows, to the point that my wife has deleted virtually all her musice from her iPhone to accommodate the photos. Moving music seems harder than we remember it, too. Initially my wife used to use her iPhone like a juke box, changing songs to suit her mood and season. As her phone is only 16gb versus the iPad 32gb she always had to take care not to bust her storage, but in the last year or so that has become almost impossible. As her phone contract is up later this year she has mooted changing to a non-Apple product, but then the crisis regarding the ecosystem always crops up.

But now it seems that Apple have come up with a potential solution, albeit unintentionally. They've just revamped their iPod Touch MP3 players, dropping the price a tad while upping the spec. They've also added some colour to the devices, so that may please some potential buyers. The biggest improvement, apart from price, is the inclusion of a 5mb camera. So users could pick up a larger capacity iPod - they go up to 64gb - so all of your photos, music and diary events could be stored on the one device, it could become the go-to camera to carry around, it can share with the iPad and the iCloud.

And users would be free to go with whatever phone, based on whatever OS they wanted. Which is good news for Android and Windows 8 phones, because that is probably where Apple customers will go as soon as their phone contract is up.

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