We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. The iPhone is nothing more than a Mac in your pocket. A Mac?
Well, the “Mac experience” of out-of-your-way operating system, hardware design, and applications done “the Mac way.” The iTunes App Store has not been open a year.
Do iPhone applications really constitute a Mac experience? How is the iPhone a Mac in your pocket. Indulge me for a few moments.
What constitutes a Mac? It’s a computing device made by Apple which consists of OS X, basic applications, and many superbly crafted commercial, third-party applications.
There are tens of thousands of apps and utilities available for the Mac; many of them dependable staples—Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Firefox, to iLife and iWork—many of them indispensable for Mac users.
Along comes the iPhone. It’s made up of hardware designed by Apple, using OS X, and an obviously Mac-inspired interface. Less than two years into the iPhone’s life, the App Store boast 18,000 applications.
At least 17,000 of them are crapola, but that leaves 1,000 that must be decent, right? After all, if there are 25,000 applications available for the Mac, how many do you have and use on your Mac?
I’m something of a Mac power user for my gender and I’m sitting on a hundred or so non-Apple applications for my Mac, many of them indispensable. Has Apple managed to make the same experience available to the iPhone?
The answer is an unequivocal Yes. Forget cheap $300 netbooks in the PC world. Apple already has an even better netbook in the iPhone and little brother (as in, less expensive) iPod touch.
To be fair, the first year of iPhone usage was enjoyable, but not an overwhelming experience. The iPhone 3G and the App Store changed that. Granted, probably 17,000 of the 18,000 apps available to the iPhone are nothing great.
However, commercials iPhone apps—games, applications, utilities—haven’t been on the market for 365 days, and already some of them are doing double duty as indispensable applications on my iPhone. How bodes the future?
In a word, awesome. I’ve gone from barely two pages of iPhone apps and games to nine in just a few months. Sure, I like Weather, and Stocks, and Maps, and Contacts (Address Book) and Calendar (iCal).
There’s Safari and Mail, so already we’re looking at the basics of a Mac in your pocket. But a Mac is more than just applications from Apple.
Enter USA Today, Sportacular, Bloomberg, Wiki Mobile, and Google. There’s NetNewsWire for RSS and Voxie for voice recording. There’s Notebook and ToDo, which sync with software on my Mac.
There’s MacGourmet, Portfolio Live, the Lose It app for the weight watcher in all of us. There’s Yelp. There’s Wallet and Yellow Pages and more applications that require a whole web site to describe. All of this is now mainstream mere months after it began.
Whoa. Don’t overlook that synchronization thing because it’s oh so cool. Syncing your iPhone’s data with data on your Mac? Try Things. It’s the ToDo Project Task manager that you can actually use. It syncs with the Mac version.
Or, 1Password. The iPhone version is free and it syncs perfectly with your Mac. I haven’t found a good checkbook utility that syncs seamlessly but it’s just a matter of time.
In other words, sans keyboard and mouse, the iPhone iPod touch tag team is nearing the nirvana of putting the whole Mac experience in your pocket. It’s likely that by this time next year there will be more iPhone customers world wide than Mac customers, despite Apple’s rapid market share growth at Windows expense.
Why? Because Apple has managed to do in a year or two what Microsoft has failed to do in nearly 25 years of Windows. Recreate the Mac experience on another device.
Even more interesting is how that so-called experience is evolving and attracting more customers which attracts more developers who create more clever and useful applications.
Windows Mobile? Forget it. Google’s G1? The price is right. The geek’s love it. But does it embody the Mac experience? Nope. Never will.
Truly, and in ways far better than Windows, the Mac, with the seamless integration of OS and hardware, and iLife and iWork and the thousands of excellent applications and utilities, creates a user experience that sets the standard, raises the bar, and becomes a part of your digital life, if not the hub of the digital life (music, movies, TV shows, photos, etc).
The iPhone has quickly become an extension of that experience. Synchronization takes seconds. Whatever I buy on my iPhone can be synced back to my Mac (and to the PC) via the ubiquitous iTunes which creates a no-brainer user experience that makes Windows pale.
Sure, Apple needs an iPhone nano to help protect the low end of the iPod market from cell phones which claim to do music and movies, but the real future of mobile digital lifestyle is here now, wrapped up in the iPhone platform, including the soon-to-be 20,000 applications (19,000 of them which will continue to be crapola for awhile to come).
The next time a Windows PC loving friend or an apostate Mac user looks at a $300 Windows netbook in Office Depot or Best Buy, tell them Apple already has one. It’s $229 and it’s called the iPod touch.
And it’s just another Mac in your pocket.