There are many things to like About Apple. There are also plenty of things for Apple enthusiasts to criticize when the company makes mistakes. However, even if you really don't like Apple, for any reason, it's still important to not only pay attention but even embrace its technologies.
Image credit: Apple
Apple is a very wealthy and successful company. It is confident about its products. It seldom, if ever, indulges in public discussions of its mistakes. Its products appeal to people with healthy disposable income and a desire to get things done instead of tinkering. The company drags us into the future, even when we're not ready.
For some people, this is sufficient reason to have mild distaste for Apple.
Embracing Apple Anyway
However, when we look at the ability of Apple to understand how to develop technology and how to make it work in our lives, Apple has been singularly successful. In contrast:
- Google tried its hand with RSS, Glass and Wallet. They all flopped.
- BlackBerry and Nokia were outsmarted in smartphone technology by Apple.
- Microsoft tried its hand early with tablets and did not see the right path forward. The Windows Phone, Surface Tablet and Windows 8 have all failed to be warmly embraced.
Apple has a unique ability, developed over the years, to understand how technology should integrate into our lives. While other companies design products they hope we'll buy, Apple figures out what we need. Because of that, the rate of adoption of Apple products can be uncomfortably fast, even dizzying to those who stay on the outside.
We all need expert help coping with change, and to do that we need leverage.
Next page: how exponential change needs leverage
Page 2 - How Exponential Change Needs Leverage
Just about anything we measure in modern day technical life is on an exponential curve. The problem arises when humans try to cope, without help, in constant time intervals for a long time. The following chart illustrates that.
If one coped with the change in something, anything (the Y-axis) in time interval dt1 (the X-axis) one won't be able to do it again in an equal time interval dt2 without leverage. Too much is happening on the rising exponential curve during the time dt2.
When technologies stagnate, we have the luxury of feeling like the status quo works. But when technology works and takes off, then it's important to get on board with that technology early and smartly—or be hopelessly left behind. Without the right kind of technical leverage, it's not possible to cope with exponential curves. A coherent Apple ecosystem is one tool that gives us the leverage we need. Simplicity of design is another. Building the best product money can buy (and eliminating buyer's remorse) is yet another.
Apple's unique skill is to give its customers the leverage they need to cope with change. Being bogged down by poor product design is not the kind of leverage that pays off.
A good example is Apple's new MacBook. While some may lament the loss of ports, Apple sees a MacBook future, like the iPad before it, with a mostly wireless and clean design. Similarly, just like the earliest notebooks in which Apple rethought the (forward) placement of the keyboard or the modern smartphone without a physical keyboard, there is resistance at first. Then, everyone, even the competition, adopts a better way forward. Who is complaining now about the loss of the SuperDrive?
Catch the Bus
I remember back in the early 1980s, I read a missive by John Dvorak about how important it was for everyone to buy a PC and "get on the bus." That was his way of saying that one must embrace that new technology or be forever unable to catch up.
When I watch Downton Abbey and see the pace of the lives in the early 20th century, I marvel at, in comparison, how productive, active and knowledgeable we are in the early 21st century. I'm not against reflection, peace, balance, recreation and family. But when we work, we engage in tools and technologies that would take the breath away from the Crawleys.
The same thing is facing us today. In the future, Apple customers will check out of Whole Foods or board a flight with a wave of the wrist. The exploitation of wireless technologies and highly secure smartphones (and smartwatches) will allow people to behave and act in mysterious ways that are confident and smart for them but will mystify those who elected not to get on the bus.
Because Apple is so good at understanding our needs and integrating technology in our lives, compared to the current competition, things happen fast. Apple Pay has taken off. Apple has sold the iPhone 6 and Plus at a staggering pace. Home Automation is set to burst onto the everyday scene. Health monitoring will allow some people to live healthier and more productive lives. The wearable revolution, signified by the Apple Watch, will change our behavior, making us more efficient and provide much needed tech leverage.
As for Apple's interest in cars, see, for example, "Apple’s drive for world auto dominance spooks the industry." The article concludes, "The car industry has three to five years left to determine where they want to be in this new age of mobility."
That's why even if one has misgivings about Apple, it's important to pay attention to what the company is doing, understand its contributions, and get the most out of what its products have to offer. It's the logical thing to do.
Teaser image via Shutterstock.