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Complexity versus simplicity

I often find myself buying the latest gadgets, only to be disappointed.

A few delight – the iPhone being my personal best example – but many just seem to be over-engineered and too complex.

Take the Android.

It may be me, but I was recently given a fantastic new Android Phone – a Universe or something like that – and it is a beautiful little machine.

Shiny, hi-def, sleek and slim. 

For a second, I thought my iPhone was so last generation.

Then I tried using it.

Nothing synched automatically – Outlook needed everything setting up from scratch via Google gmail and this involved a lot of googling to find out how to do that.

The iPhone did it all automatically.

Then I decided to watch a video.

Oh dear.

Bought the vid through the Android Store, but then had to spend half an hour working out that the video was now available to watch on YouTube but, if I wanted to see it on the phone, I had to download it.

The download would then work only with a specific app that wasn’t loaded on the phone, as I discovered through trial and error, so I then had to find the app.

Once you load the app you can watch the video, but only after you learn how to pin the video and ask for it to download.

Once that’s done, you can watch the video on the phone … but nowhere else as you’ve now downloaded it.

The iTunes movie experience is so much easier.

Don’t get me wrong, as Apple is also a ‘mare for the non-Apple user.

I can say this as a newbie to a Mac, having been a Micronerk for decades.

Love the Mac.

Looks wonderful, fantastic screen, and all these new things to play with like Keynote and Pages.

If you have the time and inclination to relearn everything you know.

One click, instead of two.

Cmd rather than Ctrl.

A good example of the relearning is loading a CD and finding there’s no eject button, no right click on the mouse and no delete button on the keyboard.

These things are all there – googling them, you find them – but it takes a while and isn’t quite as intuitive as you think or expect.

Nevertheless, I’m a confirmed Apple man – the iPhone convinced me – so I’ll persevere and make the switch, as are hundred of thousands of others.

A good example as to why is buying the equivalent of Office on the Mac, called iWorks.  All I wanted was Word, PowerPoint and Excel.  The equivalent on the Mac is Pages, Keynote and Numbers.

These are all available as apps for £13.99 each.

£109.95 for the equivalent Microsoft products of Mac, or £36.65 each.

Hmmmm …

Another  is the ease of upgrade of the Apple operating system.

To upgrade Apple’s operating system … you just buy the upgrade app off the iTunes store.

Microsoft’s upgrade CD from Vista to Windows 7 is still in the box in my study (too scared to try it after my experiences of using Vista).

Finally, I’m trying to use Outlook on the Mac and find it’s not quite the same.   But then Outlook on Microsoft is not great. 

Case in point: sharing calendars.

There’s even a $125 add-on to allow you to do this easily if you want.  The add-on’s hookline?  No Exchange Server and PhD required.

Yep.  That’s the old world of computing for you: engineers and PhD’s needed to make them work.

Today, we don’t want or need that.  Just switch on and go, and that’s what Apple does best.

Does this mean doom for Microsoft, as I predicted in 2007?

Not yet, but only Azure will save them as everyone’s moving to cloud.

And that strategy will only succeed if their corporate user continues to support them, as the home consumer is moving and moving fast.  I would question the enterprise view now too, as most of my banks are sending out tablet PCs that are also generally Apple-based.

So if the corporate market moves to simplicity with Apple, then the Micronerk’s days are truly numbered.

According to the average estimate of market share, global Microsoft market share for PC OS is hovering at around 81%, whilst Apple has reached 9%, but their numbers are going up fast.

The USA is a good bellwether for this and, according to Gartner, fourth-quarter 2011PC shipments in the USA fell for every vendor but Apple.  HP shipments (my current desktop brand) sank by over 26%, while Apple's grew by 20.7%. The Mac maker solidified its No. 3 ranking, with market share rising to 11.6% from 9% year over year.

Note: in 2006, Apple’s market share was just 4%.  



About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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  • David Hannam

    We are just making the move at home to iOS and iCloud and loving the iMac and our iPhones and with Virtual Client Services at work and remote access to the office now being from my own home iMac and broadband instead of corporate laptop it is a very different compute model and Apple is a key part and more importantly it is my choice enabled by my employer.
    I have one confession to make – loaded Office for Mac11 – far too old to learn Keynote and Pages….

  • Chris

    I also truly believe that people are to busy now a days to spend hours going through manuals on how a device should work.
    Just take it out the box, go through a wizard and go.

  • And then you tried to look at a website on your iPad – but the site used industry standard Flash…
    …oops!! ;o)

  • Erik Bogaerts

    ‘Industry standard’ and ‘Flash’ don’t quite go in the same sentence anymore these days 😉