Apple’s locked-in user experience may become their undoing.
Make no bones about it, the iPad and iPhone before it, revolutionised the personal computing market. The interface between the technology and human expression was reduced to simple gestures and interaction which felt intuitive. Most importantly accessing content become simple. Apple themselves being the provider of entertainment through their various stores.
And the best thing about it all was that “it just worked”. And it did for the most part. The average consumer was met with the service which one has come to expect when you part with your hard earned cash. The reason for this was because Apple maintained high standards. Certain processes (and guidelines) had to be followed in order for your work to feature on the App Store.
This makes perfect sense to me. I put tremendous amounts of faith into this company because my user experience has always been outstanding. I also made an assumption that I was aligning myself with the most innovative company in the world.
A wake up call
An Apple ID has become the solid foundation of many people’s digital identity. It’s through this ID that we make legitimate transactions via Appleâ€™s online and offline stores. We also use this ID to communicate with each other with iMessage and occasionally through FaceTime.
Then we have our iCloud accounts. These are places where our personal content is stored and synced between multiple personal devices. This might include personal notes, reminders or personal calendars, maybe your personal documents. You get the idea it’s all very personal. Should you want to collaborate with other Apple iCloud accounts, say share a to-do list, or develop a Pages document with colleagues, then you’re all out of luck.
As of April 2013 iCloud had just over 300 million users. Many of these users are already signed into their devices (with their Apple ID’s) and communicating using iMessage. Surely Apple have the foresight to know that users want to collaborate easily with their friends using other mediums too?
I acknowledge that there has been some effort towards this with shared Photo Streams, but in an effort to disguise the complexity of a sync service in a simple solution, users just aren’t aware of the options available to them. And it seems that Apple are equally unaware of the opportunity to capitalise on collaborative aspects of their services.
Hopes for iOS 7
Pages, Keynote and Numbers need to mimic the collaborative aspects of Google Drive/Docs. When I share my work with colleagues I do not want to share an instance of my document. I want to share the actual document and I would expect my colleagues to be able to make additions, in real time.
With iCloud Storage and collaborative APIs made available for developers, who knows where the iCloud sign-in could take us for collaboration and socialising?
So in the lead up to the WWDC; Apple, please do something great with iCloud!