Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
The dots have not been connecting for me lately, which is one of the main reasons why I am switching to using an iPhone 5.
I have been using an Android device for 2.5 years now. Having been a heavy Google user (Gmail, Reader, Docs, Search, etc) for many years, having that data accessible to me without jumping through hoops was extremely important to me. The native apps for Gmail have always been better with Android than they have for iOS, for example, which was a factor in keeping me in the Android ecosystem.
I also bought into owning an open system that I could modify freely and easily. Each Android phone I purchased (Motorola Milestone, Samsung Nexus S, I learned to unlock right away in order to upgrade it to the latest release of Android without having to wait for the carrier to release it.
There was a slight problem when I did this each time. Upgrading the OS broke several of the apps I came to rely on, and there was little reason for them to provide an updated version of the apps since very few people would be using the latest OS for a while. I lived with this annoyance each time and moved onto other apps to replace the functions I missed most.
This is quite the contrast to when I upgraded my iPad to iOS 6 this year. App updates came quickly, and I believe every app I have is now iOS 6 ready. You don’t appreciate that kind of speediness to app updates unless you have been using other systems that have much slower rollouts.
The other issues I have had with the phone have been rather minor, so what would compel me to drop it and spend a lot of money to upgrade to an iPhone 5?
In my definition, the ecosystem is how you use apps to both create and read data, plus how you share that data with other systems. At the core of the ecosystem is how you discover those apps and where your data is stored.
In an isolated environment, either the Android or iOS ecosystem is fine. My parents have Android devices, I loaded music up for them, showed them how to download a few games like Angry Birds, and how to log into Facebook. Apart from learning how to text message, make phonecalls, and get their photos off of the phone and onto their computers, that is all they really want to use their phones for.
If you are like me and wanting to work with data between mobile devices and your computer, things become more complicated and frustrating. To me, mobile devices are more than just a communication device (phone, text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, email). They are an augmentation of my brain, even more so than my computer.
If I see something, I either want to capture that moment (picture, a note), find out more about it (Wikipedia, YouTube, Google Search), or share it (email, Twitter, Facebook). More often than not, it is about learning more about something. A restaurant review, how it is outside, whether there is a big sports game happening, and so on. The other common moment is when I want to capture an idea or quote for a future blog post or a business idea to build upon for a client. With the right app, I find the initial thought flows down into action quickly and easily.
Actions are completed almost instaneously because I have the device with me almost all the time now. There is no delay in getting to my computer, or scrambling to find a notepad to write something down. When you are already laying down in bed, who wants to turn on a light and take the time to write something down? Pick up the phone, enter in a note or set a reminder and you are done in seconds.
The disconnect I have been feeling lately with Android has to do with getting the captured moments over to my Mac or to the iPad. I don’t have this issue if I am working with my iPad somewhere and want to move a blog post idea over to the Mac. I can jot it down in Byword, and then open it up again in Byword on my Mac through iCloud sync. To do lists are another thing that are difficult for me to manage properly. The interfaces are either great on Android, great on the iPad, or great on the Mac, but never all three for me.
That is a slight nuisance. Keeping the other important data information is a little easier since there are multiple services you can use now: Google Drive, SkyDrive, Dropbox, and iCloud. There is a difference between them all with how you store your data and access it, however, so the choice is not so simple to make. When I was exploring my options and then looking at the various iPhone 5 reviews, I came across Geof Harries’ post about creating a cloud-centric Windows set-up. Towards the end, he outlines his requirements for the perfect cloud solution:
- The ability for me to set up a common group of directories/folders that I can name myself and be shared and synced across all of the computers. If these directories need to be in different locations on each computer because of the software that uses them, like fonts, I must be able to easily create links between those folders.
- The provider I choose should be, as much as possible, independent of the technology that accesses it. In other words, I shouldn’t have to use a manufacturer’s hardware or software in order to get at the files I’ve stored with them (as is the case with Apple). Some proprietary software is fine, but too much is unacceptable.
The more I thought about what I needed to do, the more I realized I was opposite to what Geof was looking for. He wanted control over a structure; I wanted a dumping ground that automatically had flow. I want to be able to find something easily, without having to worry about where I stored it.
I looked at how my Mac was organized and realized I allowed the operating system to do most of the organizing for me. All my music/movies are organized through iTunes, I move over PDFs/eBooks into iTunes right away, as well to sync with the iPad. Pictures get added to iPhoto. The work files are organized in one spot, but most of my other data is organized through apps.
I had structured most of my workflows to iOS even before I had the iPad, did I want to unravel that a bit to add in a new system to organize files or build upon it?
The natural solution is to build upon what has been working and believe that an iPhone will only make it that much better. I already use Byword for my writing (on Mac and iPad), but I would be able to do that even more with an iPhone. With Poster, I could not only blog from my iPad but also from my phone. I would eliminate the process of uploading my photos to my Mac for backup, because that would happen automatically through iPhone. And, of course, all the apps I would be using, I have already purchased. There would be no need for me to re-purchase them.
When the option is choosing between a disjointed solution or a seamless solution, I am going to choose seamless from now on.
iPhone 5, I can’t wait to hold you in my hand.