Reluctant iFanboy seeks, long term, unified OS relationship
Apple tells me I should want to live in a "post PC world". That is the problem, and that is why this love affair can't last. "It's not me Apple, it's you" Don't get me wrong I use my Apple products every day. But I feel we are getting conflicting messages from Cupertino. "Its a computer in your pocket but don't you dare use it like a computer" When the iPhone/iPod Touch first came out I did not see much value in iPhone OS as originally released. But then came the Dev Team, and jailbreaking. Suddenly the potential for the device increased dramatically. The jailbreak community then, and now has shown the way. Almost every improvement made to the iOS platform showed up first on jailbroken devices. I want to use my mobile device in the way that I choose, often that is as a PC in my pocket. I am not alone.
But what does that mean for the future? Is post PC where we need to go? Is it all cars, and no trucks? Maybe a few motorcycles? My iPhone is my camera, my telephone, my e-mail, bus schedule checker, mp3 player, GPS, Facebook conduit, weatherman, Twitter feed, eReader, and game platform. My iPad is all of those things and a few more. However my PC is all of those things too. Which device is the right choice for the job depends on many things, but I would like to live in a world where any device could, at the very least, suffice for any job. Why should the manufacturers dictate what a device can or cannot do? If I need to wait longer for a slower processor, and pay the price in battery drain to accomplish a task on my phone when a PC is not available. That option should be avalable. When I am half way through that task and a PC becomes available I would love to hand that task off to the more powerful platform. And when it is time to be mobile I want to take the results with me, regardless of codec, file type, or software. I want to buy an application once, and have a unified experience across all devices. I don't think I am talking about a "Post PC world" I think I am dreaming of a modular PC world.
Imagine if every device you own, your phone, your tablet, your TV ( arguably just a monitor this point ), and your PC could seamlessly share any file, app, or resource. The convergence of the "Cloud" , batteries, smaller storage, and processing technologies puts this fairly close at hand. The Onlive video game service demonstrates how modern "terminal" computing can be leveraged. Now imagine if that kind of thinking was baked into the very fiber of a unified OS across every device you use. You ask your phone to perform a task beyond the scope of its processing power. The phone knows its inadequate, but is not afraid to ask for help. It just shakes hands via the cloud with the nearest device with the right resources and passes the task along and presents you with results. If I want to play Skyrim in my hotel my game console at home or my Onlive service delivers the game via the cloud to my tablet which is acting as the terminal. The tablet serves the image to the hotel television via built in airplay technology, while my phone acts as the controller. Maybe I buy time on a virtual PC from Amazon. My tablet is the conduit but all the heavy lifting is done on Amazons virtual PC and files, and resources are shared seamlessly between my phone, my tablet, my laptops, and my computers.
What this all comes down to is removing barriers both real, and artificial. I often feel that Apples knee jerk response is that they think they know what’s best for the user, and build a walled garden around your experience to keep you safe. I would submit that there are enough real world technical barriers to the perfect integration of my multi-device lifestyle. Why Apple is building artificial barriers makes no sense to me. Android on the other hand barely seems to be addressing the issue at all, and may not even be the correct platform to do so. Google's phone efforts although popular are fragmented ( BINGO!),their tablet efforts are barely worth talking about, and Chrome OS is too far from maturity to be a viable real world option. Only one company seems to have most of the pieces in place and a tradition of building an affordable platform, then letting me get down to business in the way I prefer. Unfortunately they seem to be asleep at the wheel.
Wake up Microsoft!