The best technology is the technology that allows us to connect to our chosen devices. I don’t believe that we are ever going to get anywhere as a technologically advanced society if we simply _use_ technology. When we use our gadgets to connect on a human level; this is when we can move forward together.
I am sitting at the flagship Apple Store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Earl and I have been here a couple of times, including opening day. I am sitting in a tier sitting area that is designed to allow folks to sit down, do what they want to do and connect with one another. Apple envisions their new stores as a Town Square or Community Center. I feel that vibe sitting here on Michigan Avenue.
I’m looking around at all the folks using the technology around me. I see nothing but Apple devices, which is to be expected, though occasionally at an Apple store I’ll see someone using a Samsung smartphone or a Lenovo laptop, grabbing some of the free available Apple Wi-fi. They are not chased out of the store, nor are they told that their device is stupid and that they should switch to iOS or mac OS. Folks should have a technology experience that best suits their needs. There’s no pressure to switch to Apple products here; instead questions are answered.
When Earl and I were visiting friends last weekend, I noticed that one of our friends was using one of the later iterations of a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. I don’t follow the Android space that much, but it was one of the phones where the display wrapped around the edges of the phone into the bezel area. I asked him how he liked it. I was surprised when he said that he wasn’t really a fan. The wrapped around edges of the phone made it difficult for him to do some things. That was an interesting thing to me; I wonder if that had been considered when Samsung designed the phone.
There’s often discussion about how Apple is late to the party with some of the enhancements in their phones. I believe that Apple fully investigates, at least most of the time, how the changes they make to their hardware or software experience is going to be received by the user. There’s little to gain in being first to the market with a new feature; there’s a lot to be gained when you offer the best experience of a new feature. This is something that I think Apple full embraces and appreciates.
The Amazon Alexa technology that we are using for our SmartHome set up works well, but it comes nowhere near to meeting a 100% human, confident, trustworthy experience. Last night I noticed that Alexa had stopped turning our lights on and off on command. It turns out that she had completely forgotten what devices we had and was pretty much brain dead on our setup. It took a few moments to convince her to get her wits about herself again (she had to rediscover all the devices in the house). While she was relearning our home alphabet, I asked Siri to turn off the lights in question. Now, we haven’t used Siri for this in quite a while but Siri happily obliged on the first try and surprisingly did it faster than Alexa has ever done the same task. While we have several Alexa devices scattered about the condo and we fully rely on Alexa to handle our smart home tasks, it doesn’t mean that she’s better at it. With Apple’s delay in the release of the HomePod, we went with available technology. I’m very interested to see what Apple does with Siri integration into HomePod. I’m confident that they will be cautious and won’t disappoint.
There’s always a reason behind Apple’s methodical release of hardware, software, and assorted features. Sometimes this deliberate approach is frustrating. In a country where people like to rally into tribes and teams, it’s easy for “the other side” to bash Apple for not being first to the party. Many want a winning and a losing team at everything. This will be the eventual downfall of our society.
Sitting here at the Apple Store, watching everyone use and embrace their technology, I feel inspired. I mostly feel inspired to do the Right Thing, in my professional career, as a private pilot and as a husband and a member of an awesome chosen family.
Do The Right Thing, no matter how long it takes.