I think Apple has been coasting since Steve Jobs died, trying to find themselves. One of the things Jobs told now CEO Tim Cook was to not think about what Steve Jobs would do but to do what Cook thought was right. It’s been a long time since anything truly exciting came out of Apple, but today, something did. Tim Cook took his first steps out of Steve Jobs’s shadow.
Apple’s iOS 7 was the first iOS after Jobs died and it was a controversial OS. The look and user interface completely changed to the new “flat” design. People loved it and hated it all at once, but other than the radical new look, not that much changed. Tim Cook steps out of Jobs’s shadow today because the new iOS 8 shown today does add some ground breaking new elements and more importantly, elements that I’m not sure Jobs would have done himself.
One of the primary reasons some people leave the iPhone for a Google Android phone is that Android phones are more open and flexible. You can customize them more readily and there are more options available for developers. Apple’s tradition is to tell you what you want and what is good. The Apple faithful accept The Word. Steve Jobs himself had an almost maniacal need for control. This control was the catalyst for some remarkable products to be sure, but when a product gets more mature, it needs to grow and change and I believe Steve’s control often hurt this process. Lately, more people have been trying Android phones and Apple needed a response.
The response was iOS 8 and it changes the game in ways I don’t think Steve Jobs’s control fetish would allow him to do. Tim cook has opened up iOS 8 in wonderful ways that will put it more on par with what people love about Android. It’s all about the new expanded SDK or software developers kit. Apple now allows developers access to areas of the OS they never had before. Apple used to control which social networks you were able to share with and it was a very limited number. Now, sharing is wide open and customers will be able to share with any social network they have installed. Like, Android, you will also be able to share with other Apps as well. Developers also now have open access to the camera and Touch ID api which will allow all kinds of new innovation. There is so much more I won’t list all the details but suffice to say, iOS 8 is shockingly wide open for developers and we’re going to see a whole new generation of apps and capabilities. It’s not perfect, of course, and there is still no support for widgets as Android has and many had hoped for in iOS, but no matter, this is a massive step forward for Apple.
I have been going between iOS and Android phones for the past few years and my current cycle is Android. I do like my Moto X quite a bit and I was planning on extending my stay with Android for a bit more, but to be honest, today’s presentation has be re-thinking. The software is dialed in, I like what I see with iOS 8 but now it’s about the hardware. A new iPhone will come in the fall and that will be the determining factor. If Apple can pair a fantastic piece of hardware with this new OS, watch out, they’re going to blow up all over again. What I am primarily looking for now is screen size. Another appeal of Android for many folks is the fact that there are larger screens available on Android. You can get 4.7″ all the way up to 5.5″. My Moto X is 4.7″ and it’s nearly ideal. 5.5″ always felt a little big and so, in my opinion, 5″ is the absolute perfect size. Rumor is that Apple will go with a 4.7″ model and follow it up with a 5.5″ model. Apple has never done multiple screen sizes, so I have a hard time believing it. My best guess would be they go with 4.7″ and leave it at that. But that would be more traditional Apple thinking and Tim Cook is stepping out of Steve Job’s shadow, so what knows? Anything could happen, and I wait with great anticipation.