How it all works

Ap­ple’s op­er­at­ing sys­tems make your Mac, iPhone, and iPad work to­gether in per­fect har­mony

Mac Format - - GET MORE FROM APPLE -

lthough it’s some­thing of a cliché to say “It just works” when de­scrib­ing Ap­ple kit, with one or two ex­cep­tions it’s ab­so­lutely true. Plug an iPhone or iPad into a Mac, for ex­am­ple, and iTunes launches au­to­mat­i­cally, dis­plays your iOS de­vice, and asks whether you want to sync it.

When in­ter­ven­tion is re­quired, Ap­ple usu­ally pro­vides an app to walk you through the process. Air­Port Util­ity is a case in point, mak­ing it easy for most peo­ple to set up and start us­ing an Air­Port Ex­treme or Time Cap­sule.

The flip side of this is that for more ex­pe­ri­enced users, or those who have spe­cific needs, the ba­sic op­tions of­fered aren’t enough, and some dig­ging is re­quired to find spe­cific set­tings. In Air­Port Util­ity’s case, the set­tings, for the most part, are present but they’re not ob­vi­ous and of­ten are pre­sented un­der dif­fer­ent names to those found in the doc­u­men­ta­tion of other routers.

Steve Jobs’ idea of a ‘dig­i­tal hub’ from around 2003, with the Mac sat at the cen­tre, has been sur­passed by a sys­tem in which de­vices connect to each other in a more ran­dom fash­ion, with no sin­gle de­vice as the linch­pin.

AYou can, for ex­am­ple, elect to sync your iPhone and iPad with your iMac, and stream con­tent to Ap­ple TV and Air­Port Ex­press from your Mac­Book Pro. But you can just as eas­ily sync your iPad and iPhone with iCloud, and then stream mu­sic di­rectly from iTunes in the Cloud to any of your Ap­ple de­vices.

It’s also im­por­tant to note that while one piece of Ap­ple kit works beau­ti­fully with an­other, that doesn’t mean you have to buy into the whole ecosys­tem. With the ex­cep­tion of the Watch, which will re­quire an iPhone, you can connect Ap­ple prod­ucts to kit made by any of its com­peti­tors. So, you can hook up your Mac­Book Pro to any Wi-Fi router, your iPad to any Blue­tooth ear­phones, and your Mac Pro to any mon­i­tor with the ap­pro­pri­ate con­nec­tion. There have been oc­ca­sions in the past when, due to tech­ni­cal lim­i­ta­tions (such as an in­sis­tence on us­ing ADB and se­rial con­nec­tions) or mar­ket­ing (lim­it­ing the orig­i­nal iPod and iTunes to Mac users), Ap­ple has placed re­stric­tions on what you can use with its de­vices. But, de­spite claims to the con­trary from some quar­ters, th­ese days Ap­ple re­lies on the benefits of mak­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of buy­ing into its sys­tem a great one, rather than shoe­horn­ing users into it.

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