It’s a sticky situation
New ‘ sticky’ software is designed to lock users into the Apple system,
APPLE is building a bigger wall. The Cupertino technology giant has long been focused on keeping users inside a closed ecosystem – a walled garden – and its new phone and computer software announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco recently continued the trend.
Apple’s announcements show it is keen to tighten the bonds between desktop, laptop, tablet computers and phones, making them more “sticky”, as well as extending its reach to the houses we live in, the cars we drive and even our physical wellbeing.
Its new mobile operating system, iOS 8, will tackle wellbeing with an app called Health. The app will gather data from activity trackers, healthmonitoring devices and even your medical centre in a central portal.
Apple also announced Homekit, a system for developers to let consumers bring app- connected smart appliances together and allow Siri to control them.
To further lock users into Apple devices, Apple chief executive Tim Cook emphasised an approach called “continuity” between iOS 8 and OS Yosemite, both of which are due in spring as free updates.
A new feature called Handoff will let users switch from the document, message or email already started on one Apple device to continue on another device.
Another feature called Family Sharing will let up to six members of a family share Apple apps, music and movies as long as they all pay with one credit card.
A new iCloud Photo library will share photos
Why should I run across the room to pick up an iPhone when I am already on an Apple device
across mobile and desktop devices, files will be transferred from iPhones to Macs with a revamped AirDrop, and iPads and Macs will be used as speakers for incoming calls to iPhones.
One thing missing at WWDC, however, was new hardware. Despite the hopes of many Apple watchers, there was no revamped MacBook Air, “professional” iPad or the much- anticipated iWatch.
Instead, the focus was on the developers who make the apps that run on iPhones and iPads. The happy appy chappies received new programming code and fewer restrictions on elements such as quick- type keyboards to enable swipe- style typing popular with Google Android fans.
Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi tweeted a summary of Apple’s new strategy: “Secure openness, more is better when it comes to devices, growing the value of iCloud. All = a richer ecosystem experience.”
IDC analyst Tom Mainelli summed up Apple’s strategy as making its environment “pleasantly sticky”.
“The continuity stuff is huge,” Mainelli says. “I’ve often wondered why Apple is not pressing its advantage here with a phone and a tablet and a notebook all in my bag, and yet they don’t know that they are in the bag together and that I’m moving from one device to another.
“Why should I run across the room to pick up an iPhone when I am already on an Apple device?”
Mainelli says while the emphasis at WWDC was on operating systems, when you look at the features and the emphasis on the app development community, Apple is about growing its ecosystem.