Apple is Pushing Hard Towards a Seamless Experience
With Apple Silicon, Magic Keyboard for iPads, and features like Continuity, Apple is creating an unmatched user experience
Back in 2014, Apple teased a new programming language, two updated operating systems, and dozens of new features for coders and casual users alike. But in terms of actually changing how people use technology, the most ambitious thing introduced at the keynote was an idea:
Continuity across multiple devices.
It popped up at the end of the keynote when Tim Cook reiterated Apple’s aim to deliver “an integrated and continuous experience across all of our products.”
Apple’s always touted the cohesive relationship between its software and its hardware. That is something Apple has been really careful about. Controlling the hardware and the software gives them immense control over reliability, security, speed, and experience.
Continuity is the next step: Designing a seamless experience across the many devices in our lives. It was an aspiration that shaped a simpler, more intuitive phase in consumer technology. And Apple has been preparing for that ever since.
As an example, a feature called “Handoff” addresses the basic use case of jumping from one device to another. When your iPad is near your Macbook, for instance, a handoff icon will pop up on the tablet’s lock screen. If you’re reading a website on your MacBook, you can walk over to your iPad, swipe up, and continue reading the same site. If you’re writing an email on your phone, you can hand it off just as easily to your Mac and finish typing it on a real keyboard. With a global clipboard, you can copy something on the mac and paste it on your iPhone/iPad.
Screenshot from the author: Handoff feature
2020 — Year of Apple Silicon
A year which you would want to forget for sure, due to the Coronavirus and the lockdown. But if you are an Apple fan like me then you would definitely remember this year. This year Apple announced, “Apple Silicon” for macs, fully functional trackpad support for iPad, with their precious magical “Magic keyboard” and updates in iPhone features. But that's is not so important. Features will come and go. They are easy to get because Android already has them. And this race will continue forever.
But what’s important is the move to Apple Silicon.
Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, the next major release of macOS, which delivers its biggest update in more than a decade and includes technologies that will ensure a smooth and seamless transition to Apple silicon. Developers can easily convert their existing apps to run on Apple silicon, taking advantage of its powerful technologies and performance. And for the first time, developers can make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications.
This is a big jump for Apple, creating separate apps for different platforms is a big pain for developers. A lot of companies don’t even bother creating separate apps for iPad like Instagram. And there is a simple reason for that, the value is too less and the effort is too high. Apple is finally trying to reduce that difference and make it easy to create apps for different platforms.
The key thing from a developer point of view is that there will be a common architecture across iOS, macOS, and iPadOS making it easier to write and optimize software for the entire Apple ecosystem.
Since the A-Series (Apple Silicon) chips are, essentially, mobile processors, your next Mac could work more as your iPad does. It’s always on, so ready when you need it. It might also have an eSIM on board so you can add a cellular plan so it’s always connected.
And if you are too deep in the ecosystem like me, you will appreciate this more than anyone. The ability to switch AirPods from one device to another without getting into the Bluetooth settings. Use your iPad to extend the workspace of your Mac. Automatically unlock your Mac when you’re wearing your Apple Watch. And copy and paste images, video, and text from your iPhone or iPad to your nearby Mac, or vice versa. You can check out all the continuity features here.
I will share an example for my daily usage. I am a software engineer by profession. On my desk, my MacBook acts as a workstation, always connected to the external displays and cables. So basically I don’t move my MacBook so much. I use it for all the activities relating to my work. Coding, meetings, messaging, emails, etc.
On my table, I also have my iPad.I use my iPad mostly for reading, taking notes, writing articles, and watching videos like recipes for food. It has become my go-to device. I carry that almost everywhere. Reading, and taking notes, is by far the best use-case for the iPad. And with the new update, supports handwriting detection. So handwritten notes can be easily converted to digital copy.
Then comes my iPhone. I use that to make phone calls and receive Whatsapp video calls. That is it. I don’t use my phone so much when I am at home.
And on top of that, the screen time will tell you the combined usage for all the devices.
Screenshot from the author
In general, people would not be happy about using three different devices, but when the devices don’t feel so different, it removes that barrier. And Apple Silicon is taking a step closer to the unified experience. Another example is the iPad with Apple Pencil support, allowing to remove the barrier of the digital and real world. Read more in my blog here.
Continuity features can assist you throughout the day in doing all kinds of tasks. Clicking pictures, taking videos, editing, marking, and sharing them between devices is butter smooth. I prefer editing and cropping images on the iPad, so I quickly Airdrop it to iPad, edit it, and Airdrop back to Macbook. It is just butter smooth. The list goes on for so many other tasks like calls, messages, entertainment, etc. With so many apps having support for all three operating systems, things become equally smooth. Apps like Notion, Slack, Google Photos, Good Notes, and many more give you a seamless experience like never before.
I am really thrilled about how Apple is dealing with real user problems and solving them with their innovative and creative ways. It is a wonderful time to be alive!
Thanks for reading!