Apple has long been the company that everyone assumed would jump the device convergence bridge first. Touch gestures and little UI improvements in iOS were added into OS X over time and OS X itself served as the base for iOS from the beginning. When the iPad joined into the iOS family and was adopted with great speed, many, including myself (my idiot self back in 2010), considered a future with Apple using iOS as the base of their operating system’s user interface as daft.
Comparing Apple’s ecosystem to that of Windows in its current form, the two are remarkably similar in what they’re trying to achieve and offer to consumers. But Apple’s Phil Schiller has recently announced that the company won’t follow their competition in adopting similar interfaces across their product lineup.
Macworld got the chance to sit down with some of Apple’s highest-ranking engineers and executives and discuss the future of Apple and where the company believes it will be in the next decade. Among those present was senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc, Phil Schiller and he had some harsh words for their main competitor, Microsoft.
“The experience we’re trying to create for people, that hasn’t changed,” Schiller said. “The cool thing we’re in the middle of right now is, we exist in both spaces. We don’t waste time thinking, ‘But it should be one interface!’, or “How do you make these operating systems merge together?’ What a waste of energy that would be,” Schiller said.
The goal that Apple has, says Schiller, is to make their product lineup varied enough to be considered different, but converged enough in software and services to make it easier to switch from one platform to the other.
Apple senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, also pitched in with his views on what Apple has been doing with their ecosystem.
“To say they should be the same, independent of their purpose? Let’s just converge, for the sake of convergence? Absolutely a nongoal,” Federighi said. “You don’t want to say the Mac became less good at being a Mac because someone tried to turn it into iOS. At the same time, you don’t want to feel like iOS was designed by [one] company and Mac was designed by [a different] company, and they’re different for reasons of lack of common vision.”
“Sometimes you want a large display, with many different windows open, and sometimes you just want to lay back on the couch or are standing at the bus stop. There’s a natural form factor that drives the optimal experience for each of those things. And I think what we are focused on is delivering the tailored, optimal experience for those kinds of ways that you work, without trying to take a one-size-fits-all solution to it.” Federighi added.
Its worth pointing out that ten years ago, Macworld interviewed Steve Jobs and asked him a very similar question. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? But Jobs was right about a number of things and one set of answers caught my attention. When someone is this close to predicting their company’s future prospects, you have to start wondering if they don’t have a time machine somewhere.
Do you have any other thoughts about where your competitors are taking their strategies? For example, Windows Media PCs are computers attached to TV sets.
Well, we’ve always been very clear on that. We don’t think that televisions and personal computers are going to merge. We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.
Are there some complementary aspects to it?
Well, they want to link sometimes. Like, when you make a movie, you burn a DVD and you take it to your DVD player. Someday that could happen over AirPort, so you don’t have to burn a DVD — you can just watch it right off your computer on your television set. But most of these products that have said, “Let’s combine the television and the computer!” have failed. All of them have failed.
I don’t understand why you’d want to mouse around on your TV set.
The problem is, when you’re using your computer you’re a foot away from it, you know? When you’re using your television you want to be ten feet away from it. So they’re really different animals.