The motto of this blog is “Star Wars or Star Trek, Apple or Google, The Battle For Supremacy and Relevancy Thrives Here” and it is in this spirit that I write this post. Choosing a platform is the quintessential decision we are faced with on a daily basis every time you fire up a PC, smartphone, TV, or glance at a billboard. This is a battleground waged almost primarily through advertisements and press. Apple or Android, Windows or Mac? Let me first burst your bubble, you won’t find a single answer-to-it-all recommendation here. Don’t leave though because just like you I battle the same desire to go all in on one platform. There’s the allure of simplicity, uniformity, and accessibility in the idea of buying wholly into one platform. Nevertheless I recently have come to terms with one fact…no platform exists that can adequately be all things to all people/me.
Oh yes many try, but at some point all fail. How about some examples starting with Google. It’s no secret that Google search reigns supreme. I won’t digress into a comparison with other search engines; after all it’s part of vocabulary to Google something when you perform an online search and not to Bing it. Besides every time I see the word ‘Bing’ I think of Chandler’s annoying girlfriend from Friends (Janice) wooing him in her nasally voice “Chandler Bingggg!” Ick! Yet comparing Google Docs to MS Office is also a gross mistake. In this case feature by feature Office trumps Google docs by a long shot. Sorry to disappoint again but for purposes of another article I’ll stay away from the Apple (iOS) to Google (Android) comparison. That’s a whole different can of worms. Instead how about another conundrum- internet browsers. There’s Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari to name a few. The lines blur a bit here but if you’re priority like me is speed and access to the cloud then Chrome is the clear answer.
Want a piece of hardware, then look no further than Apple the undisputed king (in the court of public and this engineer’s opinion) of innovation and good product engineering. Let’s talk about some apps. For instance note taking apps. Try the popular Evernote or my personal favorite Springpad. Have you seen the pathetic stock Notes app on the iPhone? Honestly who still uses yellow note pads anymore, much less a faux one on a tiny screen? Thankfully Notes is getting a makeover in iOS 7. I can go on all day and would likely end up with a very long laundry list of me too products to compliment a few very good ones but I think I’ll just get straight to the point. That point being hardware and software makers have their strengths and weaknesses. Diving all in on one platform (Apple people are likely going to strongly disagree with me most here) will only be your loss. My advice, find what you like and go for it. Focus on things that try to do one or two things best rather than being all things to all people. If it really is a good product it’ll offer cross platform integration anyways. After all last I checked you can still open up Word and perform internet searches through Google on the Chrome web browser all on an iMac. Don’t just stick to meat and potatoes when you can have your cake and eat it too.
Goodieness: If Gmail is your primary mailbox service and you have an iOS device you’ll never have a cluttered inbox again all without ever having to dispose of a single email. Sorting mail is literally addictive, like playing Angry Birds.
Crummieness: Besides not being available before….only syncs with Gmail.
With one quick download my pile of emails almost instantaneously got sorted. I can honestly say that never has an app ended up straight to my main app dock so quickly. Same day in fact. Mailbox by Orchestra, Inc. is exactly what the name suggests. It’s a mailbox for email, Gmail specifically and exclusively. It’s currently available for Apple’s iOS devices only. If you fall into both camps then this is good news for you particularly if you’re inbox is cluttered which so easily happens nowadays as you pretty much have to subscribe to everything online.
I read the buzz about this app a couple months ago and decided to take the plunge. It was still in beta which meant going to the App Store and downloading it only put you in a long line to getting a link to downloading it. I was given a number (750K and change) that I could check daily by opening the app icon to see it tick down. After about 6 weeks a notification popped up allowing me to grab it finally. I was not disappointed. Note it’s now available for download instantly. After a painless sign in screen to my Gmail account the sync began. Then a really helpful tutorial ensued. The first thing you’ll notice that’s different about its approach to mail is that my icon badge defaulted to listing the number of items in my inbox (approx. 454 for me at time of download). It did not distinguish read from unread items. Before you get in a tizzy over that, realize this is the whole point of mailbox, it aims to help you clean out your mailbox and keep it clean in a fun and visually pleasing way. In fact there’s even a reward for doing it! I’ll get to that soon.
The original iPod debuted November 10, 2001 and along with it a whole new naming convention was born or should I say iBorn. Ick, even typing words with the lowercase ‘i’ moniker makes my stomach turn because of its over usage. Since then countless products, apps, and companies, have all decided to pile on Apple’s coat tails and ride the iWave by following the exact same product naming convention. It wouldn’t surprise me if some silly parents haven’t named their kid iTom or worse by now. Maybe it’s the rebel streak in me but I just can’t stand it if what I wear, what I buy, my hobbies, or even the way I talk isn’t distinguishable and I just don’t fully understand the onslaught of blatant Apple capitalization and Wanna-Bes. I suppose I can understand the Apple related accessories or Apple geared apps using the ‘i’ moniker to some extent, particularly those exclusive to Apple products only but most are frankly a stretch. I once bought a baby monitor that was conveniently named an iMonitor. The name suggests that perhaps it’s one of those fancy video monitors that can sync with your iPhone right? Wrong, it was just a pair of radios and an audio transmitter. A companion app was non-existent. It had nothing to do with Apple. There’s an app called iFart need I say more? Alright, that’s funny and maybe it gets a pass, nevertheless.
Now I’m not suggesting Apple owns the use of the letter ‘i’ as part of a product name. Rather what I am saying is though they weren’t the first, they’ve made it part of their branding and part of our everyday vernacular. They were original with their marketing campaigns and naming conventions. I’m basically saying what happened to good old-fashioned marketing creativity? Be proud of your product on its own laurels if it has any game. At least use a different vowel as a moniker. Come on uCreate it! See not that hard (for the record I’ll try and not title another post with the ‘i’ moniker).