Yesterday evening UK time, Preacher Man Steve Jobs addressed his congregation and they said ‘It was good’. iCloud. Lion. iOS5 – it was all there as expected. But looking past the Apple shine, does this move forward really provide the game changer that we’re used to seeing from Apple? This fanboy thinks not.
As a subscriber to MobileMe for the past few years I’m used to most of the services put on offer at yesterdays conference. I’m not a believer, as many are, that Mobile Me was the elephant in the room of Apple’s product delivery. In fact I’ve been an advocate and it’s nice to see that the offering is going to be free under the iCloud name. But to me this looks like a re-badge of the Mobile Me platform with the added advantage of adding music to the mix. This is a logical step for Apple in order to boost its iTunes offering and to the US market it’s a big deal, but as a European consumer I’m used to Spotify (not available in the US at present) which offers a similar, and in some way better, product. That said, the dangled carrot of paying $25 to have your ripped music upgraded to 256 VBR is a very tempting carrot indeed.
The revised Apple OS’s are interesting in different ways. Lion (coming in at a fantastic £20.99 upgrade price) looks set to unify the iOS and OS look and feel, possibly paving the way for touch screen iMac’s and Macbook Pro’s (yes please!). As a fan of the existing OS, I’m exciting by the offering here. But I’m less ‘wowed’ by the iOS update. Integrated Twitter functionality paves the way for the platform’s longevity but this is something Android, especially HTC handsets, have been doing for longer. And iMessage is borrowed, albeit improved, from Blackberry’s BBM. I feel that Apple’s claims that this will kill SMS and MMS messaging are premature.
What Apple have succeeded in is tying consumers into their brand. I have a MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPad so the fact that OS’s are in sync is fantastic but nothing new to an existing Mobile Me subscriber. Apple are fantastic at their products, but other companies are making great leaps forward in their OS and platforms. For now I remain loyal to the Church of Steve Jobs, but as the new Church of Eric Schmidt continues to grow and improve maybe I’ll change philosophy.