This is part 1 of a series on “Why iOS? Why not Android?”
My first exposure to computers was in the 1970’s and 80’s. I remember going to one friend’s house and seeing his TRS-80, and another having a Commodore VIC-20. There was the Atari 400’s at school, where we pushed a turtle around the screen. This sparked my life-long fascination with computers. But there were three key events that changed my world:
One was being sent to “programming camp” as a kid. I don’t recall the exact year, but very early 1980’s because all the computers there were Apple II+’s. I want to say there were IIe’s and even seeing a poster in the hallway for a III, but that was a long time ago and I can’t recall for sure. Still, this was my first taste of programming (BASIC), and I recall having those 4 books and carrying them with my everywhere. I was in love.
Second thing was a logical progression. A following Christmas, Dad bought the family an Apple IIe. Now I could program freely! Dad saw an ad in the newspaper about a “convention” where you could get lots of software really cheap. Turns out it was the early days of shareware, where folks wrote their apps, put them all on floppy disks, then gathered in a hotel conference room to sell their wares to the public. It was really cool, and I got to disassemble a lot of games to see how they worked. I would hack their source to add in my own mods. It was endless hours of fun.
The third and perhaps more course-setting for me was one day going to my Dad’s office to spend the day with him. Since he couldn’t entertain me the whole time, he pointed me at this cute little box that one of his workers had on his desk. It was a Mac (one of the originals). All the pretty graphics. This mouse thing. I spent hours just dinking around in MacWrite and MacPaint. It was… mind blowing.
Can you detect a common thread? Apple. It wasn’t that I set out to worship at the altar of Steve & Steve, but it’s just what happened. Of course I didn’t realize the underlying design philosophies, but I did realize that when I would have to use a not-Apple computer, I was frustrated because things didn’t “just work” or they were too geeky. As I got older and came to understand the design philosophies, such as Apple’s ever-evolving notion of Human Interface Guidelines and the depth of work they put into human-computer-interaction, I just found that Apple platforms were better (at least for me). True, nothing is perfect and nothing satisfies everyone. And perhaps it was my graduate-level study into human-computer interaction (HCI), the Masters thesis on “The Mediating Effects of Choice Upon Computer Self-Efficacy” and how Apple’s guidelines are often quoted in HCI work (certainly more so in the early days); but I just found Apple understood and worked better in this regard.
Yes yes, over time they’ve had missteps, but no one can bat 1000. Yes many of Apple’s changes seem wrong at first and people decry their choices, but over time it pans out how well and how right they were. So I’ve just found a preference for Apple.
Plus, I just think it’s prettier. When you have to look at something all day, it’s easier when it’s aesthetically pleasing.