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Why iOS is the future of Apple (and how we got here)

Michael deAgonia | June 10, 2013
As the world shifts to mobile devices, Apple puts its development resources where they matter

We're really only at the beginning of how mobile connectedness is going to change how we live, work and relax. Just as the Mac was positioned as the Digital Hub for other electronics, iOS allows our iPhones and iPads and iPods to interact with other devices that wouldn't be feasible with traditional desktops or laptops. In all my years of using Apple computers, I've never seen anything like the explosion of accessories, hardware, and software that's been seen in the last six years.

But, then again, the Mac never had 500 million unique users.

OS X still matters
So, it makes sense for Apple's leadership to shift resources - developers and money — away from desktops and laptops and the operating system they use. That, of course, doesn't mean that the Mac will be left behind. The Apple ecosystem relies heavily on the integration of Apple hardware, software and services, so it behooves Apple to keep pushing its mobile and traditional platforms. That's why rumors are spreading that updated MacBook Air laptops sporting Intel's new Haswell chips may arrive next week, along with preview versions of OS X 10.9 and iOS 7.

Basically, the success of iOS feeds back to OS X - which, of course, took on some of the mobile operating system's features two years ago - and will ultimately boost Apple's hardware line-up. It's a familiar phenomenon that even has a name: the Halo Effect. In essence, each Apple device serves to entice users to try out other Apple products.

What's interesting is the expanding ecosystem of hardware, apps and services that iOS will enable in the future. If my experience with health devices and apps is an indicator, the possibilities are almost endless: with computers in our pockets, on our clothes, on our wrists, and built into eyewear, it's now possible to imagine connections and integrations that go far beyond a notebook or desktop. (I'm now convinced that Apple is working on a sensor-laden wrist accessory and the software to support it, despite my initial skepticism. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at that prospect just last week.)

Even though we no longer live in a world of standalone devices, there are few companies selling device interaction the way Apple is now doing. You can see the plan unfold: The iPhone and iPad lead the way through a field of ever-converging devices and data, using iCloud services to keep you and your hardware and your information ever connected. All of it. Anytime. Anywhere. Whether it's an X-ray for your doctor, a movie you want to finish watching. A document that you need to send by email. Or your latest workout.


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