Once the company established its footing in the industry and had gained full control over its ecosystem, it opened up the doors to third parties, but only a little. In came the App Store, the black iPhone gained a white companion, and the sandboxing model was extended to OS X--all in an attempt to create an overarching "walled garden" in which users and developers are tenants and Apple is the benevolent landlord that makes sure we're not too rowdy for our own good.
And this brings us to today--or, more appropriately, to tomorrow. "Stickers" paints the picture of a company that wants its customers to create a deep personal connection with the devices they use. In other words, these are no longer Apple's phones, tablets, and Macs--they're ours.
In the past couple of months, I've heard both users--who, to be fair, haven't quite had a chance to fully explore their possibilities--and members of the tech press--who, really, should know better--refer to iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite as nothing more than incremental improvements over their predecessors. They are not.
Their skin may look similar, although perhaps a little flatter and a little blurrier; but technologies like Extensions and Handoff will allow us to customize our user experience in ways that were hitherto unthinkable--all, of course, under the careful stewardship of Apple, which is still the ultimate arbiter of what gets sold through the App Store.
One could make the point that Apple's paternalistic vision of the future is a little blind to reality: Stickers are going to be applied to MacBooks whether the company wants it or not, and jailbreaking has long allowed people to customize their iPhones and iPads to their heart's content--albeit at the risk of compromising their security.
But I think that this is good news. Apple has, so far, been exceptionally good at aligning its own business interests with the needs of its customers, and continuing to feed this vision will only bring us better hardware and software in the future.
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