It’s not surprising that I’ve fallen so hard for Windows 10. For nearly 30 years, the two computing rivals have picked and pulled features from each other. At this point, both Windows 10 and Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X El Capitan have so many nearly identical functions that at times it can feel like playing “Can You Spot the Difference?”
This makes sense, desktop computing is a mature platform. Mature platforms will have substantially the same features. (The “features” of Toyota, Ford, Honda, and other car brands are substantially the same.1)
In fact, even on my Mac, I spend most my time using Google’s services. In most cases, they’re better, and unlike many of Apple’s, they’re easily accessible on Windows and the Web. Google is proving that you don’t need to own the OS to win.
Ah, well, if your main OS is Google, then yeah… use anything with a browser. And kiss privacy goodbye.
But there will always be things I can’t do with an iPhone and a Windows PC, like pick up an incoming call right on my laptop, or easily iMessage my entire family. The iPhone has become the beating heart of so many of our digital lives, and Apple, in what I call the ecosystem trap, has engineered all its own devices to work better with it.
And herin lies the crux of the matter: For most of us it’s not about the desktop platform’s features anymore, or even the resale value, or customer service from the company… it’s about the entire device ecosystem. iPhone and Apple Watch are always going to be better with Mac, and as of today Apple is the only company making the hardware and software for everything from watches and wireless routers, to computers, tablets, and video-streaming TV boxes. It’s hard to compete with that kind of tight integration, the closest anyone else comes is Google, and many choose that ecosystem. As for me, I prefer Apple’s approach, and I’m not the only one:
Mac sales, represented by the orange line, continue steady growth. via
PC sales continue to see steady decline. via
Luke Wertz makes a good point, saying: “‘The “features” of Toyota, Ford, Honda, and other car brands are substantially the same.’ They’re also strictly regulated.” I think this certainly has much to do with the sameness of vehicles produced from those brands, but I don’t think that accounts for all of it. I think as tools and platforms mature, the various offerings do become more and more similar in their features. A better example, perhaps, is “traditional” watches: Nobody regulates those, but they all do substantially the same thing. A $10 watch isn’t going to tell time worse than a $100,000 one for the vast majority of applications. Yes, desktop platforms are more complicated, but I think we see the same things happening. ↩