The other day, when news was breaking about the iPhone coming to the UAE, Twitter was of course all abuzz with the subject. As the bits of information available were being furiously tweeted and re-tweeted, there were some who were tiring of the onslaught. One of my weary Twitter friends responded, “My Blackberry is not afraid of your toys.”
Toys? How dare he?! Well, actually he is, by far, not the first to be so daring. Similar statements have long been made about Macintosh computers. The assertion has seemed to be that because a computer or device is easy or even fun to use, it’s not a serious tool for getting real work done. After all, real work is hard, right?
Of course my Macs have always helped me very well to get real work done, and improved my productivity on the job. It’s amazing how much more time you have to do important things when you don’t have to fight with your computer to get simple tasks done; and when it is adept at helping with the complex tasks as well.
(On the other hand the most common tasks I have seen being handled on Windows machines in offices is the playing of Freecell and Minesweeper. But then, Windows is touted as a gaming platform!)
My Macs have been useful no matter what sort of tasks I have had before me: writing, programming, photo handling, crunching numbers. And although today’s Fusion and Parallels environments are big improvements, even before they existed there have been ways available to run Windows programs on your Mac, if you absolutely had to such a thing. I’ve often said in the past, “I can do anything! I have a Mac!”
And yet, for the uninitiated, it still seems impossible to believe that you can be productive and enjoy your computer.
So, it’s not a new phenomenon to hear the iPhone being called a toy. And to be certain, there are a lot of games available for the iphone and iPod touch. In fact the iPod touch has been advertised as a great portable gaming device by Apple.
But that fun touch screen interface also makes it possible to get many important tasks done more easily, and there are huge number of productivity apps available to help. Email, messaging, calendar and phone functions can be enhance with tools for accessing important services and webs sites that keep a modern business person productive, even while on-the-go.
Since I got my iPod touch I’ve enjoyed the ability to get my email and communicate with the office from almost anywhere, as well as being able to work on projects using it, without the need to always carry my MacBook Pro with me. I’ve even been able to proofread articles for Shufflegazine with it. Writing articles on it is not really optimal, but I am still surprised at how much I am able to get done just with the touch. In fact I tend to think of it more as a work device; sometimes I suddenly remember, “Hey, I can listen to music and watch videos with this too!”
On the other hand my Twitter friend is justified in not feeling threatened by the arrival of the iPhone. Even though the iPhone has overtaken the Blackberry in market share, Blackberry usage continues to grow at a comparable pace. (It’s Nokia that has been losing market share to both.) The Blackberry’s maker, Research In Motion, has earned its place in the market with devices that are tremendously useful for getting business done and are likely to keep doing so. (We’ll disregard their stumble with the Blackberry Storm.) On top of that, Blackberry devices have many Big Brother type “security” features that IT managers of big corporations just love. The iPhone mostly lacks these features, thus far, so Blackberry handsets will probably continue to dominate in that area.
So while my Apple devices are fun to play with, they continue to be great boon when it comes to getting serious work done. And enduring the jabs of naysayers is no big deal. I’m too happy at work and at play to let them rain on my parade!