iPhone 6 Plus thin and light cases.

I’ve discussed it on Twitter with a few other folks, but I figured for anyone who was even remotely curious who either missed the discussion or didn’t feel like digging through timelines, I’d put together a brief summary of the iPhone 6 Plus cases I’ve tried so far. Perhaps as I keep going, I’ll update this later too. I’m waiting on at least one more case to arrive, so there’ll be that evaluation coming soon.

I’ll discuss them in order of acquisition. My criteria are simple: must feel good in the hand, have a reasonable amount of grip/texture (since I feel the iPhones 6 are surprisingly slippery in their naked state), be priced around or under $30 (I mean, let’s be reasonable, I’m buying multiple cases, I still need to look at myself in the mirror), and not be overly bulky. My goal is something that complements the 6 Plus and adds something without feeling like too much of a compromise, as in my heart of hearts, I’d want to use the device with nothing. And I have: prior to the 6 Plus, my 5 was caseless, and while I’ve dabbled in the past, all my other iPhones have ended up that way as well.

All prices are current as of posting, they may be different by the time you see them.

Spigen Slim Case, $12

I’m not actually sure that’s the name of this case as the makers have spewed keywords throughout the product name on Amazon. Anyway, I ordered this prior to getting the 6 Plus, as Spigen was one of only a handful of makers ready to go. The case is fairly lightweight, has a decent but not amazing grippy matte texture, and doesn’t add much bulk to the device. It doesn’t cover all edges, leaving the top and bottom mostly open, which you might see as a plus. It didn’t bother me, but I’ve discovered I prefer something that keeps the lines of the device consistent as much as possible for aesthetic reasons. Buttons are available through cutouts in the case, but aren’t completely exposed either as with some smaller cases. As such, it’s a little tough to get on and off, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; if you plan on leaving it on, it’s a nice tight fit. It’s on the lower side in terms of price, so if you pick it up and don’t love it, you won’t hate yourself either. Of the cases I currently have, it’s probably my favorite overall.

Apple Silicone Case, $39

Immediately differentiated by its higher price, Apple’s own rubbery case has some advantages. It fits the device perfectly–it’s really quite nice. The texture is great, although it is a total magnet for pocket lint. On the topic of pockets, because of its texture, I never feel like the phone might slide out in some unexpected way. Button actions are very rewarding and feel great, although everything except the ring/silent switch is covered. The single largest downside to the Apple case is that while it feels amazing, it does add the most size to the device. It’s a worthy tradeoff if you like the way it feels, but it’s the largest of the ones I’ve tried. That said, it’s not terribly large, like an Otterbox, so don’t worry too much if you end up going for it. (As an aside, I tried the leather case on other people’s phones, and while it would solve the lint problem, I prefer the grippy feeling of the silicone.) I am noticing however, that as I use the case, it’s starting to weather significantly. There are scuffs and dull/shiny spots now where I guess I’ve applied pressure or wear, and while it doesn’t bother me at all, it’s worth mentioning that it happens fairly quickly.

Incipio Feather, $16

I’ve been a big fan of the Incipio Feather line for a while now. They won’t really protect your phone from much more than scratches, but they are usually extremely thin and light. Not so with the 6 Plus case. For whatever reason, this particular Feather case feels bulkier than any of the others I’ve ever used. It’s most similar to the Spigen case, but slightly thicker plastic (which, if you want a bit more sturdiness, I suppose is a positive) which doesn’t add bulk per se, but adds a bit of weight strangely. The button cutouts are completely accesible, with no small pieces obscuring them, so if that’s something you look for, you’ve got it. I put this case on the phone for about 30 seconds, before putting it right back in the packagaing and going back to the Spigen, which is almost identical in shape, but lighter.

Maxboost Liquid Skin, $9

This one was mentioned to me by fellow thin case obsessive Ian Reed Kesler who has been instrumental in my continued pursuit of case perfection this year. It’s super cheap, and super thin. It’s barely larger than the phone itself. I was actually surprised by its minimal nature. However, it’s a soft case, which means it’s not very tight around the edges. Holding the phone, you won’t really notice it, but when you pull it from your pocket, the lip will move ever so slightly, making you insane every time (not murderous rampage insane, but if you notice it at all, it’s likely to make you nuts). It’s shiny, which I don’t care for, but I imagine with sustained use it’ll dull up, which might be an improvement. But if you haven’t picked up on it, the theme here is thin and cheap. It’s about the price of a sandwich, so if you’re curious, it’s not a big deal. If you’re looking for ‘almost invisible’, this is for you.

Coming Soon(ish): Shumuri Slim Case, $21

I ordered this a few days ago and it ships from Hong Kong. I think it’s going to be a while before I get it, but it looks tremendous.

Potential Contender: Pasonomi Ultra Thin, $8

While grabbing links for this post, I came across this one. It’s in my Amazon cart and looks similar to the Shumuri case, but at a much lower price. It’s not a soft case, but a very thin hard case, so I’m definitely curious.

[Update 11/06/14] I received the Pasonomi case last night from Amazon, and was disappointed to discover that it is literally the exact same case as the Maxboost skin. I thought it was going to be a harder plastic, but it isn’t. Still waiting on the Shumuri (fingers crossed).

[Update 11/16/14] In talking about cases on Twitter, someone mentioned the Caudabe Veil, which I’d heard about earlier in the week. Someone from their support team reached out to me and is supposed to be sending me some samples.

I received my Shumuri case in the mail early last week and it is the thinnest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s basically like rice paper that you wrap around the phone, it’s amazing. Unfortunately, the grip is a little lacking for me, and feels only slightly less slippery than the phone by itself. I think it’s a complete feat of engineering, but I don’t think I’ll use it day-to-day.

I also buckled and picked up the Apple leather case earlier today when I was at the mall. It’s way better than the silicone model. Lighter, thinner, more flexible. Slightly less grip right now, but I imagine as the leather wears, that may change. Everyone told me how great it was, but I was pretty stubbornly insistent that I preferred the silicone one. Guess I should know myself better by now. This is my current case.

[Update 02/02/15] I never actually received the Caudabe case to test out, and I was too lazy to pester someone about it. I picked up the Totallee Scarf, $13 a little while ago, which is very much like the Shumuri case, but a tiny bit more rigid and with a little extra texture. As of right now, this is what’s on my phone. I left the Apple Leather case a few weeks ago to try it out and I’ve been enjoying it.

I’m still searching for the perfect one. As thin as these super thin ones, but with a rubbery grip. I’m beginning to think it’s my unicorn. Everything with a rubbery grip is thicker and heavier, which may simply be the result of the manufacturing. I really would love something with the thinness of the Scarf or the Shumuri, but instead of smooth matte texture, a grip like the Feather or Spigen Slim.

Scorecard

  • Spigen – thin, good texture, best overall so far
  • Apple (silicone) – best hand feel, but adds a little more bulk
  • Apple (leather) – superior to the silicone, lighter, thinner more flexible
  • Incipio – slightly stronger, still thin, too much bulk for its size
  • Maxboost – impossibly thin, but too mushy around the edges
  • Shumuri – so thin you can’t believe it, but not enough grip
  • Pasonomi – sadly, exactly the same as the Maxboost case
  • Caudabe – [awaiting samples]
  • Totallee – super thin, slightly better texture than Shumuri

Of course there are plenty I haven’t tried, but I didn’t claim this was going to be exhaustive. I’d love to hear if there are other notable thin cases you like though. Give a shout on Twitter.

Notes on the iPhone 6 Plus.

It’s been a little over a week since I got my 6 Plus. Having used it extensively and even traveled with it this weekend (I’ll miss you, Çingleton), I think my feelings on it have coalesced enough to put them together. A few people had mentioned being curious to hear my feedback on the device, so here are some brief notes, by no means a full review. For that, check out this exhaustive post by Rene Ritchie.

It’s big.
Yes, it really is. Oddly large at first, but you become accustomed to the size quickly. I have what I would consider small hands for a guy, and although it’s definitely not a one-handed device, I feel pretty comfortable with daily use by now. And it happened faster than I would have anticipated.

It’s slippery.
That powdered metal finish is gorgeous, but man, I feel like I’m holding a bar of wet soap sometimes. I started with this case and while I did like its ultra low profile, I moved to the Apple Silicone Case in black. I prefer the soft grip it provides, and although it’s a little bulkier, it really does feel great in your hand. I have traditionally preferred my phones caseless for many years, but given the size of the 6 Plus, adding a little more bulk doesn’t seem to be bothering me too much.

That screen.
Maybe I’m getting old, maybe I don’t care anymore, maybe it’s all in your head: you can’t (realistically, in everyday use) find fault with this screen. Crunch the numbers, worry about the math all you want, read every article on downsampled pixels, it just doesn’t matter. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

It’s sort of an iPad, but it sort of isn’t.
I don’t use my iPad Air all that much these days, and most of what I use it for (books, video, games) can be done really nicely on the 6 Plus. That said, every time I pull the Air out from the small wooden rack I keep next to our couch, it reminds me just how nice it really is to have that bright, wide display. I plan to use the 6 Plus for most of those everyday tasks, but there’s still a nice slot for the Air as well. iPad mini? Its days may be numbered, but that’s up to how you use it.

I’m really enjoying the 6 Plus. I think it’s a really cool new device that builds on the notion of an iPhone without fully encroaching on iPad territory. I’m looking forward to seeing how developers use the extra space it affords and I hope to see more interesting software take advantage of its unique form factor.

10:33 pm: Oh! I almost forgot! The battery is otherworldly. I mean, seriously, like alien-technology long. Maybe the best feature.

Doing it right.

The technologies introduced at this year’s WWDC have gotten the development community extremely excited about the potential to extend iOS in previously unavailable ways. To me, one of the most interesting parts of these new advancements is the creation of a Touch ID API for developers. In its current implementation, Touch ID is somewhat limited and many users report inconsistency issues with the technology. But if the accuracy improves (likely after a year of further development, and reports from iOS 8 beta users are anecdotally positive) and developers capitalize on the ability to easily validate user identity, a lot of new uses come to mind. One of the most interesting and potentially useful so far has been the 1Password extension created by AgileBits, which allows 3rd-party app developers to build support in their apps for the 1Password app to fill login fields and access other secure data using a fingerprint.

There’s another interesting part of the expansion of Touch ID, though. If Apple continues to add it to new devices–which it almost certainly will as the increased sapphire glass production necessary to support the hardware gets up to speed–then the company finds itself in a unique position as the prevalence of users with Apple IDs tied to credit cards grows. Mobile “wallets” have been slow to gain acceptance in the mainstream for a variety of reasons (primarily limited mobile hardware support and expensive POS hardware required on the part of the retailers). Apple is known for making big moves and strategic partnerships with a lot of cachet that it can laud at its press events and keynotes. A few of those key partnerships could easily drive awareness of mobile payments for retail purchases firmly into the mind of the mainstream user, instead of languishing on the bleeding edge. Many retailers already have some kind of iPhone/mobile integration in place, but the last mile–the actual payment–is still primarily a manual affair. Programs exist for users to pre-load loyalty cards in advance (e.g. Starbucks) but the trick is going to be transforming this process from one requiring proactive steps to one that is reactive at the moment of purchase, while appearing seamless to the typical user, who will tolerate far less than tech fans when it comes to exploring these kinds of things.

The iPhone was the breakthrough device to sell the notion and utility of the smartphone to the general public. It’s the most popular type of camera on Flickr and presumably among many segments of the population. Apple commands interest in the public consciousness in a way that few other companies can. It’s traditionally had a focus on platform security with iOS, which it leverages as a selling point against other mobile platforms, most notably Android, and it continues to trumpet privacy and security in consumer-focused materials and media. While that’s a great story in and of itself for many of us, the seed of something larger gets planted: Apple is secure, iOS is secure, my iPhone is safe, hence I am safe. When security ceases to be something people need to think about and is easy, obvious, and ubiquitous, resistance to new ways of doing things will evaporate. While there are all kinds of phones with some level of this functionality right now, the iPhone is probably the only single consumer hardware device positioned to do this effectively any time soon.

The notion of the Apple ID as a payment mechanism for non-iTunes content is an idea that’s been tossed around for a while. None of this is news to anyone. Whenever Apple finally decides to announce that you can use your Apple ID for more than just iTunes purchases by simply accessing Touch ID when you’re in your favorite retail stores, tons of people will claim to have been predicting it for years. Widespread acceptance won’t be far behind. Critics will bemoan the fact that other phones and platforms did it first, but as with Apple’s previous innovations, the key to success wasn’t being first, it was doing it right. It’s the combination of cultural penetration and acceptance along with a longtime and public focus on security at a critical time in society that ensures that people won’t dismiss it as a gimmick. The utility will become infectious as people see their friends using the technology, and Touch ID will probably become as ubiquitous as the camera in your phone is now.

I think your thumb is about to become your favorite finger.

Back in black.

When I bought my iPhone 5 on launch day, I opted for the slate/black model. I used it for a few months until I got a white iPad mini. At that point, I began obsessing over having a white iPhone, which I had never owned. The QA department needed a 5 for testing, so I threw my black one in the pool and got myself a white 5. I was so over black. Ugh.

I adored it. Together with the mini, they were the perfect couple. I named it Storm Shadow (the mini was, of course, Storm Shadow XL). We began a meaningful relationship, the three of us.

Then the iPhone 5s shipped, with its slightly modified grey back plating. And I looked askance. I also didn’t upgrade, so I wasn’t even considering either one really. But a few people at work got them, and I took a look. Still felt weird to me. I was in White Phone Land.

Naturally, I began obsessing over this as severely, because evidently my life, though full of adult responsibility and legitimate stress, had a few cognitive gaps in it that I was able to fill with this inane thought exercise. Not really wanting to spend the money on a 5s to test my theory that I truly loved black, I decided to pull my old phone out of QA and put the white one in. Restored from iCloud and I was up in less than an hour.

I now believe that despite iOS 7’s lighter tones, the black devices (phones specifically) are truly superior in their hardware aesthetics. On the iPhone, the screen disappears entirely from most angles, leaving you with a formidable black monolith, which when lit looks very close to Ed Dillinger’s desk in the original Tron. Naturally, coming to this realization this week made me positively giddy, and I hereby renounce all allegiance to my former white phone, which for all I care can be devoured by wolves.

The iPad mini still looks better in white, though. Feel free to good-naturedly argue about this and all previous claims with me on the internet.

Oh – and the black phone’s name? Snake Eyes, of course.

Glassboard and getting back on our feet.

When Hurricane Sandy hit us, our office, like most in our area, was completely shut down. We had no power, and our entire staff was scattered. We had about thirty people with varying levels of cell service, power, and internet connectivity. We needed a way to get everyone in one place quickly and easily, and that was becoming an increasingly tall order. That’s when I remembered the excellent Glassboard by Sepia Labs.

Glassboard is a private social network for groups. You create a board, invite your participants, and everyone can post and read into that board. You can add photos, reply with comments to posts, and receive push notifications when others update the board. The thing that really worked for us was that the service is available as an iPhone app, an Android app and a web app (still in beta, perfectly functional). This meant that across all our staff, everyone would be able to use it in some capacity – those who had cell service but no home connectivity could use the apps, and those with home connectivity and no cell service could use a browser.

In a matter of a few hours, we had status updates on everyone (all safe, thankfully) and were talking about a contingency plan for the office and our client obligations. Glassboard allowed us to communicate effectively and quickly across a variety of platforms, and took the guesswork and aggravation out of organizing a group of our size. It’s a great tool with some talented people behind it, and I look forward to seeing its continued development.

It’s free with optional pro account upgrades, and you should check it out. Our Iterate interview with Brent Simmons of Sepia Labs (and many other great things) will be up soon.

Putting on my big boy pants.

I started using OmniFocus about a week ago. I’d avoided it for a while because it seemed way too complicated for me, but I decided recently that while I’m able to manage my tasks and to-do items, I need to step up my game and start becoming serious about the loose ends. The goal was to finally push all the disparate buckets of capture into one meaningful place, and to more accurately gauge how well I’m doing in terms of completion. I’d just been making lists, and lists don’t exactly provide the context or the motivation I was looking for with this process.

From my cursory understanding of it, I’d always thought that the GTD mentality was overkill for what I needed. When I waited tables in college, I would remember detailed orders, from multiple people, easily. People would try to mess with me and quiz me, but as I rattled them back their orders, they quickly acquiesced. So keeping stuff in my mind has not really been a problem for me. But when I actually started to throw things into the OmniFocus inbox with the purpose of methodically clearing my head, I noticed a weird kind of comfort that came from not having to remember all those things. Some people feel overwhelmed by this process, the remembering, I never really did – but not doing it feels so much better, I wish I’d tried this earlier.

It’s taking a little while to fully embrace the entire philosophy, because I’m still finding a way to apply it to my workflows, but it’s interesting to be sure. I definitely see value in it, although I don’t know that I’d ever become a GTD zealot the way some people end up. It’s fairly complex and a lot of people don’t need this level of complexity. However, there is a certain freedom in being more serious about the lists I was previously making and applying a new level of rigor to them. I feel like I’m putting a little more pressure on myself to actually complete things by being more realistic about what I can accomplish and when I can do it. It’ll be an ongoing experiment, but I’m feeling pretty good about it.

I love finding better ways to do things. Wanna talk about it?

The tyranny of two screens.

I have this habit that I’ve developed. On both of my iOS screens (iPhone and iPad) I try, whenever possible, to have all the same apps and icons in the same places. The reason I do this is because in thinking about it, I like the idea that no matter where I am, and on either device, I always have a quick mental map of where apps are located and the stuff I want is always where I expect it to be. It’s sort of interesting to go between the devices quickly and it certainly seems to work pretty well when I’m using my devices in tandem.

However, the truth is that I don’t really use the devices the same way. I have certain apps on my home screen on the phone that make no sense on the iPad. Like Messages, for instance. Used constantly on the phone, almost never on the iPad. Because the whole ‘get your messages wherever you are’ thing only works if everyone sends messages to your email address. And uses iOS. And not everyone does, and the years-long habit of using phone numbers to message people is not going away, no matter how much Apple wills it.

So I find myself using my iPhone intensely for a few days, then reaching for my iPad after a period of not using it, to find everything needs to be rearranged. And because I have mental problems, I often feel the need to do this before I do anything else because I’ve been looking at things the other (new) way so much on the phone that it doesn’t feel right the way it is now on the iPad.

I start to wonder about just setting up apps completely differently on both devices, as I did when I first got the iPad, the way most people probably do. Is it more valuable to have the perceived speed gain from mirroring the app layout in both places, or should my specific use for each device dictate how apps are arranged? Does anyone else ever think about this or should I just start looking for a decent therapist now instead of waiting?

Maybe I’ll just move them around.

Adding “value”.

Instacast released its 2.0 update yesterday to some Twitter fanfare. As a regular user of the app, I updated immediately. Now, to be clear, I don’t love Instacast. In fact, I have lots of personal issues with it. But as a regular listener of podcasts, it sucked the least of all the apps I’ve tried, and I’ve tried many. I wish so much that Apple would add even the most basic subscription support for podcasts to iOS within the native music app, but they haven’t, and it doesn’t look like they will any time soon.

What I found after updating was an interface that remained just as abstruse as the initial one, with the “added value” of reduced functionality. Most notably, the default behavior for podcasts downloaded within the app was altered. The original behavior of the app was that when podcasts were downloaded, they would stack up in a list, from oldest at the top to newest at the bottom. Now that order is reversed, to list the newest at the top. Which fundamentally changes the only way I listen to shows.

For a $1.99 in-app purchase, it appears that I could add functionality that would allow me to edit this playlist, and (I assume) change the order to something more palatable. I’m assuming this because I’m not going to make that purchase. And believe me, it’s not because I’m cheap. I buy tons of apps. I buy apps I don’t even plan on really using if I want to support the developer, because I believe in doing things like that. I won’t be adding that in-app purchase for two reasons:

1) because I don’t like paying again for what I was getting as a previous paying customer

and more importantly

2) because I have a hard time supporting something I don’t even really enjoy.

Instacast was originally a purchased app, not a free one. I understand completely if the developer of a free app wants to monetize through in-app purchase, but having paid for the app initially, and not expecting anything more than the basic continued functionality I was experiencing, to be forced to use the app differently is annoying, but then being told that I can use it the way I was using it if I pony up a few more bucks is really annoying. I’m not talking about adding new abilities or allowing some additional features. I’m talking about simply making it work the way it was previously working, one day earlier.

Furthermore, as I said, I don’t really love this app. And I know I might be in the minority, but I paid for and used the iPad app too, and I don’t like it either. Both UIs are needlessly complex, and expose inconsistencies throughout. The iPad app is almost unusable in my opinion because between the arcane controls and the spotty iCloud integration, I can never tell what’s actually happening within the app, and as such, I just stopped using it. I know a lot of people who wrote great things about it when it launched, and it was pretty as all get-out, but I’d be curious to know how many people are still actually listening to podcasts on their iPad at this point with it.

Listen, despite how this all came off and how my cranky tweets read, I don’t hate this app, nor do I hate the developers, their families or their pets. I just really believe very strongly that if you’re going to refine a UI, then really refine it. Don’t add things that seem like new controls yet obfuscate purpose. Don’t take gestures that were slightly difficult to discover but very useful and replace them with even more confusing options. If you have an overcomplicated hierarchy, make it simpler. And for the love of all things holy, don’t up-end the way people (especially previous paying customers) use the app and then tell them they can buy “great new features” in order to restore the basic way they’d been using the app to begin with.

I’m fully aware that these choices were most likely not arbitrary, and actually based on feedback. They represent a conscious choice on the part of the designers and developers to respond to feedback and provide what they feel is an improvement to the existing model. Choices are hard. I get it. The craziest part of all of this? Instacast is still, after all of this, significantly cleaner and easier to use than almost every single other podcast app in the App Store. Don’t even get me started on the other app everyone endlessly recommends to me (because I have it, surprise, and I have even fewer things I can point to as good).

Bottom line: creating in-app purchase options is a tricky choice, and I give a lot of credit to devs who pull it off successfully. But this kind of purchase isn’t adding value. The only thing it’s adding is frustration.

Update on Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This post was picked up at iMore and there’s some discussion over there about it. I was challenged as to the harshness of the post, and I defended my reasoning behind writing it if you’re curious about my motivations. (Hint: it wasn’t because I wanted to conduct a witch-hunt today.)

Update on Thursday, June 21, 2012

Since it was brought to my attention earlier today, it is worth noting (and I should have posted it as soon as the change took place) that Vemedio has since reinstated the features that were pulled from Instacast and placed behind the in-app purchase. They listened to their user base, respected the feedback, and in turn, I respect that decision. It was a tough call, and I disagreed with it initially, but I certainly harbor no ill will, despite how cranky I was the first time around.

Locked in.

One of my favorite things about the changes to OS X and iOS is the interoperability between the platforms. This will only be increased as OS X moves to Mountain Lion, with tighter links between the devices joined with iCloud as it becomes more robust. On top of this, the iTunes App Store is an unbeatable location for software downloads, and barring jailbreak, your one-stop shop for your iOS devices.

The strongest guiding factor in how I chose a mobile platform in the past (dating way back to the early-mid-2000s) was the availability of software for my device. I began on Windows Mobile, because at the time, they seemed more exciting than their Palm counterparts. WM had a ton of software, but installing it wasn’t elegant or particularly easy. The devices were middling at best, and required some serious hacking to even be usable. After that, I moved quickly through BlackBerries in a six-month tryst. I didn’t purchase the original iPhone because the idea of not being able to install apps was just unacceptable to me. But when the App Store launched, it made something I’d been doing laboriously for years exquisitely easy. I landed on the iPhone 3G shortly after it launched, and never looked back.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve looked back lots of times. With Android, with webOS, with Windows Phone. I continue to look back whenever something catches my attention. That’s how I am. Something’s different now, though, and I’ve only recently been able to identify what that is. The idea of a platform lock in based on software purchases is not a new one; it’s happened on desktops for years. If you put a good deal of money into a platform, it’s hard to pull away from it when something new comes along. Psychologically, you attempt to add value to the decision based on the money you’ve already spent that is irretrievable. We know this as the sunk-cost effect.

However, I’ve discovered something far more compelling than a financial imperative to stay with a particular phone/platform. It’s something that isn’t as easily quantifiable, and can’t be assessed in a rational way as easily because there is an innate emotional component that ties directly to how I feel in the course of a given day. At its simplest, it’s my time, but that time is based and built upon complex workflows that I’ve refined over the course of years. Years spent on one platform (iOS) and strengthened by the addition of fantastic products and services that enable me to work more efficiently from wherever I am. I take great pleasure in discovering new apps that allow me to do things more smoothly or that add value to an activity in which I’m already engaged. That pleasure (and time-saving) translates directly to my dopamine receptors in some nerdy way, because I enjoy this stuff in a way that most people don’t, and can’t even understand. It’s a pure love of great software, but compounded with the benefits of enhancing (at least that’s what I tell myself) my daily life.

Sure, there are some apps that appear on many platforms. I live in Dropbox, and I can get it almost everywhere. There are plain text editors for every phone, I’m sure. I can scan documents with my phone and sync them as PDFs with a lot of different apps. But this isn’t always the case, and sometimes even though an app may appear on other platforms, it’s not as useful because to the developers it may be an afterthought since iOS is the main platform for which they build. More importantly though is not that I can get apps everywhere, but that I find myself unwilling to trade off to inferior versions of these apps or add steps to the processes that I can perform more easily on iOS. When I find a really great way to do something, I want to stick with it. I don’t want to spend time figuring out a new way to do something that probably isn’t as good as the way I’ve been doing it. And those words “spend” and “time” are more salient to me than any amount of money I can spend on software. I can always make more money; I’ll never get back my time – or at the very least, the perception of time.

The problem I’m facing as a lifelong lover of technology is that my excitement for new devices is still there, but slightly diminished because immediately after I feel the thrill of seeing something cool, there’s a part of me, however deep in my subconscious that surfaces a thought: “this is great, but it’s not going to fit”. It sounds dumb. Why can’t I just enjoy things? What’s my problem? As our devices become more interconnected, I dont see as much value in having any that aren’t. And as more manufacturers chase the idea that people are going to own all of their individual devices (as I do with Apple gear), it’s getting harder and harder to get the most out of things when they exist outside of your workflows.

I used to switch phones with what could only be described as alarming frequency. The only constants were that I’d enter my IMAP settings, add a few phone numbers, and that was mostly it. No platform interconnection, no syncing over the air, no compelling apps I simply couldn’t live without. Because they just didn’t exist. In the years since I’ve adopted iOS, I’ve created stores of application data, some of which I rely on heavily both personally and for business, and some of these can only be used within iOS and in some cases with a Mac. It’s not enough for me to try other platforms – I really can’t leave until I see a path on which to travel. For now, I’m locked in. Quite frankly, it’s a good problem to have.