Different Lenses

  • June 20, 2014
  • Scott

Ben Evans’ take on WWDC (Apple’s World-Wide Developer Conference) is worth reading for Apple watchers or people who appreciate design-thinking.  His point about how Apple approaches cloud is pretty insightful:

But none of this says ‘CLOUD™’ and none of it is done in a web browser. Web browsers are for web pages, not for apps. Hence one could suggest that Apple loves the cloud, just not the web (or, not URLs).

The point being, Apple is all about seamless integration with the cloud as an invisible background element, rather than being intimately aware of it.  This sets up an interesting contrast with Google:

For Google, devices are dumb glass and the intelligence is in the cloud, but for Apple the cloud is just dumb storage and the device is the place for intelligence.

And this is reflected in the investments… Google investing in machine learning and new sources of data… Apple investing in chip design and manufacturing techniques, and the software infrastructure of iOS.  They see things through different lenses.

Another interesting observation he makes is that this divergent view point might actually make it harder to build cross-platform applications… we’re not there yet but that day is coming.





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  • Flournoy Henry

    This notion of a “smart cloud” vs “smart device” is not dissimilar to the transition we experienced decades ago with dumb terminals backed by a mainframe, to distributed powerful computing machines. The pendulum swings from one extreme to another and always lands somewhere in the middle.

    What spurred the rise of distributed pc’s (in business at least)? Perhaps it can be said that the user experience drove the need. Empower the client! Of course the centralized storage and computing power of the mainframe did not dissipate; but it was no longer the prevalent face to the user.

    The same can be said for the “Cloud” now. Will it contain the user experience as well as data with dumb browsers as the client lens; or will it support empowered client devices providing infinite storage and computing power when applicable? …. some where in the middle I suppose.

    • everything old is new again 🙂 but it is still really interesting to see how the next cycle plays out and what the implications are.