It is fitting that when naming macOS releases like the new one, Apple keeps turning to the state of California for inspiration macOS Monterey. With all of the cross-device features unveiled during Apple’s global developer conference earlier this week, the company has cemented its place as the Hotel California of tech companies – you can check out anytime from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, but you can never leave.
Making sure the devices play well with each other is nothing out of the ordinary for Apple. By building both the software and hardware, you can, for example, make sure that your phones, tablets, computers, and smartwatches work together.
It’s an effective incentive to get both legs into the Apple ecosystem. I never thought about owning an Apple Watch until I saw my wife use hers Unlock your iPhone while your face mask is still on. Now I wonder if it is time for me to reconsider my anti-wristwatch stance.
But at WWDC 2021 last week, Apple really brought home the point that once you own one of their products, you really should give in and buy all of their products. It is no coincidence that many of the coolest features included in Apple’s upcoming software updates work across platforms, given that Apple is enhancing the interoperability of macOS Monterey, iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 the agenda.
Apple strengthens the connections between Macs, iPhones and iPads,
Take the SharePlay feature comes to FaceTimethat you and the people you video messaging with can share movies, TV shows, songs, and even screens with. This new feature may have been touted as part of the iOS 15 update, but the fact that you can use SharePlay with people using FaceTime on the upcoming versions of macOS and iPadOS certainly didn’t go unmentioned.
The Safari web browser has also been revised under macOS Monterey, highlighted by an optimized tab bar that takes up less space. The same philosophy also guides the new look and feel of Safari in iOS 15: the tab bar is much smaller and has been moved to the bottom of the page to be more inconspicuous and also to make it easier to navigate with one hand. Tab groups – a new way of organizing similar tabs – is supported by Safari on multiple devices. Your group tabs on one platform follow you to another.
This theme continues in a number of different features that Apple is planning for fall. You can find Focus Mode on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and the notification settings you enable on one device will be monitored by the other too.
The Universal Control feature of macOS requires an iPad because the new feature lets you use the same mouse and keyboard seamlessly on both a Mac and an Apple tablet. The upcoming virtual key functions that Apple is adding to your wallet app work just as easily with your Apple Watch as they do with your iPhone.
The message from Apple here is clear: Sure, you could try someone else’s hardware. But why do that when all of these functions work so well with our other products?
Apple bets you stay around
Not that there’s anything scary about that. I to like when my Apple devices work together. Having Safari tabs open on my Mac that are available on my iPhone, giving directions from laptop to phone, and making sure things stay synced with iCloud – all of these are conveniences that enhance my experience on all of my devices.
The problem is that when some part of the Apple Cinematic Universe isn’t up to the sniff, it’s a lot harder to consider alternatives. I’m writing this article on a 2018 MacBook Air, and frankly, if this was the first Apple laptop I ever bought, it would certainly be the last.
But pick up a comparable Windows laptop – a Microsoft Surface Laptop 4, shall we say, or one of those 5G laptops that are coming out – means I have to forego the convenience of a synced laptop-phone experience. Some of the most compelling features Apple unveiled this week, like Focus Mode that follows me from device to device, wouldn’t be of any use to me in the future. (can I use SharePlay functions on an Android or Windows device, but only via a web interface. I mean what am I, a farmer?)
Apple might as well say “beautiful walled garden”. “It’s a shame if someone wants to leave it.”
Aside from being convenient for people like you and me, Apple has perfectly solid business reasons to strengthen the connection between iPhones, Macs, Apple Watches, and iPads, and not just because it’s a fun bullet point about the company’s active installed base throughout the year Quarterly results delivers phone calls to Wall Street.
Apple’s walled garden is getting stronger
The more connections there are between Apple’s various products, the more people are likely to use Apple’s subscription services for additional integration. And that makes people more likely to stick with Apple when it comes time to update one of their devices. It leads to a lot of income, recurring and others.
In the meantime, there are arguably worse things than being “stuck” in an ecosystem that is constantly adding features that work on all of my devices. It might be difficult to leave Apple’s bright, shiny world, but it seems the company wants to make sure none of us even think about checking out.