The press on Apple’s Dot Mac service has been mediocre at a best lately, and one doesn’t have to look very far to find commentary berating it for any number of reasons such as the price tag, the lack of features compared to many of the other offerings out there, or just the performance of it in general.
Even the recent improvements to the webmail and address book interface were met with mixed reviews, with the general feeling being that it was about time Apple caught up with the other technology out there.
However, I think that many people are really missing the point of what .Mac is and what it’s intended to be. Each of the .Mac services, taken separately, don’t necessarily have much to recommend them; there are certainly better e-mail services out there, better online storage services, better web hosting services, and so forth. However, few of these “solutions” integrate all of those services together in the way that .Mac does.
(or, “How an iPod Changed My Perspective on Technology”)
A topic I’ve been meaning to espouse on for some time is exactly how I’ve managed to go from being such a die hard geek to being somebody who enjoys using Apple’s technology (not that the two are mutually exclusive).
A close friend of mine has taken great joy in telling people how my views on technology took a dramatic shift shortly after I got an iPod, and of course while that may sound overly simplistic, it’s essentially true.
How much is enough? Or, to put it another way, how much is too much?
As I had discussed in a previous entry (see What the Market Will Bear), I firmly believe that there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to audio equipment, and there are many self-proclaimed audiophiles out there who simply buy expensive equipment just to somehow prove their “audiophileness.”
Well, the same can also be said for digitally encoded music. At what point do bit-rates yield diminishing or even completely insignificant benefits?
The upshot of this is that any business models that rely on selling copies of previously televised TV shows, such as Apple’s sale of Lost and Desperate Housewives, is doomed to failure. Why pay for that content when it can be extracted for free?
This interesting article in The Register makes the point that Apple’s current iTunes-based distribution model is ‘doomed to failure’ as tools now exist to transfer recorded video content to the iPod.
However, this statement misses one very important point: That of the balance between simplicity and cost.
Apple has always been a forerunner of the principle of simplicity in technology. In short, this would seem to mean that they recognize that technology should do what it is designed to do in the most user-friendly and simple way possible, and that it should simplify our lives rather than complicating them with more bells and whistles.
Today’s economy has produced a myriad of wild and wonderful products that enhance our lives and provide more opportunities for leisure, and in some cases are just plain fun.
However, somewhere along the way, we have gone from reasonably priced items that provide actual value for money into the realm of the strange, esoteric, and just plain ridiculous items that are priced up in the stratosphere. In this realm, I cannot possibly see any relationship between the selling price of such items and the actual value that they provide.