Krugman gets much of everything right about the economy, but he’s not correct about Apple. In his On The Symmetry Between Microsoft And Apple post he gets plenty wrong. John Gruber touches upon a few clear points. Furthering Gruber’s point, Krugman has a belief that because his old school way of doing things doesn’t work with Apple, it’s a closed off ecosystem.
In general, the thing about Apple is that it reflects the spirit of Steve Jobs, who knew what was good for you — and left you no way to do things differently. And if you are an atypical user, you end up putting a lot of effort into fighting iOS in order to do simple things.
The assumption that most users fight with iOS is clearly incorrect. There are two types of users – those that used smartphones before the iPhone, and those that used the iPhone as their first smartphone. Back in the day when I used Palm OS, there were a lot of root-level things I could do with it. I don’t miss having to work at my portable device one bit, but clearly Krugman does. His example:
Case in point: as regular readers know, I really like watching live performances on YouTube; and I want the best of them available even when I don’t have access to broadband. So I download them onto my PC as MP4s — there are many add-ons that will do this.
But I actually want them on a tablet. To do this in iOS, you first have to import them into iTunes, then synch; not too big a pain, but still a couple of annoying extra steps. The big problem, however, comes when you want to organize your videos: how do I tell iTunes that, say, my 10 favorite Arcade Fire performances are a related set?
First of all, there are apps that do this for you (such as iFlicks). Secondly, how many people record YouTube performances? Not me.
Krugman has old habits of the way he used to do things, and he’s applying them to Apple’s ecosystem. iOS can be considered limiting for high-tech users that have unique experiences, but generally speaking, for most people and most functions Apple’s implementations are fantastic. The limitation of iOS isn’t that it is closed off to the end-user; this works well for the key demographic. Most people can’t manage their own PCs, and removing user-error is a key part to what makes iOS work
You either appreciate this, or you don’t, but Krugman makes the mistake of taking an edge-case scenario and applying it to all of Apple’s customer base. Sorry, that’s just not realistic.
ps Kudos for Krugman for being a techie edge-case!