Why iOS is Compelling

Early last week, Ben Brooks published a great piece explaining why so many members of the Mac community have found iOS compelling recently. I found this bit, about the feeling of switching to the Mac in the early to mid-2000s, to particularly resonate with me:

It’s that same allure many of us are feeling with iOS now — the idea that while the Mac is still pretty simple and mostly just works — iOS is even more simple. Like Macs in 2004, iOS either just works, or it flat out won’t work for that task. Either you can do it pretty easily, or not at all.

Although I didn’t make the switch to OS X until a couple of years after Ben, I did so for a lot of the same reasons. Everything was easier on the Mac and, as a result, there was a noticeable increase in my productivity.

I was just a college kid that wanted to spend as little time as possible doing school work, so that I could waste time doing anything else. Back then Quicksilver, Exposé, and Dashboard were my secret weapons that helped minimize many of the tedious aspects of using a computer. I no longer needed to navigate the start menu to launch applications; aimlessly alt-tab to find a specific app window; or clutter the taskbar with calculator, weather, or other utility apps. OS X was compelling because of how much more simple it felt when compared to Windows.

Now I’m finding myself attracted to iOS because of its even more simplistic nature. Split-screen multitasking, share sheet extensions, and multi-touch gestures are my tools of choice this time around. I dont need to spend a ton of time managing windows, interacting with the file system, or remembering a bunch of keyboard shortcuts for navigating and interacting with applications. All that cruft is gone.

iOS’ entire interface paradigm is designed around the idea of removing unnecessary things from the operating system so that the task at hand can be performed with as little resistance as possible. You might not feel as comfortable on iOS as you do on OS X because of years-worth of habit building, but I believe iOS is an objectively better OS with the only limitations existing because developers haven’t yet built applications to tackle every possible need.

Yes, there are still a few tasks that I can only do on the Mac. But the list is steadily shrinking as third-party developers innovative and Apple continues to improve the environment. The real proof is that I find myself using my MacBook less and less as I find new ways to implement previously Mac-centric tasks. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel at this point — it won’t be long until every single task is possible on iOS. And I couldn’t be happier about it.