What’s Your Status? “Rainbow Watching”

A rainbow in Reisterstown, MD in September 2012

Here’s a picture I took of a rainbow I saw as I came home from a friend’s surprise birthday party in September (just got it off my phone) Very pretty in ways that phone cameras couldn’t capture. Nonetheless, there I was along with about four other cars pulled over on the side of the road, snapping away. It’s so symbolic of our culture to see all of us updating our Facebook status and what not.

iThoughts 2.0

Well, since we all like versions on computer software, I thought I’d revisit some of the piling on the iPhone 5, which, as it turns out, is not so much heaping on the iPhone 5, but in some ways an indictment on technology, in general, as opposed to just Apple’s technology.

I visited family this weekend and my sister-in-law, who is a doctor, explained to me that she can’t stand the iPad. Her job gave her one to use and she “hates” it. Here’s the thing: she really has no clue how to use it. She complained about a number of things, among them, the screen orientation feature which — when I sat with her — I showed could be easily turned off. She continued. Additionally, she cried “where’s the keyboard?” which I showed her pops up when you need it — at least, in theory. She peppered me with seemingly silly questions like: “How do you have a Kindle App on an iPad?”. As it turns out, she needed a much longer tutorial than I could give her.

In the end, it had me confirming at least some of the theory that, as a society, many need to work on the rudiments of absorbing technology, before many of those actually covet, and use, the same. My point was just furthered when I realized just how little of the iPad’s true utility she was aware of despite her long-time ownership of an iPhone. 3, 4, or 4S, The version doesn’t necessarily matter, she just had little sense of the value proposition of the iOS. I mean, if the iPad seems that foreign, it’s difficult to see how useful an iPhone would be outside of making phone calls. While the tech experts know for sure, the iPhone’s functionality is nearly if not equally, as powerful as an iPad for most applications for all intensive purposes with exception to the setting: we don’t sit down the same way with an iPhone versus an iPad despite many of the features being cross-compatible.

For my sister in-law to be unversed on how to use an iPad (with all the need for electronic medical records, dictation and the like) it made me wonder how her job would just give her one and have no process that guaranteed the utility of such technology. But, in a conversation with my wife about adult literacy, it occurred to me that when high-end technology becomes available, many people, despite their levels of techno-literacy are be inclined to jump on to available technology while they can only adequately use a fraction of the device’s utility (and my wife’s point perhaps applied to computer literacy: many people she felt who had become literate late in life don’t like to read but tolerate it; perhaps similarly people who are begrudgingly computer literate are summarily unthrilled by the process of being literate in the wonders of a great device like an iPhone –– btw I’ve watched my dad spend 5+ minutes trying to take a phone picture).

I thought “well, maybe sister-in-law uses her iPhone for everything” until she scuttled that thought by saying: “I use my iPhone for calls but the screen is too small for anything else…” …Really?!! What this has me thinking is that people really need to understand what their own productivity workflow actually is. Meaning: how is it that we actually use technology? Because, one wonders why one would even pay for this or that, when we don’t utilize the features? Get a Porsche 911 GT3 to sit in traffic or in an office park or an iPhone 5 to — Heaven forbid — only make phone calls.

One’s product choices should accurately represent a graduated development of workflow productivity.

Ultimately, such a workflow is the ultimate in personal expression; because it differs based on the person, but I believe that it makes sense. Having an iPad, I just see too much overlap when the idea of my getting an iPhone, at a price premium, is at stake. Even the most basic Android phone can connect to a reasonable array of productivity apps that can, say, take my photos to the cloud or connect to a note-taking app, so that I can take high-level notes and develop a workflow for following through on ideas.

The phone option should be basic enough to complement a productivity suite that includes the tablet, but not too complex to eclipse the tablet and fit within a reasonable productivity suite. Otherwise, the phone just needs to do these basics. But the thinking from Apple has to be that a tablet owner might want to get a complementing phone, right? If the iPhone does what the tablet can do, why would I pay for that? I don’t need both. In such a scenario, an iPhone Lite would be in order.