With product launches happening around us year-round, we seldom take a step back and talk about “experience.” Not just the experience of using a particular device, but also how well it works with your other gadgets like your laptop and tablet. It’s this ecosystem experience that all companies try to achieve, but not all succeed equally well at it. For nine years, I’ve exclusively been a Windows and Android user, but something changed over the past year — I switched to the MacBook and iPhone.
Not just that, I’m fortunate enough to own four Apple devices: The iPhone 12, Apple Watch SE, iPad Air 4, and MacBook Air. These four devices work so seamlessly with one another that they blend into both my work life and personal life. Here’s why I, and many like me, love the Apple ecosystem.
What is the Apple ecosystem, exactly?
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
The Apple ecosystem is not something you can buy from the Apple store. Instead, it refers to the seamless working together of several Apple devices, thus offering you an experience better than any other brand can provide with its range of products. It’s because Apple doesn’t design its products around a single device, but around the ecosystem, that you get special features among devices that you can use to enhance your productivity and tech life in general.
‘Everything just works!’
Entering into the Apple ecosystem is like entering a place where “everything just works” – you might have heard of this phrase from long-term Apple users. Let me explain with real-world scenarios what it really means.
For instance, your smartphone is lying in the other room while you work on your office desk. If it rings, what will you do? Get up from the chair, go to the other room, and pick up the call. Not in the Apple ecosystem! You can pick up the call on your MacBook, Watch, or iPad when your iPhone rings. It’s just so comfortable! Moreover, you can also make a call from your non-iPhone Apple products, including your MacBook. All you need to do is click any phone number you see in Contacts, Calendar, Safari, or Messages.
The iPhone doesn’t only work as a stand-alone device, but also offers the ability to work with every other Apple device. There are times when I start noting down something on my iPhone or start writing an email, but I need a bigger screen and a keyboard to do it quickly. Apple offers a feature called Handoff that allows you to start a process like writing an email on your iPhone and finish it on the Mac. You can start making a presentation and finish it on your iPad with the help of an Apple Pencil.
Let’s take another example: If you are reading something on your phone and want to read it on a bigger screen, what will you do? Generally, a person would pick their tablet or laptop and go to the same website to find the article they were reading. In the case of Apple products, if you have something open on Safari on your iPhone, you pick up your iPad or the MacBook, and a small Safari icon will appear at the bottom that lets you jump to the same page of your iPhone in just a single click/tap.
There are times when I’m in a meeting, and there is a power outage, which means the Wi-Fi cuts off. So, do I have to wait for the Wi-Fi network to rejoin my meeting or fiddle with my phone to turn on the hot spot? Not with the Apple ecosystem. The company offers a feature called Instant Hotspot, which lets your Mac remotely activate the Personal Hotspot on your iPhone and have the Mac connect to it. All of this happens without me even touching the iPhone.
Apple makes its applications like Safari, FaceTime, Weather, and more available on all kinds of devices. Therefore, a user can expect to work pretty much the same way between devices. The content of all of these apps is synchronized with the help of iCloud, which is Apple’s cloud service. This feature is called Continuity, and it enables seamless interaction between the Apple devices.
Another Continuity feature is Sidecar, which lets you extend your workspace by using your iPad as a second display. It comes in handy when I have to cover events or while I am designing in Illustrator with the help of an Apple Pencil on the iPad. You can simply drag your content from the MacBook to your iPad to get started.
Continuity also comes into play when I receive a document that I need to sign via email while I’m on my MacBook. The Continuity Markup feature lets me sign documents on the iPad while they live on the MacBook. You also don’t need to pick up your phone if you need to send an SMS. It can be done with the MacBook while you are working.
When I had a Windows laptop and an Android phone and I needed to scan a document, I used to scan it on the phone and send it to the laptop via Bluetooth or the MyPhone app, which used to take a few minutes. Within the Apple ecosystem, you can scan a document on your iPhone, and it will automatically appear on your Mac. You just need to choose Insert a Photo from the File Menu and click on Take Photo or Scan Documents. This allows the iPhone to click a photo or scan a document, and a version is immediately available in the Finder as a PDF.
There are times when I need to copy something on my phone but paste it on my laptop. The Apple ecosystem allows you to copy stuff like images, text, or videos from your iPhone and then paste it on your nearby Mac. It is as simple as it sounds, thanks to the universal clipboard.
AirDrop is a godsend
As a product reviewer, I often need to transfer a lot of photos from my smartphone to my laptop. Previously, with my non-Apple setup, I had to plug in my smartphone to my laptop to transfer the images quickly. However, the Apple ecosystem changes all of this with AirDrop. The feature allows you to share files between the MacBook, iPhone, and iPad with a single tap. Notably, AirDrop is peer to peer and works even without a Wi-Fi network!
What I’m looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to more features with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and MacOS Monterey, the latest versions of each operating system. For instance, Apple will be offering Universal Control, which will allow you to move your cursor from the Mac to your iPad seamlessly, enabling you to use a single keyboard and mouse/trackpad between devices. To make it work, all you need to do is place your devices next to each other!