I am an Apple hold out no longer. After decades of resisting and even withstanding years of adoption peer pressure working/living in neighboring towns of Cupertino, I have jumped on the bandwagon. I bought my wife a gen2 iPod Touch, paid $99 to test apps, downloaded/installed the SDK, started playing with examples and have begun to tear into “Beginning iPhone Development” a.k.a. the grapefruit book (among other references).
As I initially cracked open the macbook pro (on loan) and started up xcode for the first time, the years of excuses for holding out so long rushed into my head — immediately countered by all the reasons I’m finally IN. If you’re an able and talented developer that thrives on the (potential of) mass adoption of your work/applications, you may be able to relate to the following:
My excuses for holding out so long:
1. Long and bad history working with Macs. From day 1, 20+ years ago, and especially when I was working tech support at BU getting students online in the mid 90’s, PC’s were always easier to work with, install software and customize.
2. My interest in products, especially mobile and other gadgets, is very much need driven. Having been a Windows Mobile device user for 5 years now, I already enjoyed touchscreen, wifi, excellent web browser ability, installed flash player, mp3 playback and many smart phone features. The Apple devices just didn’t seem to offer much more to me — if anything, a little less.
3. Recognizing that Apple’s initial marketing play on the iPhone was as an advanced iTunes player didn’t interest me as I am not an iTunes customer. I recognize now the brilliance in Apple positioning their device this way towards getting it mainstream adoption.
4. Apple always seemed very “closed” to me. They control everything about their products, and while I recognized it’s the ultimate effort in quality control, it carries with it this imposing and unwelcoming vibe to an innovator like me. This factor also contributes to them not including Flash player on their device, a move that would have had me interested much sooner.
So, having listed my excuses, here are the reasons I’m no longer holding out:
1. My dad has an iPhone (and so does his wife, as well as my father-in-law, so many of my friends and other very influential colleagues). The iPhone is generating so much buzz around me, it’s become too hard to ignore.
2. They are selling iPhones and iPods in Walmart. When I saw this, it really dawned on me how mainstream the product has become. Walmart = the ultimate in mainstream adoption and distribution. It means folks across the country, in all remote, un-tech locations, are buying this device — and more significantly, buying apps to load on to it.
3. My friends are building very cool things on it — and they’re having fun doing it. It seems iPhone development has lit a spark for mobile development, something I was hoping Flash Lite would do for many years. [As a career Flash developer, Flash Lite was a natural transition for me to mobile, and something a dabbled in. Like I said, if iPhone had Flash player, I’d be into both a lot more by now.] These same friends are also blogging and talking about their experiences, which is very encouraging.
4. Coding functionality like location, movement (acceleration) and touch proved to be the ultimate enticing factor. Having developed with one primary language for so long, access to new features lured me to test my abilities as a programmer by grasping another platform/language. It was time to challenge myself where the rewards could be so much more than just adding new tools (skills) to the shed.
So, I’m deep into it now. I’ve already explored so much functionality and am having a lot of fun. As usual, with any activity not involving your “day job”, identifying your own spare time can be just as much a challenge.
Thankfully, my wife has been very supportive, as usual, of me sacrificing TV-couch time with her as I pound out new and un-explored code. After all, as an iPod Touch owner, she’ll be my first and most enthusiastic customer!
Oh, and just to show I’m not totally overcome with the thought that the iPhone is the end-all be-all of mobile devices, enjoy this video…