Apple’s biggest problem is that Google is getting better at what it does poorly faster than Apple is getting better at what it does poorly, says Patrick Gibson in a blog post.Gibson worked on the original iPad for Apple. He is now working at Tilde, a startup focused on software development.
Google’s weakness has always been design. The general knock on Google and Android is that it’s made for robots more than humans. Apple, on the other hand, excels at design. It makes products for humans.
Meanwhile, Apple’s weakness has always been web services. It’s great at making gorgeous hardware, and strong desktop software. But when it comes to services like maps, email, iMessage, it’s weak. Those are areas that Google is stronger because it’s a web-based company.
In a nutshell, Gibson says, “Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is getting better at web services.”
What are the bad Apple web services? He wrote this list:
- Apple can’t update its online store without taking it offline first.
- A popular Game centre game was able to bring down the entire network.
- Apple requires you to re-friend everyone on Game centre, Find my Friends, and Shared Photostreams.
- Notes requires an email account to sync.
- The iTunes and App Stores are still powered by WebObjects, a mostly dead framework written almost 20 years ago.
- iMessage for Mac lives in an alternate dimension in which time has no ordered sequence.
He adds, “Almost anything Apple does which involves the internet is a mess, save for their excellent web browser teams.”
Google, on the other hand, has improved its design with each release of Android, and the gap between Google’s design and Apple’s design is much narrower than the gap between Apple’s web services and Google’s web services.
This is the biggest risk for Apple in the future, argues Gibson.
When people go to buy a new smartphone they will evaluate it based on how it looks and how it operates. In the looks department Apple is ahead. But, in the operates department it’s at risk of falling significantly behind.
Gibson, helpfully, has a solution to Apple’s problems. It’s a big extreme, though.
He thinks Apple should buy Twitter. Not because Apple needs a social network. Because it needs an infusion of fresh web talent. “Where Apple falls short, Twitter flies. Not only does Twitter use some of the most advanced web technology, they invented it. They own scale,” he says.
It’s far-fetched, he admits, but it could help Apple solve its own tech problems, as well as help Twitter avoid the nasty business of an IPO and having to build a massive ad business to justify a gawdy valuation.
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