Over the past decade, as I became entwined in the Apple ecosystem there have been a bunch of apps that have become integral to my tech life. However, I seem to be a weird kind of iOS user, for there aren’t a lot of native Apple apps I can’t live without. The one exception would, of course, be Safari, which is my go-to browser on the iPhone and iPad. Also, I use the Wallet a lot, for saving everything from movie tickets to boarding passes. The Music app is a true reflection of what I have been listening to over the years, while I also need Spotify to get along these days. The Activity app is also something I need to not just close my rings, but also ensure that I am staying ahead of my diabetes curve. But that is about it.
Yeah, I don’t use a lot of native Apple app. No Mail – which as of today has 76,315 unopened emails over three accounts, no Reminders and no Books. But even worse is that I don’t use even Siri much. I love using it, but often forget that she’s there just a voice command away. I have the same issue with the Google Assistant. Though I seem to have finally found my groove with Alexa. Then there are Shortcuts, which I know are great but haven’t really had the time to use. I keep reminding myself to use them more, but never get to.
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My peculiar issue, I guess, comes from having been all over the place in my early mobile phone years. I was on Symbian for a few years, before shifting to BlackBerry, then to iOS and moving to Android for a bit before, coming back to the iPhone for good. But users I know who started off with the iPhone as their first smartphone still use all the native apps and don’t even look at third party options. I for instance cannot live without the Gmail App, but I have to live with Mail being there on the home screen, forgotten and ignored.
This is where I think Apple would be doing a great favour to its users by offering the ability to make third-party apps like Gmail default in the operating system. Yes, choice is always better when it comes to consumers. So, when iOS 14 comes there is the possibility you will be able to set Chrome as your default browser and Gmail as your mail client — now you can do that on the Mac, but not iOS devices. But if people stick to its native apps even with the option, it will be even better validation for Apple.
Also, it would be great to see if Apple lets a Google Assistant on Alexa be the default for voice commands on the iPhone and iPad. If this does happen, it will be game changing and a happy customer can only mean good news for the Apple ecosystem.
In fact, I personally know a lot of users who have stayed away from Apple because they found it too restrictive for their liking. That perception could change if Apple decides to lower its iron curtain even a little bit.
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