Kevin Dente's Blog

The Blip in the Noise
Sometimes, Apple gets it exactly right

Recently, my wife and I replaced our antiquated cell phones with snazzy new Motorola RAZR phones. Not overjoyed by the thought of manually reentering all of our phone numbers, we were hoping to simply copy the numbers from our respective computers to the phones (not ALL of our contacts phone numbers, of course, just the select few that merit being on the cell).

My wife is a web designer, so naturally she uses a Mac, while I use a PC. We sat down at her machine and connected it via a USB cable to the phone. We launched iSync, and the phone was automatically recognized and identified correctly. Her contact list in iSync didn't look right, but we quickly realized that was because she didn't have Entourage set to sync with iSync. One checkbox later and that was fixed. She created a special "Cell phone" group, copied the contacts that she wanted on the phone into that group, and synced the phone. It worked perfectly.

Sitting down at my PC to accomplish the same task, I realized...I got nothing. Some quick Googling revealed that doing something similar requires either paying for a software package called Motorola Phone Tools (so I can sync with my free phone), or using some open source software called BitPim. In either case, I need to install a USB driver for the phone (before plugging it in - is that bit of stupidity being fixed in Vista?). A that point, I realized I didn't have time to mess with it for now.

I'm not one to lavish Apple with usability praise out-of-hand - generally I think a lot of the Mac's UI is not intrinsically easier to use than the Windows equivalent, it's just different. In this case, though, I've got to hand it to Apple - everything worked exactly as it should have.

I hope that the new Windows Mobile Device Center that comes with Vista will provide a a similarly simple experience for us Windows users.

Published Thursday, October 12, 2006 10:15 PM by kevindente

Filed under:

Comments

# re: Sometimes, Apple gets it exactly right@ Friday, October 13, 2006 2:03 AM

If MS did that, they'd get sued by Motorola, get criticized by every blogger, get 1000 articles on Digg about how they're crushing the "little guy", and get slapped with penalties by every country in Europe.

It's amazing what a company can get away with when they have no market share.

foobar

# re: Sometimes, Apple gets it exactly right@ Friday, October 13, 2006 7:10 AM

Hardly /no/ market share, but we won't rise to that troll ;-) Seriously though, Apple /does/ take a lot of criticism for bundling stuff and making it harder for 3rd party developers. I think though that this is choice they've had to make, and the out-of-the-box experience on Mac OS X is all the better for it. They've done the same in some places at the pro end too; developing Final Cut Pro in response to Adobe's hot/cold approach to Premiere on Mac (now iced), buying Shake, building Aperture as a sort-of competitor to some of Photoshop's tools. They take a lot of flak for this too, so it's not as one-sided as you might think.

Robert Sharl

# re: Sometimes, Apple gets it exactly right@ Friday, October 13, 2006 11:22 AM

"They've done the same in some places at the pro end too; developing Final Cut Pro in response to Adobe's hot/cold approach to Premiere on Mac (now iced), buying Shake, building Aperture as a sort-of competitor to some of Photoshop's tools"

Adobe annoys me-- look at how long they are taking with an Intel OS X version of Photoshop. If Apple can more swiftly code BETTER apps, more power to them. I am not a pro-- but I will say I love iMovie. Preview blows Acrobat away for what it does (Acrobat has some additional features, admittedly-- FOR NOW). Garageband and iDVD are pretty slick. I hate iPhoto, though.

Tom Barta

# re: Sometimes, Apple gets it exactly right@ Friday, October 13, 2006 11:23 AM

Is Apple ever going to get sued by Europe (TM) over their so called anti-competitive actions?

foobar

# re: Sometimes, Apple gets it exactly right@ Friday, October 13, 2006 12:18 PM

"Is Apple ever going to get sued by Europe (TM) over their so called anti-competitive actions?"

They already have. France didn't like the iTunes DRM system. I think they kissed and made up, though.

Tom Barta

# re: Sometimes, Apple gets it exactly right@ Friday, October 13, 2006 12:57 PM

What "anticompetitive actions" are you talking about, foobar?

As for the Aperture as Photoshop tools competitor, let's just point out that Aperture is an image management tool and not a pixel manipulation tool like Photoshop. If you were referring to Adobe's Lightbox, let's point out that Aperture came first, and Lightbox was developed by Macromedia, not Adobe. Macromedia was purchased by Adobe.

KenC

# re: Sometimes, Apple gets it exactly right@ Friday, October 13, 2006 2:26 PM

The MS OS is built for corporate networks so you don't get a lot of extras where Ms cannot sell more servers while Apple is built for consumers - why are there ZERO viruses, malware or trojans on the Mac - because Apple knows thart consumers care about that issue. MS is like a company that makes seats for a car. Since 99% buyers don't buy directly from them, so you count very little as a customer - whatever happens after it leaves the factory - take it up with someone else.  

jbelkin

# re: Sometimes, Apple gets it exactly right@ Friday, October 13, 2006 3:51 PM

I sure wish this had turned into a discussion on how to sync your mobile phone contacts with Windows.

Also, I'm surprised that nobody has pointed out that MS probably doesn't feel they have a vested interest in syncing non-Windows Mobile smartphones with Windows.  :(

Paul, a .NET developer

TheSak

# re: Sometimes, Apple gets it exactly right@ Friday, October 13, 2006 5:03 PM

>why are there ZERO viruses, malware or

>trojans on the Mac

Sorry, I don't buy that. This is where Apple's marketshare does play a role. Once it's a big enough target, the virus writers will start in. It's not like Apple isn't releasing lots of security fixes.

Kevin Dente

# re: Sometimes, Apple gets it exactly right@ Friday, October 13, 2006 7:57 PM

"Once it's a big enough target, the virus writers will start in."

Which doesn't negate the fact that you are safer running OS X than you are running Windows right now. It'd be the same if you were running Linux or an old version of BeOS or Windows 3.1. ;)

I personally believe that the amount of damage that could be done by a virus/worm to an OS X/BSD based system is much smaller than can be done to a curent Windows system. My gut feeling is that Longhorn closes that gap by QUITE a bit.

Scott