App Segmentation

In my previous article I talked about how I have begun to use my iPad increasingly often as a device to not only consume content, but also to generate it. I mentioned that I read almost every article in Instapaper and that I use Simplenote to write, but I did not delve any deeper into my iPad setup, nor did I go into too much detail in explaining the toolset I employ increasingly infrequently on my computer in the colophon. Taking after John Gruber and Shawn Blanc, these are the tools I use. First, on my iOS devices, as these are the computers I use most often these days. Not necessarily in any particular order,

As this list demonstrates, syncing across devices and across platforms is a headlining feature for me: it not only provides data security as my work is not stored on any one device, but also allows me to start a podcast on my iPhone as I read an article in Instapaper and jot down some notes in Simplenote, and then transition to my iPad where I can resume playing that podcast, finish reading that article, and expand those notes into a full-fledged blog post.

I choose my desktop apps based on their ability to integrate with my iOS devices. Unfortunately, on a PC this does not leave me with very many options, and even fewer good options. These are the tools I have found to be superior for accomplishing their core competency on the PC.

The length of these two lists brings up an interesting point resulting from the fact that I use more apps to accomplish arguably the same tasks on my iOS devices as compared to the number of programs I employ on my desktop machine, a point that the iPad’s detractors often use against it: due to the very nature of the iPad, on average a greater number of apps are required in order to accomplish the same task than on traditional computers. I don’t see this as a an unfortunate result of an overbearing system though, but rather the fortunate cause behind a number of the great apps both geeks and “the normals”, as Marco said on the second episode of Build & Analyze, enjoy the use of today: while the App Store does not prevent developers from building the multi-purpose catch-all programs popular on the PC and, although to a lesser extent, the Mac, it does encourage app makers to focus on their core competency, resulting in more apps that are better at solving smaller sets of problems rather than fewer apps that possess the ability to solve a greater range of problems in a lesser manner.