My father recounts his life growing up in Chicago by pointing out that there was no cable TV, television had four or five channels to view, but not all worked well at the same time of day, AM radio was the choice for drivers, and you could read one or both of two daily newspapers, or get the Wall Street Journal a day or two later.
Choices were easier to make back in the day because there were so few choices for entertainment, information, and news. Thanks to the internet and mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone, we have access to millions of sources of content, plus real time information from nearly any location on planet earth.
In just a single generation humankind has gone from having a few choices to having more choices than we can comprehend, let along fully understand or appreciate their ramifications. The internet has been described as the information superhighway. At times, it’s the misinformation superhighway thanks to mankind ability to create and distribute massive amounts of content, almost without restriction, and make it instantly available to almost anyone on earth.
Are all those choices– for technology gadgets which bring us the content we seem to crave in abundance– good for us?
Short of divine intervention it remains unlikely that the plethora of technology and content choices we have now will ever be restricted. Humans do not appear to be sufficiently disciplined as a species to to self-restrict or self-govern to our benefit; individual choices for one person are not necessarily acceptable for someone else.
This is exactly why I am convinced Apple’s ecosystem of merging technology devices with content will result in longterm success for the company and a longterm relationship with customers. Apple is a notoriously disciplined company and carefully crafts the ecosystem– Mac, iPhone, iPad, iCloud, and applications which sync and work well with other Apple devices– to ensure that customers are comfortable and happy with limited choices; but choices which are cultivated for optimum enjoyment.
Microsoft’s Windows and Google’s Android platforms present the case that choice is good. It is. But too much choice can be confusing, unsettling, and frustrating, and while any old Windows-based PC or Android smartphone or tablet might be acceptable for the great unwashed masses of humanity, there is a growing segment of earth’s population that prefers more order, more integration, all wrapped up in a package that delivers ease of use with access to most of the world’s content.
Dow we have too many technology and content choices to make? The answer is a qualified ‘Yes’ because choice can be complicated for many of us.