Let’s face it, folks. Modern technology is complicated. Apple succeeds by taking the complex, and making it simpler to use, easier to integrate into our daily lives. We see Apple’s usability touch in every product, and every platform operating system; macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
The new Apple under Tim Cook isn’t afraid to make some drastic changes here and there, but one thing hasn’t changed much at all; if anything, there’s more eye candy from Apple than ever before.
The perfect poster child for Apple’s eye candy affliction is Messages under iOS 10.
Apple claims Messages is the iPhone’s single most used application and there is no reason to doubt the claim. But what does that mean? It means more iPhone customers use Messages more often, longer, more frequently– on average– than any other application.
Messages in iOS 10 has the largest single blast of digital eye candy this side of a new iPhone game.
visual images that are superficially attractive and entertaining but intellectually undemanding.
“the film’s success rested on a promotional campaign showcasing its relentless eye candy”
synonyms: visual feast, eyeful;
It’s one thing to have photos or videos or voice memos or emoji stuffed into Messages, but it’s entirely different when Messages comes alive with more features, more animations, more emojis, Invisible Ink, and more of everything else that doesn’t do much other that massage the eyes and emotions.
1. a person who is or people considered highly attractive to look at, often with the implication that they are lacking in intelligence or depth
2. something intended to be attractive to the eye without being demanding or contributing anything essential
You get the idea, right?
It’s not that all of Messages’ new features in iOS 10 are worthless, but they play to baser human instincts which are mostly visual in nature.
- App drawer – drag and drop content from apps into Messages
- Sticker packs – as if emojis were not enough, now animated stickers will rule
- Payments – yes, you’ll be able to pay for items without leaving Messages
- Animations – big clouds, little clouds, moving clouds
- Invisible Ink – hide a message until the recipient swipes it to reveal message, photo, movie, or whatever
In other words, lots of fun eye candy which keeps iPhone users on their iPhones and out of other applications which have a similar social component.
Let’s be honest. Most Facebook users think Facebook is the internet; a platform sufficiently ubiquitous and diverse that users never have a need to leave it to venture elsewhere on the web.
Isn’t Messages on iOS 10 something of a platform unto itself? Isn’t Messages– with all the eye candy and gee whiz fun and games– the most personalized of one-to-one or one-to-many social networking?
Joanna Stern of the WSJ:
(Messages is) what I call the most important social network in my life. It’s where I have most private digital conversations with my family and friends and where I share far more photos and videos.
How is Messages not becoming a platform?
“Are you actually saying the best thing the most powerful tech company did was give us a bag of tricks to make our messages more like a 5-year-old’s birthday party? Innovation really is dead!”
Quite the contrary. Apple’s new Messages is the new portable social network that is destined to become the most used built-in platform on smartphones and tablets. You can write in Messages for iOS 10. Words you type or dictate can be identified and swapped out with their corresponding emoji. I’ll use that just to see what some of the emojis mean. And, unlike some competitors, all the visual fun and eye candy remains encrypted end-to-end.
All the clever eye candy does with Messages is hide the fact that Messages is becoming a platform that competes with Facebook. Eye candy can do that sometimes.