We control our digital lifestyle choices…

Zeid Nasser
Zeid Nasser (Photo: Jordan News)
Several technology brands have become part of the daily lives of billions of people across the world, including us here in Jordan.اضافة اعلان

Apple is one of these companies. It has been reshaping our “digital lifestyle” for decades, and reaping billions in profits as a result. Looking back at the company’s history, you can see the big shifts in technology consumption behavior and the products that Apple either created or picked up and popularized better than the companies that created them. The mouse-enabled computer in 1984 (the original Macintosh in 1984), the all-in-one colorful range of internet-enabled personal computers (iMac in 1998), a digital music player with its own music store (iPod and iTunes in 2001), the full touch screen smartphone, without keys, and its applications marketplace (iPhone in 2007 and AppStore in 2008), the tablet (iPad in 2010), the smart watch (Watch in 2015), and more products including the recently launched Bluetooth-enabled tracker device (AirTag in 2021).

The AirTag, a long awaited product from Apple, is a small circular “tag” designed to be attached to items like keys, wallets, bags, or any item you could misplace to allow these accessories to be pinged and tracked using Bluetooth alongside Apple devices in the Find My app.

To most people this will seem like an amazing new thing that they’ve needed all their lives, but this product category is actually not new, at all!

I read and write about technology, so I know about a company called Tile which created this product category in 2017 and has been producing various designs of item trackers which work very well, even better than Apple’s tracker in that they can do two-way pinging, meaning the tracker can also ping your phone to find it. Some users may even prefer Tile’s design which includes a keychain hole, and therefore does not require that you buy a separate keychain for it like AirTag.

For a couple of years, I have liked the idea of Tile and I was planning to buy it someday, but I wasn’t overly excited enough to get one immediately. But, such is the strength of Apple’s brand and the media coverage of this product that I have already been “brainwashed” in the past few days and I can’t wait to spend $30 on buying an AirTag! Perhaps myself and millions of people around the world now think Apple has validated the importance of this product category, and we might as well seamlessly integrate it with the rest of our Apple products at home!

Samsung has learned this lesson from Apple, and is also trying to capitalize on its loyal buyers with new accessories, and released its own tracker product earlier this year before Apple, called Smart Tag, which retails at the same price.

Tile is hitting back, launching a new tracker powered by ultra-wideband technology and adding an augmented reality (AR) finding app. The company is also taking legal action against Apple, who it claims engages in anticompetitive behavior and has too much control over the app store which is necessary for Tile, and Apple’s other competitors, to provide users with apps for their products to work.

In the meantime, Apple has once again stolen another company’s thunder by just being the world’s favorite brand and through its huge marketing blitz. So users are disregarding other products, or any anticompetitive complaints, and flocking to buy Apple’s new products.

Another product line revealed during last week’s announcement by Apple was the new iMac desktop computer with the M1 processor, offering a rainbow of color options! To be honest, seeing an iMac in blue does appeal to me because it is my favorite color. Like many people, I have an irrational attraction to my favorite color. Consumer psychologists understand this very basic human vision stimulus, and Apple seems to be the company with manufacturing resources and brand power to successfully roll out a $1,300+ desktop computer with these color options to tempt us all!

But, I always try to control my digital lifestyle and to curb my tech spending! For many years, I have been resisting the lure of the Macintosh world and will continue despite the beauty of these new iMacs. That is although I struggle everyday with the startup slowness and crashes of Microsoft Windows running on Intel-based laptops. But, at the end of the day, we must set our own digital lifestyle choices and can resist the manipulation and temptation if we want to.

However, in the mobile devices domain, I admit that I gave in several years ago, because for me iOS devices and their store ecosystem simply work better and make my life easier. Before you judge me, remember that’s the grand aim of using technology products, which personifies the ultimate goal and ongoing legacy of Apple cofounder, Steve Jobs.

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