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Continuity is the future of Apple: The right device for the right space

Serenity Caldwell | June 6, 2014
Apple is building a future in which sales numbers for the Mac (or for the Next Big Thing) don't matter as much as the the users who hook into it and the stories they want to tell.

A framework for the future

We're no longer living our lives chained to a single device: We're in "the cloud." We're online, we're inside our projects, in our emails, living in this strange space between devices.

But since we do not, as of yet, live in a freakish sci-fi future where we can communicate wirelessly with the cloud, we need devices to help us facilitate this connection.

And it's here where Apple shines: It's the company that obsesses over a user's connection to technology. It's spent the last 30 years making the personal computer, phone, and tablet essential to building your connected life. And from the looks of it, it's going to spend the next 30 years unifying those devices to let you tell your story wherever you may be, whatever you're using.

With Continuity, Apple is building a framework for the future: a place where each of its devices, current and hypothetical, can exist in its own space, doing what it does best. It's a place where you can fit all your work on an iPhone or iPad, but why should you? Why compromise, when instead you can work on whatever device is best for the task at hand?

We've seen Apple experiment with this over the last few years in a number of spaces already: cross-platform GarageBand projects. Messages. AirPlay. iCloud Tabs. These were experiments; entreaties into a hypothetical world where users could move from device to device depending on the task at hand, rather than cramming everything in one space.

With iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, the Continuity framework will continue to bring this hypothetical world into our real one. Swipe your news from your iPad to your Mac. Answer calls on your computer. Start emails one place and finish them on another.

We don't know yet whether Continuity will "just work"--keynote demonstrations are one thing, active usage by millions of users is quite another. We've seen the company stumble and fail in this arena. But it's been laying the groundwork for this shift for several years, and even if it's not perfect, there's room to grow and improve.

Apple has made a promise here: The future of computing should be free of file limitations and processor speeds, of screen sizes and portability. It should render the hardware invisible and put the focus on the work you're doing.

And it's a future the company can breathe and build in. It's a future where the sales numbers of the Mac or the popularity of the Next Big Thing don't matter; instead, it's about the Apple ecosystem as a whole--the users who hook in, and the stories they want to tell.

If Continuity works as well as Apple promises, those are going to be some insanely great tales.


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