The New Desktop Linux

Ok, here we go. Cracks Knuckles

Watts Martin has penned an interesting take on people, like me, who are using iOS as their primary computer. I was reluctant to read this, since I respect Martin a great deal, but I think his post is a common sentiment of the anti-iOS-is-better-at-all-the-things crowd. I do think there is confusion here, though.

A common statement by iOS is amazing people: “Some things are a little harder or slower, but it’s fun figuring that out.”

I’ve probably said that. Martin takes that to mean: “It’s the challenge of making it all work that we like.” Which is why he is comparing it to desktop Linux. And that’s pretty funny, because that is most certainly a lot of the appeal for Linux if you ask me.

But, Martin’s post is off the mark.

He states in his post:

It’s possible it would have been faster if I were using a different set of apps, ones aware of each other in a deeper fashion. But on the Mac, I could have used any email program and any word processor that handled Word’s revision tracking and followed the same steps.

What he was trying to do doesn’t really matter, you will run into shit a million times which is easy on the Mac, but not on iOS. Wait, did I just say that? Blasphemy.

Ease has nothing to do with it, as I keep saying: there’s a mental shift that needs to happen.

Let me pose this question: Is it actually easier to find a physical file in Finder (praying you know the file name, location, type, etc), then drag it out of Finder, across a huge display (all while holding down the mouse button) and then dropping that file where you want it? Is that actually easier than invoking the share sheet and moving the file you already have open, to the app that you want to have the file? Which is easier? Likely, if we measure the scale of ease, they basically come out to being the same level of ease.

But, this is a big but, we do already know how to intuitively do one of these things. We know how to find, and then drag and drop shit where we want it on a Mac — it’s effortless not because the task is easier, but because we know the steps without consciously thinking of the steps since we have been doing it for decades. That’s why it feels easier.

It feels harder on iOS only because you have to stop and think about how to do things, and then you question (because you are a nerd) if the way you thought of is actually the best/right/fastest/easiest way to do that thing.

iOS isn’t slower, harder, or more of a fun challenge than macOS — it’s just different. It requires you to throw out what you know about computing from the Mac, and to embrace a new way of thinking and doing — and that’s harder, and slower.

If you’ve spent your entire life driving cars with automatic transmissions, and then you switch to a manual — that’s going to feel absurdly hard. You will feel like you can’t even think while you drive — at least not about anything but driving. Likewise a new recipe is hard to cook — not because you don’t know how to cook, or even how to cook steak, but because you don’t know the recipe.

Give it time.

Embrace that things are different and that you have a learning curve. But know that once you learn it, then it becomes easy.

Then again, I guess the same could be said about Linux on the desktop. The difference here is that iOS makes all your options obvious — more so than even macOS does — and picking it up is orders of magnitude faster than Linux, or even (dare I say it) a Mac.

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