Yesterday I showed how dedicated apps on mobile devices are easier to use than websites and browser-based applications on the PC. So if you want the latest news on your football team on the PC, you find their website and once again, there’s a daunting, inconsistently designed nightmare of options to put you off. But download their app on your iPhone and it’s a vastly more pleasant and efficient experience.
More importantly to the content provider, on the iPhone you’re enclosed in the football club’s own little ecosystem, whereas on the PC/website version, you’re only a click away from, well, anywhere really. But as it happens, this option to leave easily is not one which we want anyway, and that’s why we’re prepared to pay for a nice iPhone app even though we’re not that interested in paying to visit the club website.
So where does this leave us? I think the future of computing is app-shaped. That won’t mean a huge difference to what we currently have on our PCs as applications. We’ll still want Microsoft Word, or whatever. But they’ll be joined by more information-based applications, which are effectively mini-browsers containing what’s currently presented as websites. I’ve already got this on my iPhone, and I find it surprising that more people aren’t predicting this as the future of personal computing. Do I visit a website to get my news fix on the iPhone? No, I fire up The Guardian’s iPhone app, which has been designed from the ground up as a news resource for that device, and is a hundred times better to use than browsing that newspaper’s website. And I paid for it too, which is why what I’m describing may save publishing as we know it.
Tomorrow I’ll round things up and look at what this might mean for your company.