We live in a complicated era on a complex planet. Life isn’t getting simpler despite technological advances. Life is more complex, hence many people look for a simpler, easier, more straightforward manner to live a full life but without the clutter and confusion that seems to permeate society.
Apple products live on the simpler side of the street, often forgoing the latest hardware specifications in favor of usability. Both OS X El Capitan and iOS 9.x are easy to setup and use for the great masses of customers (over 1-billion by Apple’s latest count), but they remain more secure and easily upgraded than their competitors.
This year I began a slow and deliberate process to un-complicate and simplify my digital life. Out with the old, in with usability. Gone are Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suit, replaced by very capable applications which may not have as many bells and whistles but easily accomplish the objectives I have for each category.
Through the years I’ve added useful utilities like ships gather barnacles only to drop them one at a time, finally settling on the Notes app that Apple includes with every Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Why? Features are limited, yes, but usability is high, and it syncs notes between devices with ease.
Apple’s iWork suite– Pages, Numbers, and Keynote– are not Microsoft Office, but again, they’re on each device, and each app in the collection does far more than I’ve needed to do documents, spreadsheets, and presentation slides in many years. Office is Overkill.
Few media application suites can do what Adobe’s flagship Creative Suite with Photoshop can do, yes, but if you’re interesting in dressing up your photos to perfection, the Creative Kit suite does it easier and faster than Photoshop, with, again, more bells and whistles than needed, and at a static price vs. Adobe’s monthly subscription for life.
Through the years I’ve collected plenty of audio recording and editing applications, settled on Adobe’s full-featured Audition only to realize that the far less expensive Logic Pro creates the same sounds. In fact, even Garageband (free on your Mac) is a recording masterpiece compared to analog devices of the past. Get a good microphone, though.
And, speaking of recording, one of the best, most useful recording apps I’ve run into in many years is the simple and elegant Just Press Record, which works– with a click to the red button– on Mac, iPhone, iPad, and, yes, Watch. It’s incredibly easy to get good audio recordings which can be sweetened and enhanced later in Garageband.
One area that remains complicated to the point of messy is email. Not much has changed in more than 20 years of using internet email. Yes, IMAP is better than POP. But Apple’s Mail app remains more complex than necessary. I would switch to other easier to use and simpler email apps except for one thing. Spam. And my favorite spam catcher, SpamSieve, doesn’t run on iOS email apps.
In recent years I’ve shed both the expense and complications associated with so many Mac, iPhone, and iPad applications in an attempt to simplify but remain productive and efficient. When you think about it, that’s what Apple tries to do with the sweetly integrated hardware and software for each product. Is Apple successful? Not always. But consider the alternatives.