Not at all ‘appy

Posted on 27/07/2012

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I like the Internet. It’s a wondrous example/ waste of human ingenuity and because it’s endless, it can keep me entertained indefinitely. It’s a bit like the universe: remote, fascinating, and constantly expanding.

I’m also attached (often physically) to my phone and have been for years. There comes a certain point where you forget how you managed without it. Sadly, I think I’m almost there.

Like pets or children, it’s hard to have a favourite. They’re both “special” to me and I could never choose just one. Lately, however, I’ve been hearing terrible things about apps one day killing the Internet, which for me is like finding out your cat is plotting to kill your pet spaniel.

It all started with an article by Om Malik. His talk of the app as the new unit of media (instead of books, CDs, or other physical items) was eye-opening, but also too simple to be true. Sure, formats will never be the same again, but I don’t believe digital will ever become cleanly cut like music and print once were. Ebooks exist in tens of formats already, including apps (see this great edition of Frankenstein for iPad). They will make up some, but not all of books sold. Amazon’s Kindle and .MOBI format had already made sure of that.

Music is the same: some artists, like Bjork are releasing music as apps, but their releases are still available through iTunes and streamed through Spotify. The app is just another vessel, and whatever we put inside can ultimately be unlocked or recycled.

That said, apps are still a bit stiff. Content within different apps is not searchable and although app stores have a search bar, this usually throws up a lot of junk. Looking for something? You’d use the Internet every time.

Even if you could search for information within a whole range of apps at once, you’d still have to download the app to view it. Which would be a big waste of time for a single usage. I must visit at least 50 websites a day, usually different ones each time. How could I possibly download and manage 50 apps a day? The iPad might be set up for 180 folders and a maximum of 2160 but managing that many would just be impossible.

All things considered I do like apps. They’re quick, fun and easier to use most websites. They just *do* some things better because they have our location, a camera and our address book at their disposal.

I just get a little sensitive when people make grand proclamations about the end of the Internet as we know it. I couldn’t and wouldn’t restrict myself to only using apps when there’s so much variety out there. You shouldn’t either.

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Posted in: Digital, Technology