Managing family communication on a Macbook (“Modern Family” tv show)

I really try to watch as little TV as possible. It either has to be something that is interesting or entertaining. However, I happened to catch the opening of the TV series “Modern Family” last night (S6:E16), and it immediately was very compelling!

What is compelling, is not so much the show, but how they recorded and what they showed.

Upcoming ‘Modern Family’ Episode Shot Entirely on iPhone and iPad Cameras

So, they basically shot the ENTIRE show using all Apple products: a MacBook, iPad’s and iPhones.

What’s the big deal?
For me, someone who is NOT an Apple fanboy, I was beyond impressed with what they showed.

The entire episode was presented from the viewpoint of the MacBook. Literally the entire show is presented as if you are looking at the screen of a MacBook. The mother of the family was stuck at an airport using that laptop.

Using Facetime, Messages, iPhone, iTunes, Safari, etc. She was able to effectively and effortlessly communicate with her entire family and manage a significant family problem – all from her laptop, in real-time, inside of an hour.

It was an impressive show of how we always though technology should work… using actual technology which exists now!


The Apple suite of products
What made this so very compelling was they showed how the entire Apple suite of products work together – from hardware (MacBook, iPad, iPhone), to software (Facetime, Messages, iTunes, etc). They all worked seamlessly, and very effectively together.

In a way, this was a :30 minute commercial for “all of the Apple” products – here’s an incomplete list of some of the things they showcased, which I remember:

  • Episode starts with her easily connecting to the WiFi at the airport.
  • She checks her e-mail.
  • While Facetiming, she opens a browser to view news stories in Safari.
  • She starts multiple Facetime conversations with people who are on iPhones or iPads.
  • She sends a  picture message to an iPhone using Messages, by dragging a picture from a random webpage on the Messages window.
  • She gets sad and opens an iPhoto gallery of baby pictures of her daughter, opens up iTunes and starts immediately playing Return to Pooh Corner.
  • She breaks into her daughters iCloud to use the “find my iPhone” app, which then shows a Google street-view of where the phone is.

As you can see, it’s a remarkable amount of technology which is used pretty effortlessly, from a laptop, in an airport terminal!

What is the Google/Android equivalent?
In my opinion, Android has always and likely will always be a “mess”. There is no consistency for the platform or the UI, there’s no single vision for the technology, so it ends up being a hodge-podge of disparate, unrelated products.

So, although someone could probably find 5 different products in Google Play to mimic what Apple does, I highly doubt it would be anywhere near as smooth and seamless.

What is the Microsoft equivalent?
Well, Microsoft is part of the way there if you were to look at Windows Phone and a Surface tablet – but the unified software like this, just isn’t there. I think Microsoft is heading in that direction with the “Universal apps” idea – but right now? They are not there, in my opinion – not like this.

So, to compare directly – there is Skype for Facetime, there is XBox Music Pass for iTunes, there is OneDrive for iCloud – but there is no messaging app that I know of, on the Microsoft platform. The bigger issue is that these things don’t have the same look/feel and don’t work so seamlessly together – feeling like they are part of the same experience. Microsoft could get to this level of maturity, but they don’t have it dialed-in at the moment.

Bottom line:
Apple really, really impressed me. They really have this consumer-facing stuff dialed-in, they’ve done a really great job of making these things powerful and easy… even if the cost of the hardware does bankrupt you! 🙂

So, if you have Hulu, you can watch the episode here:

Modern Family – Season 6, Episode 16 “Connection Lost”

and if you work in marketing, this just became the Gold Standard for how to sell a computer product. Show, with a realistic scenario, how easy, powerful, and effective your hardware and/or software is. This episode did that – in fact, it was quite remarkable (which is why I’m writing this blog post).

They made an extremely compelling case for the entire Apple suite of products… and this is coming from a mostly-Microsoft guy!!

Posted in Apple Stuff, Computers and Internet, General, Infrastructure, New Technology, Uncategorized

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